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 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 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 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. is the 12th president and chief executive officer of Meharry Medical College, the nation’s largest private, independent historically black academic health sciences center. Dr. Hildreth obtained a B.A. in chemistry from Harvard University and was selected as the first African-American Rhodes Scholar from Arkansas. He obtained a Ph.D. in immunology from Oxford University where his studies focused on the biology of virus-specific cytotoxic T cells. Dr. Hildreth also became an expert in monoclonal antibody technology and cell adhesion molecules while at Oxford. He obtained an M.D. from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and took a leave of absence from medical school for a postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacology at Johns Hopkins.
In 1987, Dr. Hildreth joined the Johns Hopkins School of faculty as assistant professor. He was appointed as the first associate dean for graduate studies at Johns Hopkins in 1994. In 2002, Dr. Hildreth became the first African American in the 125-year history of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to earn full professorship with tenure in basic sciences. In July 2005, Dr. Hildreth became director of the NIH-funded Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research at Meharry Medical College. In August of 2011, Dr. Hildreth became dean of the College of Biological Sciences at University of California, Davis. He was the first African-American dean in the university, which was founded in 1905. He was also appointed as a tenured professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology as well as professor in the Department of Internal Medicine in the UC Davis School of Medicine.
Dr. Hugh Mighty is the 18th Dean of the Howard University College of Medicine and Vice President of Clinical Affairs. Dr. Mighty joined Howard University from Louisiana State University (LSU) where he served as Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the LSU School of Medicine. During his tenure at LSU, Dr. Mighty guided the financial and strategic direction of the academic and hospital enterprise, including three safety-net hospitals in the state. Dr. Mighty oversees the College of Medicine's development and growth of its academic programs and provides oversight for the academic and financial operation of the College of Medicine. Dr. Mighty also serves as Vice President of Clinical Affairs, overseeing the relationship between the academic enterprise and the hospital and responsibility for the development and direction of the Faculty Practice Plan. He also serves as Professor on the faculty in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Mighty received a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University, his Medical degree from the University of Maryland, and his MBA from Loyola University in Baltimore. He has served in multiple academic leadership positions, including Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Maryland. As chair, Dr. Mighty trained and mentored more than 200 residents and fellows as well as recruited clinical and basic science faculty.
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 at the Charles R. Drew University College of Medicine. She advised top-tier healthcare institutions on leadership as a principal at Spencer Stuart and served as the Henry Pickering Walcott Professor of Public Health Practice and Associate Dean for Diversity at Harvard School of Public Health where she created the Division of Public Health Practice and secured over $14 million in grant funding for health programs. While working in inner-city Boston, she broke new ground with efforts to define youth violence as a health problem. She developed The Violence Prevention Curriculum for Adolescents, a forerunner of violence prevention curricula for schools and authored or co-authored Deadly Consequences (HarperCollins 1991); Murder Is No Accident (Jossey Bass Publishers, 2004); Sugar and Spice and No Longer Nice, (Jossey Bass Publishers, 2005); a high school textbook, Health (Pearson 2014); and over 100 articles. In 1987, Governor Michael Dukakis appointed her Commissioner of Public Health for Massachusetts where she led a department with 3,500 employees, 8 hospitals and a budget of $350 million. She and her family lived in Tanzania during her husband’s tenure as U.S. Ambassador. Dr. Prothrow-Stith is a graduate of Spelman College and Harvard Medical School and a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine. In 2003, she was elected to the prestigious National Academy of Medicine. She has received ten honorary doctorates and in 2017, she was named Woman of the Year for the 2nd District by the LA County Board of Supervisors.
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.