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The Morehouse Mystique

, 200 pages

28 halftones, 1 line drawing

February 2012



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The Morehouse Mystique

Becoming a Doctor at the Nation's Newest African American Medical School

The Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of only four predominantly Black medical schools in the United States. Among its illustrious alumni are surgeons general of the United States, medical school presidents, and numerous other highly regarded medical professionals. This book tells the engrossing history of this venerable institution.

The school was founded just after the civil rights era, when major barriers prevented minorities from receiving adequate health care and Black students were underrepresented in predominantly White medical schools. The Morehouse School of Medicine was conceived to address both problems—it was a minority-serving institution educating doctors who would practice in underserved communities.

The school's history involves political maneuvering, skilled leadership, dedication to training African American physicians, and a mission of primary care in disadvantaged communities. Highlighting such influential leaders as former Health and Human Services Secretary Louis W. Sullivan, The Morehouse Mystique situates the school in the context of the history of medical education for Blacks and race relations throughout the country. The book features excerpts from personal interviews with prominent African American doctors as well as with former presidents Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush, who reveal how local, state, and national politics shaped the development of Black medical schools in the United States.

The story of the Morehouse School of Medicine reflects the turbulent time in which it was founded and the lofty goals and accomplishments of a diverse group of African American leaders. Their tireless efforts in creating this eminent Black institution changed the landscape of medical education and the racial and ethnic makeup of physicians and health care professions.

Marybeth Gasman is a professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Envisioning Black Colleges and coeditor of Booker T. Washington Rediscovered, both also published by Johns Hopkins. Louis W. Sullivan is president emeritus and one of the founders of the Morehouse School of Medicine. He was secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services under George H. W. Bush.

" The Morehouse Mystique provides a superb history of the creation and development of a singularly important American medical school. The book is chock full of insights, beautifully written, and firmly anchored in the medical and cultural context of its time. More than that, it speaks to the soul of medicine and offers inspiration and hope for a healthier and better America."

"An excellent resource for researchers interested in the unique story of the creation and development of African American medical schools in the US."

" The Morehouse Mystique will be of value to many readers: those interested in twentieth century American history and American medical education, African-American medical schools, and health care inequities. It can also be thought of as a case study in how to start up a medical school, how to develop a board of directors, and how to work with strong and nationally-known personalities."

"... This books does an excellent job of describing the conditions that made the Morehouse School of Medicine a much needed institution..."

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