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Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee

Academic administrator and osteopathic physician Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee was born on June 1, 1942, in Detroit, Michigan, to Fred Ross, Sr. and Ernestine Moten, the oldest of six children. One of her younger sisters is entertainer Diana Ross and two of her brothers also pursued musical careers; one as a successful songwriter for Motown and one as a dancer with Diana Ross’ tours. Although Ross-Lee was originally interested in a career in show business, her interests soon turned to medicine. In 1960, Ross-Lee entered Wayne State University, where she studied biology and chemistry. After graduating in 1965, Ross-Lee briefly pursued a teaching career; as a member of the National Teacher Corps, she taught in Detroit Public Schools and earned her M.A. degree from Wayne State University.

In 1969, Ross-Lee’s focus returned to medicine, and she entered Michigan State University’s new College of Osteopathic Medicine. After graduation she opened a family practice in Detroit in 1973. She left private practice in 1983 and joined the U.S. Navy Reserves as a physician and became a professor at Michigan State University in the Department of Family Practice. Ross-Lee became a consultant on education in the health professions in 1984 for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 1990, Ross-Lee served as a community representative on the Governor of Michigan’s Minority Health Advisory Committee. Ross-Lee, already chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Michigan State University, received a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship also in 1991, which allowed her to spend a year working as a legislative assistant for health in the office of Senator Bill Bradley. After the fellowship, Ross-Lee returned to Michigan State University as an associate dean for health policy in the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

In 1993, Ross-Lee was named dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University. She became the first African American woman to be dean of a medical school and one of only a handful of female deans in the country. After a notable career in Ohio, Ross-Lee was appointed vice president for health sciences and medical affairs at the New York Institute of Technology in 2001 and one year later, she became dean of the school’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Ross-Lee has lectured extensively and written many scholarly articles on osteopathic medicine. She is a strong advocate for the profession and its preservation. Ross-Lee has been active in the American Osteopathic Association, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the National Osteopathic Medical Association and the Association for Academic Health Centers. She has been a captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve Medical Corps, and she and her husband, Edmond Beverly, have raised five children, all of whom have pursued professional careers.

Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 25, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.212

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/25/2007

Last Name

Ross-Lee

Schools

Cass Technical High School

Wayne State University

Michigan State University

First Name

Barbara

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

ROS04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas, Nevada

Favorite Quote

Bless your heart.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/1/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Catfish

Short Description

Academic administrator and osteopathic physician Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee (1942 - ) became the first African American female dean of a medical school when she was appointed at Ohio University's College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1993.

Employment

Martin Place Hospital

Michigan State University

Favorite Color

Red

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barbara Ross-Lee's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barbara Ross-Lee talks about her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barbara Ross-Lee talks about her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses her parents' marriage and her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barbara Ross-Lee describes her upbringing in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Barbara Ross-Lee describes the sights, smells, and sounds of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barbara Ross-Lee talks about her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barbara Ross-Lee talks about her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barbara Ross-Lee talks about her education and the influence of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barbara Ross-Lee describes her church and discusses the influence of religion in her family

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barbara Ross-Lee talks about her family's summer trips to the South

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses her mother's illness

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses her relationship with her sister Diana Ross

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barbara Ross-Lee describes herself as a child and schools she attended

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Barbara Ross-Lee talks about holidays and family traditions

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barbara Ross-Lee talks about her family's move into Detroit's public housing

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barbara Ross-Lee talks about Cass Technical High School and contracting tonsillitis

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barbara Ross-Lee describes her educational and social experience and influences at Cass Technical High School, part 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barbara Ross-Lee describes her educational and social experience and influences at Cass Technical High School, part 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses her plans for college

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses the beginning and growth of her sister, Diana Ross', career

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Barbara Ross-Lee describes the challenges of pursuing medicine

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses her graduation from college, her introduction to osteopathic medicine meeting her husband James Lee

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Barbara Ross-Lee talks about notable people in Detroit, Michigan and explains osteopathic medicine

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses osteopathic hospitals and medicine

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses her family and graduate education

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Barbara Ross-Lee talks about her experience in osteopathic medical school

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Barbara Ross-Lee describes challenges she faced in medical school

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses the impact of her sister's rise to fame

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses her career as an osteopathic physician

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses opening her first practice

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Barbara Ross-Lee talks about the 1967 Detroit riots

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Barbara Ross-Lee talks about joining the Michigan State University Faculty

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses her experience at Michigan State University Medical School

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses her experience in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellowship Program

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Barbara Ross-Lee explains the difference between medical doctors and osteopathic doctors

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses her work as Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses her work as Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine and her political involvement

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Barbara Ross-Lee talks about the progress of osteopathic medical education

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Barbara Ross-Lee describes the Heritage Fellowship

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Barbara Ross-Lee talks about her work as dean at the New York Institute of Technology

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses the challenges she faced as dean of the New York Institute of Technology

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Barbara Ross-Lee talks about her future plans

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Barbara Ross-Lee discusses the integration of osteopathic medicine in conventional medical facilities

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Barbara Ross-Lee reflects on her career, her hopes for African Americans in osteopathic medicine, and her legacy