Barbara Ross was born in 1942 in Detroit, Michigan, the eldest of six siblings. She graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry and Biology in 1965. Briefly married to James Lee, they divorced in 1970 although she kept the name Ross-Lee. In 1969, after working for the National Teaching Corps, Barbara Ross-Lee received a Master of Arts Degree in Teaching Special Populations. In 1973, Barbara Ross-Lee received a Doctor of Osteopathy Degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and operated her family practice in Detroit for ten years.
Dr. Ross-Lee also served as an education consultant for the United States Department of Health and Human Services and a community representative on the Michigan State Governor’s Minority Health Advisory Committee. In 1991, she became the first osteopathic physician Fellow of the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship Program. Ross also served as Legislative Assistant on Health to New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley.
In 1993 when Dr. Ross-Lee was appointed Dean of the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, she became the first African American woman to administer a medical school in the United States. Ross-Lee guided the College’s curriculum changes from a faculty lecture-based model to a student-based problem solving model. She urged students to make a difference in the medical profession by tapping into their own unique cultural and personal experiences and thus help reduce/eliminate health disparities.
In 2001 Ross-Lee left Ohio University and became Dean of the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine; and Vice President of Health Sciences and Medical Affairs at the New York Institute of Technology. In addition to promoting curriculum changes, Dr. Ross-Lee is increasing visibility of the College in the county and state, as well as improving health profession disciplines issues so more interdisciplinary programming can be offered.
Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee has received an array of awards including an honorary doctorate from the New York Institute of Technology. She also serves on numerous boards/committees. She is married to Dr. Edmond Beverly and has five children and four grandchildren.