Ross receives medical service award from Martin Luther King commission

Will Ross, M.D., associate dean and director of the Office of Diversity at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received the 2005 Distinguished Community Service in Medicine Award by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. State Celebration Commission.

The award recognizes Ross’ continuing efforts to exemplify King’s ideals and commitments through the field of medicine across the globe and the state of Missouri.

Will Ross
Will Ross

“I have met people of great stature across Missouri who have for decades struggled to uplift the human condition,” Ross says. “When I heard I was receiving the State of Missouri Dr. King Award I was simply humbled to be associated with such an august group. I plan to continue working tirelessly to promote Dr. King’s vision of service to the less fortunate in our society.”

“Embracing the Vision — Fulfilling the Dream” is the theme of the commission’s 19th annual kickoff celebration Jan. 8 at Harris-Stowe State College. Ross and other prominent community members, such as Missouri Gov. Bob Holden, Mayor Francis Slay, Nelly and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, were also honored at the kickoff event.

As a health-care policy expert and an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University, Ross focuses on minority health-care advocacy and resolving health-care disparities.

Ross has made contributions to both the academic community at Washington University and the greater St. Louis community by coordinating the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Lecture Series at the University.

This year, Freeman A. Hrabowski, Ph.D., president of the University of Maryland and co-author of Beating the Odds, will speak at 4 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Eric P. Newman Education Center at Washington University Medical Center.

Past speakers include Juan Williams, renowned author of Eyes on the Prize and political analyst for NPR, Fox News and The Washington Post, and Christopher Edley Jr., former consultant to President Clinton’s Advisory Board on Racial Reconciliation.

For the past three years, Ross has served as president of the Mound City Medical Forum, a leading minority medical organization that promotes elimination of medical disparities.

He serves as the commissioner for the St. Louis Regional Health Commission and a board member of the Missouri Foundation for Health, one of the nation’s largest health-care foundations.

By creating the Homer G. Phillips Lecture Series to highlight local minority physicians and instigating the HealthWatch section of the St. Louis American, the area’s African-American newspaper, Ross has helped bring major community health issues affecting African-Americans to the forefront.