Catherine Nelson Black, born in 1858 in Etna, Ohio studied medicine in Chicago and Boston, where she first demonstrated her belief that providing healthcare to the lower economic classes is a civic responsibility. In 1901, Black became the Director of the Ohio Society for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, which has since become the Ohio Public Health Association. In 1906, she founded the Columbus Society for the Prevention and Control of Tuberculosis, building infrastructure to support Tuberculosis patients across Franklin County, investing in modern treatment techniques. She was married to probate judge Samuel L. Black, who would later go on to be a mayor of Columbus, and the two were known for being racially and ideologically inclusive in their social gatherings at home.
She was also responsible for the First Mother’s Day Proclamation issued in Ohio. Black died in 1936 and is remembered for her compassion and strong leadership. She is counted as a founder of Columbus Tuberculosis Society, Columbus Cancer Clinic, Ohio Public Health Association, Nightingale Cottage, Columbus Open Air School, the Breathing Association and LifeCare Alliance. Catherine Nelson Black was made a Great Ohioan in 2009.