Black History Month
Recognizing black DOs

Celebrate Black History Month with these 10 osteopathic physicians

Learn how black physicians past and present have made a difference in osteopathic medicine.

Meta L. Christy, DO, was the world’s first African-American osteopathic physician. She graduated from what is now the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1921. But that was just the beginning. Black DOs have continued to push medicine forward and improve patient care.

In February, we celebrate Black History Month and the accomplishments of black physicians. Below, read about 10 black physicians and their contributions to osteopathic medicine, their patients and the overall health care system.

1. William G. Anderson, DO

As an influential civil rights activist, Dr. Anderson, an osteopathic surgeon, worked alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy to fight segregation and discrimination during the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Anderson was also the first black president of the AOA (1994-1995).

William G. Anderson, DO (center), welcomes the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., PhD (left), and the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy to his home. At the time, Dr. Anderson lived in Albany, Georgia. (Photo provided by Dr. Anderson)

2. Octavia Cannon, DO

Dedicated to service, Dr. Cannon is the president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She also devotes time to educating pre-med students about osteopathic medicine.

Octavia Cannon, DO

3. Ashley Denmark, DO

Dr. Denmark recently published a children’s book about life as a physician to expose minority and underserved youth to careers in medicine. She aims to normalize different paths to becoming a physician.


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4. John Sealey, DO

Dr. Sealey helped create residency programs specific to the needs of his community at Authority Health, a teaching health center in Detroit. He now serves as a consultant for graduate medical education advocacy.

John Sealey, DO

5. Brook Laurent, DO

Dr. Laurent is a fierce advocate for the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and the vice chair of clinical specialties at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University.

Brook Laurent, DO

6. Danielle Ward, DO

Dr. Ward served as national president of the Student National Medical Association in 2017 and 2018. She was the first osteopathic medical student in the position. She writes about her medical journey on her blog.

Danielle Ward, OMS IV, and one of her role models, Barbara Ross-Lee, DO.

7. Jennifer Caudle, DO

Dr. Caudle regularly lends her medical expertise to various media outlets such as CNN and Fox News. She is a family medicine physician and an associate professor in the department of family medicine at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Jennifer Caudle, DO, at DO Day 2017.

8. Barbara Ross-Lee, DO

During her long career, Dr. Ross-Lee repeatedly broke barriers and helped pave pathways for women and minorities in the osteopathic medical profession. She was the first African-American woman to be named dean of a U.S. medical school and the first osteopathic physician to become a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow.

Barbara Ross-Lee, DO

9. Tyree Winters, DO

Dr. Winters uses hip-hop dance classes to encourage his pediatric patients to stay active and fight obesity. As an associate program director of the pediatric residency program at Goryeb Children’s Hosptial in Morristown, New Jersey, Dr. Winters has passed on his innovative approach to patient care to his residents.

10. Ingrid Carter, DO

As an emergency medicine locum tenens, Dr. Carter has traveled to Uganda, Haiti, Ghana and India to provide care to thousands of patients in medically underserved areas.

Ingrid Carter, DO (right), examines a patient in Uganda.

Further reading:

‘Discrimination affects us all’: When physicians experience prejudice

Is there a doctor in the house? Increased diversity measures are promoting more opportunities for minorities


  1. An African American Osteopathic Physican who should be on your radar. Yanick M. Vibert, DO, MPH, FAAP. 1998 NYCOM grad, she is a Neonatologist working out of St. Christopher’s Hospital fo Children in Philadelphia, PA. Her international work is to be celebrated. She has traveled and volunteered in Haiti, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Gambia, Uganda to name a few.

  2. My father, James W. Hammons DO
    as an African American doctor paved the way and made history in medicine with his many accomplishments. He practiced medicine for 47 years.

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