Leading with Empathy; Dr. Will Ross

Dr. Will Ross grew up in a gritty, hard-scrabble ghetto in Memphis, Tennessee. His life was changed at age 15 when a prominent Jewish couple was able to send him to a summer program at a boarding school in New Hampshire, as well as provide financial support until he graduated from college. Mr. Wexner, a local businessman, and his wife, Shirley, were both active in the Civil Rights movement in Memphis and instilled in Will a strong sense of social justice and an embrace of Dr. Martin Luther King’s philosophy of inclusion and non-violent protest against racial injustice. Dr. Ross continues that legacy as he advocates for health equity throughout St. Louis.

Will Ross, MD, MPH, is associate dean for diversity, principal officer for community partnerships, and professor of medicine in the Division of Nephrology at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Ross has recruited and developed a diverse group of medical students, residents, and faculty. He helped establish free local medical clinics and has worked nationally and globally to promote health equity. He is a charter and founding member of the St. Louis Regional Health Commission and Chairman of the St. Louis City Board of Health. He is a founding member of the Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience, a magnet high school for students pursuing careers in medicine and biomedical sciences. He previously served as Chief Medical Officer of St. Louis Regional Hospital, the last public hospital in St. Louis. Ross earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and an MD from the Washington University School of Medicine.

He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Vanderbilt and a Renal Fellowship at Washington University. He also completed a master’s degree in epidemiology at Saint Louis University.