The Grio — ATLANTA – Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice has made history. The natural born leader has been appointed the new president of Morehouse School of Medicine – the nation’s first African-American woman to lead a free-standing medical school.
And when you consider the under-representation of black women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, Montgomery’s selection is a remarkable accomplishment.
But for those who have followed her impressive career it does not come as a surprise. The Macon, Georgia, native has an outstanding resume.
When asked about the secret of her success the Harvard-educated obstetrician and gynecologist says in no uncertain terms that it is her “passion.” She adds, “The one thing I have always been fortunate to have is passion.”
Indeed, she is a renowned infertility specialist and reproductive endocrinologist. Her work in women’s health and research has earned her international recognition, especially her steadfast commitment to eliminating disparities in women’s health.
Rice says women make the majority of health care decisions for the family so it is important they take better care of themselves and make the right choices. “It is critical for women to be healthy because they play a very pivotal role in determining the health and welfare of their family.”
Among her many triumphs is her founding of Meharry’s Center for Women’s Health Research in Nashville, Tennessee. The center has been credited as one of the nation’s first research facilities devoted exclusively to studying diseases that disproportionately impact women of color.
By all accounts, Rice’s journey to the highest position at the medical school is expected to be a seamless transition. Unlike external candidates who she beat to get the job, Rice is already settled as dean and executive vice president of the Morehouse School House of Medicine (MSM), a role she assumed in 2011.
She will spend the next months in his current job as well as preparing to take the helm alongside the current president John Maupin Jr., who will retire in a year. Her inauguration as the medical school’s sixth president is slated for July 1, 2014.