The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon

Search Results

Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Dr. Georges C. Benjamin

Healthcare executive Georges C. Benjamin was born on September 28, 1952 in Chicago, Illinois to Tessie and George Benjamin. After graduating from Lindblom Technical High School in 1970, Benjamin received his B.S. degree in biology from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1973. He went on to receive his M.D. degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1978, and complete his internal medicine residency at Brooke Army Medical Center in 1981.

In 1981, Benjamin joined Madigan Army Medical Center as chief of the Acute Illness Clinic in the department of emergency medicine; and, in 1983, he was reassigned to Walter Reed Army Medical Center as chief of emergency medicine. From 1987 to 1990, Benjamin served as chair of the department of community health and ambulatory care at the District of Columbia General Hospital. From 1990 to 1991, he served as acting commissioner of the District of Columbia Department of Health; and, in this role, he also served as interim director of the District of Columbia Fire Department’s Emergency Ambulance Bureau. From 1991 to 1994 he practiced emergency medicine and worked as a health policy consultant. He returned to the Emergency Ambulance Bureau from 1994 to 1995, serving again as interim director. In 1995, he was appointed deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; and, four years later, he was promoted to secretary of the department. In 2002, Benjamin stepped down as secretary to join the American Public Health Association (APHA) as executive director. In this position, he also served as publisher of the nonprofit's monthly publication, The Nation's Health, the association's official newspaper, and the American Journal of Public Health. Benjamin authored more than 100 scientific articles and book chapters, as well as the book The Quest for Health Reform: A Satirical History, a history of health care reform shown through political cartoons.

In 2001, Benjamin served as president of the Association of State and Territorial Health. In 2016, former President Obama appointed Benjamin to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council. He was a Master of the American College of Physicians, a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a fellow emeritus of the American College of Emergency Physicians, an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health, and a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

In 1998, Benjamin received the Noble J. Swearingen Award for Excellence in Public Health Administrative Management from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. He was named one of the Top 25 Minority Executives in Health Care by Modern Healthcare Magazine in 2008, 2014, and 2016. In 2017, Benjamin received the Hidden Figures of Public Health Award from Black Caucus of Health Workers of the APHA and the Meritorious Achievement Award from the National Medical Association. He also received an honorary Doctor of Science from Meharry Medical School.

Benjamin and his wife, Yvette Benjamin, have two daughters: Stephanie and Kali.

Dr. Georges C. Benjamin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 24, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.104

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/24/2019

Last Name

Benjamin

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Curtis

Organizations
Schools

Illinois Institute of Technology

University of Illinois College of Medicine

Perkins Bass Elementary School

Juliette G. Lowe Upper Grade Center

Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School

Brooke Army Medical Center

First Name

Georges

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

GEO05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Aruba

Favorite Quote

Never Start A War Until You Count Your Guns

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/28/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Bacon and Eggs

Short Description

Healthcare executive Georges Benjamin (1952- ) served as executive director of the American Public Health Association. He previously served as secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Employment

American Public Health Association

Madigan Army Medical Center

Walter Reed Army Medical Center

District of Columbia General Hospital

District of Columbia Department of Health

District of Columbia Fire Department, Emergency Ambulance Bureau

Holy Cross Hospital

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Health Policy Consultant

Self Employed

United States Army Medical Corps

United States Army Medical Service Corps

City University of New York, School of Public Health at Hunter College

The George Washington School of Public Health and Health Services

Georgetown University

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

University of Maryland College of Medicine

Howard University

National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians

American Heart Association

American College of Surgeons

Favorite Color

Blue

Dr. Roselyn Payne Epps

Dr. Roselyn Payne Epps was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. Both of her parents were educators, as were her grandparents. Epps attended elementary school at Powell Laboratory School in Savannah, Georgia, and afterwards attended Palmer Memorial High School in Sedalia, North Carolina, before enrolling at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She graduated with a B.S. in 1951, and obtained an M.S., also from Howard, in 1955.

Upon receiving her M.S., Epps became a rotating intern with the United States Public Health Service at Freedmen's Hospital in Washington (later renamed Howard University Hospital). In 1956, she began a pediatric residency with the hospital, and two years later became its chief resident.

In 1961, she became a medical officer with the District of Columbia Department of Health, and in 1973 earned an M.Ph. from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She continued on with the District of Columbia Department of Health, and in 1980 was appointed the first acting commissioner of health of the District of Columbia.

That year also saw her become a professor of pediatrics and children's health at Howard, and a year later, she received an M.A. from American University in Washington, D.C. She would go on to become the chief of the Child Development Division and director of the Child Development Center at Howard. Among her accomplishments during her time there were overseeing a program that aided disabled children and their parents, and she was the founder of the High Risk Young People's Project, which brought together several university health science departments, community organizations, and government agencies within the district.

In 1988, she went to work for the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Semi-retired since 1998, she serves s a consultant for the public and private sector. Epps has written more than ninety articles for medical publications, was a co-editor for The Women's Complete Handbook , and was the first African American and female president of the District of Columbia chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has been involved in various professional and philanthropic undertakings and is the recipient of more than sixty awards. The Council of the District of Columbia declared February 14, 1981, Dr. Roselyn Payne Epps Day in Washington, D.C.

Epps passed away on September 30, 2014, at the age of 83. She was married to Dr. Charles H. Epps, Jr. and they have four children.

Roselyn Payne Epps was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 16, 2003.

Accession Number

A2003.047

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/16/2003

Last Name

Epps

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

H.

Occupation
Schools

Palmer Memorial High School

Powell Laboratory School

Sol C. Johnson High School

Howard University College of Medicine

Johns Hopkins University

American University

Howard University

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Little Rock

HM ID

EPP01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

A Job Well Done Is Its Own Reward

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/11/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Death Date

9/30/2014

Short Description

Pediatrician Dr. Roselyn Payne Epps (1930 - 2014 ) was Professor Emerita of Pediatrics at Howard University.

Employment

Freedmen's Hospital, Howard University

District of Columbia Department of Health

District of Columbia District of Health

Howard University College of Medicine

National Cancer Institute

Timing Pairs
0,0:3317,10:57709,690:58439,710:58950,718:86280,1129:89800,1190:94680,1309:111004,1541:111628,1550:216794,3177:221796,3267:222288,3274:242540,3569$0,0:6028,126:6344,131:14244,284:22929,348:62067,996:67476,1061:77614,1259:77910,1264:79538,1296:80130,1305:80574,1312:86792,1352:87575,1362:89228,1385:89576,1390:103625,1592:112032,1712:133210,2084:133660,2101:138526,2109:138854,2114:140166,2134:140986,2148:141560,2157:146234,2209:153690,2357:157190,2432:159500,2505:170170,2663:180510,2842:181084,2851:186770,2914:192344,2949:192836,2956:204288,3104:205614,3152:207486,3198:215460,3289
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Roselyn Epps' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Roselyn Epps lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Roselyn Epps describes her mother, Mattie Beverly Payne, and her maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Roselyn Epps describes her father, William Kenneth Payne

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Roselyn Epps describes her maternal grandfather, John William Beverly, the president of Alabama State College

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Roselyn Epps talks about her maternal grandmother's ancestral roots

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Roselyn Epps describes how her grandfather attended at Brown University and the impact of the American Missionary Association on black education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Roselyn Epps describes how her parents met and their move from Alabama to Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Roselyn Epps talks about her brother, William Kenneth Payne II

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Roselyn Epps describes memories of her childhood in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Roselyn Epps describes her relationship with her brother, William Kenneth Payne II

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Roselyn Epps describes her early elementary school years

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Roselyn Epps talks about growing up on the campus of Savannah State University in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Roselyn Epps talks about taking her mother's card club on a tour of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Roselyn Epps describes the sights, smells, and sounds of growing up in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Roselyn Epps describes the development of her parents' careers as educators

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Roselyn Epps talks about her experience at Powell Laboratory School on the campus of Savannah State University

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Roselyn Epps describes her childhood personality and her early dreams of becoming a pediatrician

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Roselyn Epps talks about her experience at Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Roselyn Epps talks about the Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, North Carolina, and its founder, Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Roselyn Epps remembers when Nat King Cole visited Palmer Memorial Institute with Maria Cole, Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown's niece

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Roselyn Epps talks about black boarding schools like Palmer Memorial Institute, Mary Potter School, Mather Academy, and Piney Woods Country Life School, which suffered after integration

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Roselyn Epps talks about close friends from her years at Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Roselyn Epps talks about how her experience at Palmer impacted her formation

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Roselyn Epps describes her parents' influence on her decision to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Roselyn Epps describes her summer activities as a youth including 4-H camps and dance lessons

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Roselyn Epps talks about her father and her husband's roles as academic administrators

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Roselyn Epps describes criminal activity at the campus post office while she worked there

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Roselyn Epps describes how her father resolved the issues at the post office and advocated for the students and faculty in his charge

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Roselyn Epps describes the academic and social environment at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Roselyn Epps talks about the faculty at Howard University including university president Mordecai Johnson, Alain LeRoy Locke, Frank Snowden, Lois Mailou Jones, and HistoryMaker Lloyd N. Ferguson

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Roselyn Epps talks about the pre-med track at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Roselyn Epps describes how she met her husband, HistoryMaker Dr. Charles H. Epps

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Roselyn Epps talks about her decision to attend Howard University College of Medicine

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Roselyn Epps talks about her experience as a woman at Howard University College of Medicine

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Roselyn Epps remembers an embarrassing experience in her neuroanatomy lab class with Dr. Moses Wharton Young

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Roselyn Epps talks about her studies at Howard University College of Medicine

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Roselyn Epps talks about Dr. Blanche Bourne and Dr. Ruth Ella Moore, two influential teachers at Howard University College of Medicine

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Roselyn Epps talks about Dr. Roland Scott, her mentor at Howard University School of Medicine

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Roselyn Epps talks about Dr. Roland Scott and his work on sickle cell disease

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Roselyn Epps talks about children's health issues in the 1960s and the importance of immunization

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Roselyn Epps describes obtaining a master of public health at Johns Hopkins University while working at the D.C. Department of Public Health

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Roselyn Epps describes the impact of urban migration in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Roselyn Epps talks about Freedmen's Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Roselyn Epps talks about distinguished interns and residents from Freedman's Hospital

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Roselyn Epps talks about medical ethics

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Roselyn Epps talks about her mentor Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee and affiliating with the American Academy of Pediatrics

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Roselyn Epps remembers integrating the D.C. Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Roselyn Epps talks about her community involvement and her work with Children International

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Roselyn Epps talks about her decision to study public administration and higher education at American University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Roselyn Epps talks about evolution of public health while she was acting commissioner of health at the D.C. Department of Public Health

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Roselyn Epps talks about a shift in national attitudes about intellectual and developmental disabilities

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Roselyn Epps talks about the close of Junior Village, one of the unintended casualties of the Great Society programs

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Roselyn Epps describes the beginning of the High Risk Young People's Project

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Roselyn Epps talks about the impact of the High Risk Young People's Project

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Roselyn Epps describes how she implemented the NIH's smoking cessation program

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Roselyn Epps talks about her work on smoking cessation in pediatrics

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Roselyn Epps talks about the expansion of pediatric medicine

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Roselyn Epps talks about a study on hypertension in children and how the field of pediatrics has changed over the last few decades

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Roselyn Epps talks about the rising incidence of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Roselyn Epps talks about cancer research in children and chronic pediatric issues

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Roselyn Epps talks about her work on "The Women's Complete Health Book"

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Roselyn Epps talks about Joycelyn Elders, the former Surgeon General of the United States

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Roselyn Epps talks about the importance of caring for the nation's children

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Roselyn Epps talks about the Hospital for Sick Children and learning to fundraise

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Roselyn Epps talks about Girls Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Roselyn Epps talks about lessons in leadership and her leadership roles over the years

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Roselyn Epps describes her work ethic

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Roselyn Epps talks about her exposure to significant African Americans and her experience during segregation

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Roselyn Epps talks about the importance of integration and its consequences

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Roselyn Epps shares her advice for aspiring medical professionals

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Roselyn Epps describes the importance of historically black colleges and universities like Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Roselyn Epps talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Roselyn Epps narrates her photographs, pt.1

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Roselyn Epps narrates her photographs, pt.2

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

5$4

DATitle
Roselyn Epps talks about Dr. Roland Scott, her mentor at Howard University School of Medicine
Roselyn Epps talks about her work on smoking cessation in pediatrics
Transcript
But there were a lot of people who were kind and, you know, took in, and... Now when I became a resident in pediatrics, my chairman, Dr. Roland Scott, really was a person who had great influence on me.$$Can you talk about that?$$Yes. Roland Scott was the chairman of the department, and he also was the first African American, certified in pediatrics, and also the first to become a member of the Academy of Pediatrics. He died last year and he was about ninety-four, I think, but I learned a lot from him. This was a man who really came along at a time when there was no one else out front, you know. And he would go to all the meetings. He would take--he wrote publications. He had research. He had a private practice. And he--when he would go to conferences and meetings, he'd raise his hand, and he'd get up and make a comment or ask a question. Everyone knew he had been there. And no matter where we'd go out of the country and met somebody, they would say, well, do you know Dr. Roland? You're from Howard [University School of Medicine]--do you know Dr. Roland Scott? He's in sickle cell research. And I did research with him and practiced with him in his office for a year after I finished. And he taught me that you needed to take time. He says, publish new research and publish. He says if you don't do it while you don't have time--he said, but if you don't do it while you're a resident, you won't do when you finish. You just won't never be able to figure it out. And so, I wrote papers with him and did some research projects. And he had, had tremendous influence in terms of professional development and how one can just go. I mean he went to things, and he would get money for the residents to go to the pediatric meetings. And we would always have an exhibit and he would go to the sessions, and we would man the exhibit. But we got an opportunity to meet people. I remember the Academy of Pediatrics met in Chicago [Illinois] every year so we used to go. I forget the (unclear). I was the chief resident and we would go, and we would--and I would, in fact, it was so funny because one time I remember we were going to the meeting. And I think it was the first one, and I think he thought that--I know I probably would be tagging along looking for him. I'm talking about in the car--look for me, you know, help me or something. And so, when we got there to the airport, I went and got my bag and got on that bus and went into the Palmer House. I didn't--and so the next--when we were setting up the exhibit, he said, well, what happened to you? He said--I said, well, you know, we had arrived. I didn't want him to think that I was there and would be dependent on him to guide me around, you know. You didn't say, well, you know, let's share a cab or let's do this. So, I said, well, if we're on our own, I know how to do that, too. So, so I did but he--but he did, and then when my husband [Dr. Charles H. Epps] came back to be chief of orthopedics and they said, well, we got nepotism here [Freedman's Hospital, now Howard University Hospital, Washington, D.C.]. So I talked to him, and he says, well, why don't you go to look into public health? He said, but if you go into public health, he says, you get the degree that people in public health have got. And so, he called them [D.C. Department of Public Health] up and asked them if they had an opening. And I went down and interviewed and what-not and was hired, and as a well-baby clinic doctor.$$So he, he was a very good mentor.$$Oh, yeah, uh-hum.$$Okay.$But after I got there and there was no pediatrician there, I realized that smoking really begins during childhood, and that's it's really a pediatric problem. And yet I had--was familiar enough in pediatrics to know that nowhere had I heard any discussion about tobacco. So I said, what we need is a program to prevent onset of smoking, not just stop it after the people are addicted. So I said fine, you go on and you do it. And so, I called the Academy of Pediatrics, and I said we need to--we brought them in--for several of them in for a meeting, and I said we need to develop this program. And I said, we can do it several ways. I said you all can develop it and we'll publish it, or we can develop and publish it, or we can do it, whatever way you say. So I think they felt--well, nothing's going to happen here. So they said, well, won't you go on and do it, you know, and we'll look at it and see what we think about it. And so, I also knew that, you know, I was not a long-term researcher in, in tobacco control, and then that in order to get something that people will go and buy, and I couldn't just develop something out of the, out of the blue. So I tied it in--I'd been on several committees for the Academy of Pediatrics. And I knew that they had the guidelines of when children should come, so I just wrote the program so it coincided with normal periods of time that they'd be coming into the doctor anyway. And then added--they had four A's--ask, advise, assist, and arrange for smoking cessation. So I added "A", a fifth "A" for children which was anticipate, anticipate the developmental stage 'cause, you know, you're going from one station to another. The temptations will be different. And so, it made--sent it to the Academy of pediatrics said, well, will you look at it and review, and they, they got their substance abuse committee people to make a few suggestions. In the end, they were so thrilled with it 'cause we were publishing and disseminating and everything that they actually put their imprimatur on it as, as one of their official things. And so, that we were able to disseminate that and so.$$That was groundbreaking in many ways, right?$$Yes, oh, yeah, that was really--$$It's groundbreaking.$$Uh-hum.$$And it sort of led to a lot of the focus on, you know, on the--well, now people are trying to get billboards, but it was sort of the beginning--$$Oh, yeah, oh, yeah, all of that was going on simultaneously.$$Right.$$But the medical community was really out of the loop, but they didn't realize--I mean the advocates were out there with smoking cessation. Now I'm in my current role, semi-retired--I'm a consultant. There's a program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to the Department of Pediatrics at Howard [University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C.] now that's going to look at smoking in high risk populations. So, in other words, teenagers, kids who are in--out of school programs, kids who are in foster care, kids who are in job corps, kids who are really at risk, the ones who are more likely to smoke who don't have parents who will say, it's not good for you and that type of thing. And so, we're working on that now and going to develop a curriculum. I'm just a consultant on it now though. Mm-hm.