In 2020, Michael Bloomberg’s gift of $100 million to the nation’s four African American medical schools caught the nation’s attention at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic was ravaging the U.S., while exposing the pervasive and racist healthcare inequities of America’s healthcare system. With Blacks in Healthcare: A Long & Storied Road, ABC journalist Byron Pitts is joined by the leaders of these four medical schools: Dr. Hugh E. Mighty, Dean of Howard University’s College of Medicine; President of Meharry Medical College, Dr. James E. K. Hildreth; President and Dean of Morehouse School of Medicine, Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice; and Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, Dean of the Charles R. Drew University College of Medicine. This panel is joined by special guest Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, Founding Dean and President Emeritus of the Morehouse School of Medicine, who provides a fascinating description of the history of blacks in medicine as well as the devastating impact of the 1910 Flexner Report, which closed 5 of 7 of the nation’s black medical schools. The discussion also features a Q&A session with questions from The HistoryMakers MedicalMakers Advisory Committee. Make sure to tune in for this thought-provoking discussion on the history of African Americans in healthcare, one of the country’s most vital systems.
This 90-minute program is scheduled to stream on YouTube and Facebook Live at 12:00 noon EST on Saturday, December 12, 2020 as the twelfth installment of The HistoryMakers 20@2020: 20 Days and 20 Nights Convening and Celebration.
Known for his thought-provoking coverage and commitment to exceptional storytelling, Byron Pitts is a multiple Emmy award-winning journalist and co-anchor of ABC’s Nightline. In 2013, Pitts became an anchor and the Chief National Correspondent at ABC. Prior to working for ABC, Pitts was the Chief National Correspondent for CBS Evening News With Katie Couric. He was also CBS’s lead correspondent at Ground Zero immediately following the September 11th attacks and won an Emmy for his coverage.
James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D., was born and raised in Camden, Arkansas. In 1975, he began undergraduate studies at Harvard University and was selected as the first African-American Rhodes Scholar from Arkansas in 1978. He graduated from Harvard magna cum laude in chemistry in 1979. That fall, Dr. Hildreth enrolled at Oxford University in England, graduating with a Ph.D. in immunology in 1982. At Oxford he studied the biology of cytotoxic T cells with Professor Andrew McMichael and became an expert in monoclonal antibody technology and cell adhesion molecules.
Dr. Hildreth has received numerous awards over his career for mentoring, leadership and his efforts related to diversity. In October, 2008, he was honored for his contributions to medical science by election to the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, the most prestigious biomedical and health policy advisory group in the U.S. In May of 2015, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Arkansas. Dr. Hildreth has been inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame and the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars. He currently serves on the Harvard University Board of Overseers.
Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD, FACOG, provides a valuable combination of experience at the highest levels of patient care and medical research, as well as organizational management and public health policy. Marrying her transformational leadership acumen and strategic thinking to tackle challenging management issues, she has a track record of redesigning complex organizations’ infrastructures to reflect the needs of evolving strategic environments and position the organization for success through sustainability tactics.
The sixth president of Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) and the first woman to lead the freestanding medical institution, Montgomery Rice serves as both the president and dean. A renowned infertility specialist and researcher, she most recently served as dean and executive vice president of MSM, where she has served since 2011.
Prior to joining MSM, Montgomery Rice held faculty positions and leadership roles at various health centers, including academic health centers. Most notably, she was the founding director of the Center for Women’s Health Research at Meharry Medical College, one of the nation’s first research centers devoted to studying diseases that disproportionately impact women of color.
Deborah Prothrow-Stith, M.D. is dean and Professor of Medicine for the College of Medicine at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. She is the author of Deadly Consequences, the first book to present the public health perspective on violence to a mass audience. She is co-author of Murder Is No Accident (Jossey Bass Publishers, 2004) and a guide for parents of adolescent girls in Sugar and Spice and No Longer Nice, (Jossey Bass Publishers, 2005). In 1987, Governor Michael Dukakis appointed her the first woman Commissioner of Public Health for Massachusetts. She is the recipient of the 1993 World Health Day Award, the 1989 Secretary of Health and Human Service Award, and a Presidential appointment to the National Commission on Crime Control and Prevention. In 2015, she was inducted into the honor roll of women physicians in the Massachusetts Medical Society.
Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., is chairman of the board of the National Health Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, whose goal is to improve the health of Americans by enhancing health literacy and advancing healthy behaviors. He also is chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based Sullivan Alliance to Transform the Health Professions -- a national non-profit organization with a community-focused agenda to diversify and transform health professions’ education and health delivery systems. He served as chair of the President’s Commission on Historically Black Colleges and Universities from 2002-2009, and was co-chair of the President’s Commission on HIV and AIDS from 2001-2006. With the exception of his tenure as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 1989 to 1993, Dr. Sullivan was president of Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) -- the first predominantly black medical school established in the 20th Century -- for more than two decades. On July 1, 2002, he retired and was appointed president emeritus.