Daniel Hale Williams (18 January 1856 – 4 August 1931) was an American surgeon. He was the first African-American cardiologist, and is sometimes attributed with performing the first successful surgery on the heart. He also founded Provident Hospital, the first non-segregated hospital in the United States.
Williams is sometimes regarded as the first man to have performed cardiac surgery, though earlier surgeries on the pericardium were performed by Francisco Romero in 1801, Dominique Jean Larrey prior to 1842, and by Henry Dalton in 1891. Also in 1891, he started the Provident Hospital and training school for nurses in Chicago Illinois. This was established mostly for African-American citizens. In 1893 he repaired the torn pericardium of knife wound patient, James Cornish, the second on record. He performed this surgery at Provident Hospital, Chicago, on 10 July 1893, a hospital which he founded, and one of the few hospitals that welcomed African Americans. About fifty-five days later, James Cornish recovered the surgery successfully.
In 1893, during the administration of President Grover Cleveland, Williams was appointed surgeon-in-chief of Freedman's Hospital in Washington, D.C., another of the few hospitals that would admit African Americans. In addition to organizing the hospital, Williams also established a training school for African-American nurses at the facility.