George H. Rawls (1928-2020), MD, Indiana University Clinical Professor of Surgery and founding director of the Master of Science in Medical Science program at IU School of Medicine, was a pioneer for African American surgeons in the Indianapolis community and a lifelong advocate for advancing minority representation in medicine.

Dr. Rawls graduated valedictorian from Florida A&M University where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology. He then attended Howard University Medical School, where he earned his medical degree with Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) honors. He served in the U.S. Army for two years and completed his surgical residency at Ohio State University and a surgical internship at Philadelphia General Hospital.

In 1959 Dr. Rawls began his practice as a surgeon in Indianapolis, and after a distinguished 34-year career, he was appointed assistant dean of student affairs and clinical professor of surgery at IU School of Medicine. Dr. Rawls helped launch the Master of Science in Medical Science (MSMS) program in 1995 to support students from under-represented populations in medicine. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the MSMS pipeline program has graduated 469 students, with over 300 matriculating into medical school.

In 2001, Indiana University awarded Dr. Rawls an Honorary Doctor of Science degree to recognize his enduring efforts to increase representation of minorities in medical professions. A devoted student of history, Dr. Rawls’ most important contribution was the History of the Black Physician in Indianapolis, 1870 to 2000. 

The Indiana Medical History Museum has established this annual lecture series to honor his memory and recognize his accomplishments.

Inaugural Lecture (virtual)

September 23, 2021 at 7pm

PROFILE IN COURAGE, Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, MD

The First Black Female Physician in the US (1864)


presented by Melody T. McCloud, MD, Founder and Medical Director of Atlanta Women's Health Care and affiliated with Emory University Hospital Midtown

with opening remarks by Jerome Adams, MD, former student of Dr. Rawls (MD IU School of Medicine, 2002) and former US Surgeon General

Registration Required

Save Your Spot

Melody T. McCloud, MD

Jerome Adams, MD

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