Born in the projects on June 1, 1942, Barbara Ross-Lee was the oldest of six children (they include a sister who is singer Diana Ross, a brother who is a Motown songwriter, and a brother who is a dancer with Diana's tours.) While Barbara had many interests, including music which started from singing in the church choir, she chose a different path. Here is an outline of the career path she chose—showing her passion for education.
She graduated from Wayne State University in 1965 with a degree in biology and chemistry and soon after began teaching math and science while earning her Master's from Wayne State University under the National Teaching Corps program.
She decided to study osteopathic medicine in the late 1960s while working as a lab technician at an osteopathic hospital near Detroit. In 1969, she entered Michigan State University's new College of Osteopathic Medicine, graduating in 1973 and opened a family practice. Within a short period, she joined the faculty at Michigan State University.
In 1984, she left her practice to became a consultant on health professions education for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 1990, she served as a community representative on the Governor of Michigan's Minority Health Advisory Committee. In 1991, she was awarded a fellowship which allowed her to spend a year working as a legislative assistant for health in the office of Senator Bill Bradley. After the fellowship, Ross-Lee returned to Michigan State University as an Associate Dean for Health Policy in the College of Osteopathic Medicine.
In 1993, she was named Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University, making her the first African American woman to be dean of a medical school, and one of only a handful of female deans in the country.
In 2001, she was appointed Vice President for Health Sciences and Medical Affairs at the New York Institute of Technology. One year later, she became Dean of the school's College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Being an advocate, Barbara Ross-Lee has lectured extensively and written many scholarly articles on osteopathic medicine. She is active in the American Osteopathic Association, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the National Osteopathic Medical Association and the Association for Academic Health Centers.
She is also an advocate for healthcare for minorities. She also encourages medical schools to add mandatory bio-terrorism training and, as a result, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) is seeking to become a leader in that new field.
In addition, she is a commissioned officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve Medical Corps with the rank of captain. She and her husband have raised five children, all of whom have pursued professional careers.
Compiled from http://www.allbusiness.com/north-america/united-states-new-york/1100663-1.html, http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/biography.asp?bioindex=1597&category=MedicalMakers&occupation=Osteopathic%20Physician%20%26%20Medical%20School%20Dean&name=Dr.%20Barbara%20Ross-Lee, and http://www.myhero.com/go/hero.asp?hero=B_Ross_Lee_enloe_HS_06.
Note: Osteopathic Medicine is a branch of medicine which views the human body holistically; it emphasizes the prevention and treatment of illness and injury through the use of manual and physical therapies along with traditional practices such as drugs and surgery. According to the American Medical Association, there are more than 41,000 doctors of osteopathy in the country. Those fully licensed physicians provide about ten percent of physician-provided health care in the United States.