By Steven Bartolotta
February 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 in the medical and osteopathic community.
From Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee, the first black woman to serve as a Dean at a medical school, to Dr. William G. Anderson, the first black President of the American Osteopathic Association, and Dr. Dralves Edwards, TCOM’s first African-American student. These and many others opened doors that were previously shut, inspired generations and changed the face of medicine.
“I’m so happy that we are taking the time and effort to bring recognition and celebration around Black History Month,” said Dean of TCOM, Dr. Frank Filipetto. “Osteopathic medicine has had many trailblazers throughout its history and I want all of our faculty, staff and students to recognize the importance and celebrate their accomplishments.”
William G. Anderson, DO
Dr. William G. Anderson was the first African-American who was a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Osteopathic Association for twenty years, where he also served as president.
During the civil rights movement, he worked alongside Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy. With them, he led the Albany Movement, the first mass movement in the civil rights era when protestors marched to end community segregation.
In the world of medicine, Dr. Anderson became the first black surgical resident in Detroit and the first black president of the AOA. Throughout his career, Dr. Anderson has used his voice to advocate for diversity in the profession. The American Osteopathic Foundation established the William G. Anderson, DO, Minority Scholarship in his honor.
The scholarship recognizes an outstanding minority osteopathic medical student committed to osteopathic principles and practice, has excelled academically, and has proven to be a leader in addressing the educational, societal, and health needs of minorities.
Barbara Ross-Lee, DO
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 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.
Dralves Edwards, DO
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 graduated in 1980 and has four decades of medical experience ranging from Emergency Medicine, Sports Medicine and Family Medicine. He is board-certified from the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians, the American Board of Sports Medicine and is a Certified Medical Director from 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 “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. He is currently the Methodist Southlake Site Medical Director and also practices with the Dallas Medical Center ED.