TCOM celebrates the beginning of Black History Month

Tcom Student Giving A Flu ShotFebruary is Black History Month and the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine is proud to honor the pioneering efforts of many African American men and women who have paved the way for many in the medical and osteopathic community.  

To celebrate Black History Month, The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth is hosting a Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit on February 18. The Black Men in White Coats initiative aims to increase the number of Black men and boys considering a career in medicine. The Black Men in White Coats Youth Summits occur in cities across the country as a platform to provide underrepresented minority youth and college students with exposure to the medical field.  

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Garth Graham, director and global head of health care for Google/YouTube. Dr. Dale Okorodudu, who founded the organization in 2013 in response to the decreasing number of Black male applicants to medical school, will give an address at the beginning of the event.  

“I’m so happy that we are taking the time and effort to bring recognition and celebration around Black History Month and for our university to be hosting Black Men in White Coats,” said Everett Endowed Professor Dr. Frank Filipetto, and Dean of TCOM. “Osteopathic medicine has had many trailblazers throughout its history, and I want our entire faculty, staff, and students to recognize the importance and celebrate their accomplishments.” 

Dr. Beverly Waddleton 

Growing up in the East Texas town of Quitman, Dr. Beverly Waddleton might have let her small-town surroundings define her personal dreams. Instead, as the first African American woman to graduate from TCOM, Waddleton let her dreams ultimately shape the small town she has since spent her career serving. 

Following her 1981 graduation from TCOM and a yearlong internship, she decided to return home to Quitman. She opened a solo private family practice office that she ran for 22 years, employing nearly 20 associates, delivering more than 100 babies, and caring for families she had grown up knowing through church and school. 

In 2005, she joined the East Texas Medical Center (now UT Health East Texas) in its Rural Health Clinic. Dr. Waddleton now serves as Medical Director of the Clinic and of Cardio-Pulmonary Rehab. She also supervises Rural Family Practice residents through the UT System. Her dreams have indeed shaped her hometown in many positive ways. She recently retired in 2022 after more than four decades of dedication to osteopathic medicine and her hometown.  

Dr. Dravles Edwards Dravles Edwards 

Dr. Dralves Edwards was a pre-med major at North Texas State University in the early 1970s and graduated in 1973. He earned his master’s degree at Prairie View A&M and was admitted to TCOM in 1976. 

He was the first African American graduate from TCOM in 1980 and has four decades of medical experience ranging in emergency medicine, sports medicine and family medicine. He is board certified by the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians and the American Board of Sports Medicine; and he’s a certified medical director by the American Academy of Home Health Care Physicians. 

He was named the Dallas Urban League “Father of the Year” in 1992 and the Duncanville Chamber of Commerce Leadership’s “Man of the Year” in 1994. He also received the “Key to the City” from Duncanville in 2004. 

Since 2004, he has practiced emergency medicine at level III and IV trauma centers across the North Texas region. Currently, he is Methodist Southlake Site’s medical director and practices with the Dallas Medical Center ED. His daughter, Dr. Jessica Edwards, was a 2014 TCOM graduate.  

Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee 

Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee was born in 1942 in Detroit, MI, the oldest of six children. Despite never having seen an African American physician, she always dreamed of growing up and becoming a doctor or perhaps a teacher because of her love of education. She graduated from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1973 and began her solo family practice in Detroit until 1984. 

In 1991, she was also the first osteopathic physician to participate in the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship.  

Dr. Ross-Lee became the first African American woman dean of a United States medical school when she was named the Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine of Ohio University in 1993.  

Dr. Ross-Lee was awarded the “Magnificent 7” Award presented in 1993 by Business and Professional Women/USA. She has received the Women’s Health Award from Blackboard African-American National Bestsellers for her contributions to women’s health, the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and an honorary doctorate of science from the New York Institute of Technology.  

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