President and Dean, Morehouse School of Medicine
Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice is a renowned infertility specialist and the first woman to lead the Morehouse School of Medicine as president and dean. A leading advocate for health equity, she founded and directed the Center for Women’s Health Research at Meharry Medical College, one of the nation’s first research centers devoted to studying diseases that disproportionately impact women of color.
What’s the most important quality for a doctor to have?
Compassion. I often advise medical students to look at their patients and ask themselves, “Based on who is in front of me, what’s possible?” If you do this, you will consider all the aspects of that person’s life: their challenges, opportunities, fears, and hopes.
If you could change one thing about medical education, what would it be?
I would like to change the perception of who can be a phenomenal healthcare provider. Currently, the Medical College Admission Test serves as the gatekeeper for who is admitted to medical school. Unfortunately, it offers only one piece of data. Studies show that not only do academically diverse students do well in medical school, they also become excellent physicians.
What life experience has taught or changed you the most?
My mother’s passing changed me the most. It was the first time I felt vulnerable and didn’t know how to bounce back. I learned how to pick myself up after a tragedy and, most importantly, I learned that life truly is fleeting. Through her passing, I gained perspective.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I experience my greatest joy when I am spending time at home with my friends and family, hanging out in the kitchen cooking a great meal.