A long-time promoter of cultural diversity throughout the medical center, Dr. Will Ross will serve as Principal Officer for Community Partnerships, expanding his role as Associate Dean for Diversity.
Dr. Ross, a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology, will work to enhance current programs and strategies that address the health needs of the St. Louis community, as well as develop new initiatives in collaboration with community leaders and organizations in the area.
According to Dr. Ross, the position of Principal Officer for Community Partnerships “offers a unique opportunity to focus on some of the intractable health issues in our community, such as high infant mortality rates, along with racial disparities in cancer, kidney disease, and behavioral health, and to coordinate and strengthen community-based initiatives that improve health.”
For more than two decades, Dr. Ross has focused on minority healthcare advocacy and the elimination of healthcare disparities. He is co-founder of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Center for Diversity and Cultural Competence, which aims to ensure that all patients have equal access to high quality health care. He served on the task force that created the Washington University Institute for Public Health, and is co-director of the MD/MPH program.
Dr. Ross works closely with the incoming first year medical students as part of the Washington University Medical Plunge (WUMP) program, which he founded. During orientation week, WUMP introduces the students to St. Louis history, the subject of health disparity and the patient population the students will be working with.
As founder of the Saturday Neighborhood Health Clinic and co-founder of Casa de Salud Latino Health Center, Ross has helped redesign local access to health care for the underserved. He is also a founding member of the Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience, a magnet health professions high school in St. Louis.
Dr. Ross’ passion for the elimination of healthcare disparity extends well beyond St. Louis. He promotes health equity nationally and globally through his collaborations with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and public health officials in Ethiopia, Haiti, and South Africa.
A Yale University graduate, Ross earned his medical degree at Washington University School of Medicine. He completed an internal medicine residency at Vanderbilt University and a renal fellowship at Washington University. He received a master’s degree in Epidemiology at the Saint Louis University School of Public Health.
Among his many honors, Dr. Ross received the State of Missouri MLK Distinguished Service in Medicine Award in 2005, the Washington University Medical Center Alumni Faculty Achievement Award in 2009, the Health Literacy Missouri Trailblazer Award in 2011, and the Samuel Goldstein Leadership in Medical Education Award in 2013.
Dr. Ross has numerous scientific article and book chapter publications. He is co-author of the Lexington Press book, Poverty and Place. Currently, he and St. Louis author Candace O’Connor are co-authoring a book about the Homer G. Phillips Hospital, which served the African-American community in north St. Louis for 42 years until it was closed in 1979. The famed hospital recruited, hired and trained black doctors and nurses from all over the United States.