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Dr. Terry Mason

Chief Medical Officer, Terry Mason was born on September 13, 1951 in Washington, D.C. Mason attended Loyola University in Chicago and received his B.S degree in biological science. He earned his M.D. degree from the Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine at the University of Illinois. Mason completed his residency of General Surgery at the University of Illinois Metropolitan Group Hospitals Program and his residency of urology at the Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center.

Upon completing his residencies, Mason started his practice of urology with Dr. Harvey J. Whitfield as Terry Mason MD, SC. At Mercy Hospital and Medical Center he developed a specialty service for male erectile dysfunction, and prostate cancer. In approximately 1992, Mason became radio host of “Doctor in the House” WVON 1690 AM. The following year he founded Center for New Life, a business dedicated to integrating diet modification, and exercise to treat chronic diseases. In 2004, he launched the Restar4Health campaign. The campaign encouraged the public to stop unhealthy eating habits and to make smart food choices. In 2005, Mason became the commissioner of health for the city of Chicago. As Commissioner, he was responsible for over 1200 employees with an annual operating budget of approximately 200 million dollars. Mason has detected and managed health threats to the citizens of the City of Chicago, and held over seventy-five press conferences.

In 2009, Mason retired as Commissioner of public health, and became the System Chief Medical Officer. He served as interim chief executive officer for the Cook County Health and Hospital System from May 2011 until October 2011. He advised and led a team of medical experts on matters of public health importance. He has also served as national chairman of urology at the National Medical Association, and the Midwest regional chair for Chicago’s National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer. Mason is a member of the Cook County Physicians Association and was featured in the film “Forks over Knives” in 2001. Mason’s work has features on My Fox Chicago and Chicago Tonight for American Heart Health month. He has features in Ebony Magazine and authored a book titled, Making Love Again: Renewing Intimacy and Helping Your Man Overcome Impotence. Mason currently resides in Chicago and has two adult children.

Terry Mason was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 20, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.049

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/20/2012 |and| 5/2/2018

Last Name

Mason

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Loyola University Chicago

University of Illinois at Chicago

First Name

Terry

Birth City, State, Country

Englewood

HM ID

MAS07

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

Everything Is In Divine Order And God Is In Charge.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

9/13/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Apple Pie

Short Description

Chief medical officer Dr. Terry Mason (1951 - ) organized healthier communities for African Americans.

Employment

Terry Mason MD

Chicago Department of Public Health

Cook County Department of Public Health

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Terry Mason's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Terry Mason lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Terry Mason describes memorable moments with his maternal grandmother's husband, Mr. Perkins, in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about his mother's upbringing in Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Terry Mason explains why his mother migrated to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Terry Mason learns about his biological father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about meeting his older biological siblings and biological father's family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about his stepfather's abusive personality

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Terry Mason lists his siblings in birth order

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Terry Mason recalls his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Terry Mason describes the sights, sounds and smells of his Englewood neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Terry Mason describes his community in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois and reflects upon his family structure

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Terry Mason describes the Englewood community in Chicago, Illinois in the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about Charles Drew Elementary School on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about his mother and him leaving his abusive stepfather

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about his experience at the Carrie Jacobs Upper Grade Center and Chicago Vocational High School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Terry Mason remembers his middle school science teacher, Louis Wright, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Terry Mason talks about his childhood involvement in the church

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Terry Mason remembers his middle school science teacher Louis Wright, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Terry Mason describes working at a grocery store as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Terry Mason describes working as a butcher at a neighborhood grocery store

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Terry Mason remembers the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and talks about experiencing racism in Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Terry Mason describes working at the laundromat next door to the local grocery store

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Terry Mason describes his experience at Chicago Vocational High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about his career interests as a student at Chicago Vocational High School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Terry Mason explains his decision to attend Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about his introduction to Black Nationalism at Loyola University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Terry Mason describes joining the Loyola University African-American Student Association and being elected president

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Terry Mason describes fundraising for the Loyola University African-American Student Association

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Terry Mason remembers meeting his biological siblings for the first time during college

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Terry Mason explains why his mother migrated from Washington D.C. to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Terry Mason describes Communiversity at Northeastern Illinois University and his introduction to the Nation of Islam

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Terry Mason describes joining the Nation of Islam

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Terry Mason explains how the Nation of Islam influenced his decision to practice medicine, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Terry Mason describes Black Nationalist philosophy within the Nation of Islam

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Terry Mason explains how the Nation of Islam influenced his decision to practice medicine, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Terry Mason explains how his involvement with the Nation of Islam prevented him from dropping out of Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about the Nation of Islam's work within Chicago communities

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dr. Terry Mason lists black physicians serving black communities in Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about the Nation of Islam's businesses in Chicago, Illinois, Alabama and Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Terry Mason describes the teachings of the Nation of Islam, and the emergence of HistoryMaker Minister Louis Farrakhan

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Terry Mason explains how HistoryMaker Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright helped him reestablish his Christian faith

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Terry Mason describes being expelled from the College of Nursing and readmitted into the College of Arts and Sciences at Loyola University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Terry Mason describes his experience as a biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences at Loyola University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Terry Mason briefly describes his reunion with his older siblings at his mother's funeral

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Terry Mason talks briefly about the Project '75 minority medical school enrollment initiative started by Dr. Andrew Thomas

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Terry Mason explains his admission into the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois in Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. Terry Mason describes his experience in medical school at the University of Illinois in Chicago, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dr. Terry Mason describes his experience in medical school at the University of Illinois in Chicago, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Terry Mason's interview, Session 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. Terry Mason recalls taking the first part of his national board exams

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about changes in dietary norms amongst African Americans

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. Terry Mason describes his decision to specialize in urology

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dr. Terry Mason recalls his involvement with the National Medical Association

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dr. Terry Mason describes the importance of the National Medical Association to African American doctors

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dr. Terry Mason remembers discrimination he faced when pursuing a medical staff position at Michael Reese Hospital

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dr. Terry Mason remembers Michael Reese Hospital's reputation as a research hospital

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dr. Terry Mason recalls the supportive environment at Mercy Hospital in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about the value of safe spaces for working with erectile dysfunction patients

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about radiation therapy methods for prostate cancer

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dr. Terry Mason describes the connection between erectile dysfunction and other health problems, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dr. Terry Mason describes the connection between erectile dysfunction and other health problems, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about the development of the first erectile dysfunction medicines

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dr. Terry Mason describes the effects of saturated fats on the lining of blood vessels

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about the challenges of improving urban communities, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about the challenges of improving urban communities, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Dr. Terry Mason remembers being asked to serve as commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Dr. Terry Mason recalls how his radio program 'Doctor in the House' began

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Dr. Terry Mason describes a memorable call on 'Doctor in the House'

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about the importance of creating trust with patients

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Dr. Terry Mason recalls the formation of HMOs in the U.S. healthcare system

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Dr. Terry Mason describes the necessary changes for healthcare in the United States

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Dr. Terry Mason remembers establishing the Center for New Life in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Dr. Terry Mason describes the Restart for health campaign, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Dr. Terry Mason describes the Restart for health campaign, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Dr. Terry Mason describes the correlation between infrequent bowel movements and increased risks of breast cancer

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about the importance of a proper diet for colon cancer prevention

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about dietary problems in the United States

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Dr. Terry Mason remembers joining the Chicago Department of Public Health

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Dr. Terry Mason recalls his work at the Chicago Department of Public Health, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Dr. Terry Mason recalls his work at the Chicago Department of Public Health, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Dr. Terry Mason remembers performing open heart surgery operation in an emergency room

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Dr. Terry Mason describes his transition from the Chicago Department of Public Health to the Cook County Health and Hospital System

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Dr. Terry Mason describes the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Dr. Terry Mason describes his community involvement in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Dr. Terry Mason describes his community involvement in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Dr. Terry Mason remembers serving as interim CEO of the Cook County Health and Hospital System

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Dr. Terry Mason describes the challenges of being COO of the Cook County Department of Public Health

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about the health challenges in Cook County, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about the health challenges in Cook County, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Dr. Terry Mason describes how crime and education factors into public health

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Dr. Terry Mason describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about influential health programs in the Chicago community

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Dr. Terry Mason describes the importance of grooming the next generation of medical leaders

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about supporting local farms

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Dr. Terry Mason reflects on his life

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Dr. Terry Mason describes his plans for the future, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Dr. Terry Mason describes his plans for the future, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Dr. Terry Mason talks about his family

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Dr. Terry Mason describes the challenges of high debt for budding physicians

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Dr. Terry Mason describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
Dr. Terry Mason describes Black Nationalist philosophy within the Nation of Islam
Dr. Terry Mason describes joining the Nation of Islam
Transcript
Now was that--now, after--now, you were plunged into heavy philosophical waters at Communiversity [Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Illinois]--$$Uh-huh.$$--and the black student movement and all that. I guess my question is like, was it easy--and you just addressed the theology on some level. But the Nation of Islam has a history of the world that, you know, a lot of people would have a hard time swallowing, you know. They have a conception of the world with the white man being a devil. And a lot of people have a hard time--literally, a devil--swallowing that. Did you, I mean, I can understand the economic appeal, but how did you overcome those--did you have any doubts? I mean, I don't--it's just hard to see how you could accept the theology and--$$Well first of all, you had to understand terms.$$Okay.$$We had been taught that the devil was some little mystical person that lived under the ground someplace that had a pitchfork and a tail. And that was--now, if you had any problem accepting anything, you should have a problem accepting that. You should have a problem accepting the fact that heaven is someplace where people are sitting on a cloud, you know, looking like cherubs and playing harps. And I mean, you should have difficulty accepting that. You should have difficulty accepting the fact that you've got to die before you can begin to even think about seeing God. Those concepts were difficult for me. I had less of a, less problems accepting the fact that when I looked at the history of black people in this country and read the accounts of what happened to us in this country at the hands of whites, I had less problems realizing that this is a person, these were evil things that were done to us, okay. So those things, those were not--it was far more concrete than the stuff that I was taught to believe than what I was being taught now. And then as I got, as I grew an understanding about these things, those were not the drivers. The drivers were that here we were a people of several million in this country with the wherewithal to do for ourselves, and we were not doing it. And we weren't doing it for a whole host of reasons. But it was true, that our names were not ours. That was true, that wasn't hard to accept. It was true that we had come through this whole transatlantic slave trade piece. And when you read the accounts of what happened to us during that time, and the accounts of anything as recent as one of the books that they always, the newspaper accounts written by Mr. Ralph Ginzburg, that accounted what happened at public lynchings.$$Yeah, '100 Years of Lynchings.'$$'100 Years of Lynchings.' And you read those accounts, and you read the history of what's going on, and you understand how we have been mis-educated, as eloquently stated by Carter G. Woodson. So, it wasn't hard for me to understand what was being said. But more importantly, it wasn't about hating anybody, it was about loving self. It was about us understanding that we had adopted a mental or intellectual framework that was against who we were. So we had this sort of psychological schizophrenia as witnessed by--in the days that you and I grew up, you had black men taking lye and putting it in their hair to straighten it out. You had black... I mean you know, we had us doing all these different things, trying to accommodate ourselves in a construct that was not who we were, that was actually anti-who we were. So if there was anything--if anybody had any difficulty, they shouldn't have any difficulty understanding what we were already doing, not what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was trying to teach us to do.$Okay. So you worked, you know, your whole life, I mean your young life--$$Uh-huh.$$And I can see how that could appeal--$$Yeah, it appealed to me. It resonated with me. And not only did it do that, but then I would go back after I wrote my letter. You know, you couldn't--like, at the church, where you just go up and shake their hand. You had to write this letter. I don't know if anybody ever told you how this works. But you have to write this letter. There was a letter they gave you, and it was a letter that you wrote to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad requesting, you know, that you bore witness there was no God but Allah, and you also wanted to be in the Nation [of Islam], and what have you. But you had to write the letter perfectly. You could not erase, you could not strike over. You had to write every single word perfectly. And then the letter would go in and be inspected. And if it was perfect, then that's how... And if it was anything, if it was a period missing, or an 'A' or anything was incorrect, it came back. And it was the first time in your life you had to do something perfectly. And so, and then brother you saw--what I also saw happening there was the amazing transformation of men. I mean folk looking wild, like I was looking--hair all over their head and looking all crazy. And then the next thing you know, you thought these were brothers from another planet, clean-shaven. I mean but these were the same guys that was gangbanging, or businesspeople, or whomever. And when he started talking about--when the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was talking about building this Islamic center, first on what was the site of--what became the site of Cole Park [Chicago, Illinois], because the city changed it to a park to keep us from buying it. Then the South Shore Cultural Center, where we were going to build the center, I said, "Look, this is what I want to do. I want to be a doctor in this place. I don't even care if I get paid, I just want to be there to teach and to take care of our people." That was my motivation--