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 Breaking Down Barriers:
A Doctor for the People

complete bio | audio | researcher

The face of health care has changed over the course of the twentieth century. There has been a gradual and prominent appearance of cultural diversity in the health care professions. Thousands of exceptional doctors of color have made their way into all avenues medical practice. However, prior to the 1960s, segregation was still existent and was the sole cause for a lack Black doctors in the health care system. The influx of Black doctors established a network in which people of color could finally see one from their own cultural backdrop catering to their ailments. Dr. Roland Thomas Smoot is a prime example of the rise of African Americans in a health care system apathetic to the needs and concerns of minority patients, and predisposed to racial bias.
Dr. Roland Thomas Smoot, now a retired Internal Medicine specialist, has been a part of the health care system since the early 1950s. He holds the title of "The First African American" in several institutional, organizational, and community offices (e.g. the first African American to attain admitting privileges at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, the first African American to be elected president of a 6,000-member medical organization, etc.). With these titles and accomplishments, he has used his power and influence to better the healthcare, the education, and the overall advancement of Black people. His efforts towards equality and above standard medical care for Blacks, and towards the advancement of minority education, especially, have helped set the pace for cultural evolution in healthcare.

Dr. Roland Thomas Smoot

At the age of 77, Dr. Smoot has accomplished many great feats in his lifetime and plans to accomplish many more. His life's work has played a key role in the development of this nation's healthcare system, as well as a key role in the struggle for Black advancement as a whole. Upon further investigation, one finds that Dr. Roland Smoot was not only an outstanding physician, a barrier breaker against segregation, an innovator for Black education, and a promoter of adequate Black health care, but he was also an exemplary doctor in all aspects for his people.


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