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  • Writer's pictureAshley Winkfield

Living Legends: Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice

The First Woman President of Morehouse School of Medicine

Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice. 6th President of the Morehouse School of Medicine

For Black History Month, we will be focusing on the influence and legacy of some #LivingLegends in the Medical community. We'll be highlighting four Medical Physicians who reached new milestones and in doing so became The First. To start us off:

Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice.

Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Georgia Tech in 1983, and her medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1987. After her residency at Emory University School of Medicine, Montgomery Rice served as professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, then dean and senior vice president, at Meharry Medical College. In 2011, she started at the Morehouse School of Medicine as the dean and Executive Vice President. In 2014, she became the president, becoming the first woman to hold the position. She continues to serve as both President and Dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine.

According to her biography on the Morehouse website, Montgomery Rice held faculty positions and leadership roles at various health centers, including academic health centers, before joining Morehouse. Dr. Montgomery Rice's research and medical focus has been centered on reproductive medicine, ovarian cancer and menopause. Most notably, she was the founding director of the Center for Women’s Health Research at Meharry Medical College (CWHR), one of the nation’s first research centers devoted to studying diseases that disproportionately impact women of color and to understanding how biology, race, and economics contribute to women's health disparities. The CWHR was created to share insights and methods to deepen the understanding of scientific and behavioral aspects of women's health in a culturally sensitive holistic manner.

Dr. Zanetta at her Med School graduation with Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice
Dr. Zanetta at her Med School graduation with Dr. Montgomery Rice

Additionally, Dr. Montgomery Rice has dedicated her career to the creation and advancement of health equity, and promotes programs that enhance pipeline opportunities for academically diverse learners, diversifies the physician and scientific workforce, and fosters equity in health care access and health outcomes. She holds multiple teaching and research awards and is recognized for her professional and community service, notably for support of minority and professional women. Her activities also reflect her interests in women’s health issues, minority health care and health disparities.

Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice was president of Meharry when I was a student. She was the first black reproductive endocrinologist that I ever met and still is one of the most confident women I've ever seen. -Dr. Zanetta Lamar

Dr. Montgomery Rice has a profound understanding of how "Policy is foundational to health and health outcomes" and the impact that power structures in various institutions can have on diverse populations. She has been unafraid to hold our policymakers accountable for the ways in which their decisions impact our communities and is constantly looking for new pathways to ensure an equitable and healthy future.

For 3 Black Docs, Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice is an inspiration. Her lifetime commitment to education, service, and the advancement of health equity aligns with our own goals of educating the community. We honor her contributions to the medical field and her unwavering encouragement of new talent and students.

Watch Dr. Montgomery Rice's conversation with the Dean of the Brown School of Public Health for their Dean Conversation Series.

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