Silas Lecture/Seminar Series - Valerie Montgomery Rice

Wed Sep 19 3:00 pm

Unless otherwise noted, all Seminar Series events are held at 3 p.m. in the MoSE "M" Building (Room G011). Refreshments are served outside of the room starting at 2:30 p.m.

Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD, FACOG, President and Dean, Morehouse School of Medicine‚Äč

“The Moral & Ethical Imperatives to Achieve Health Equity”


Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD, FACOG, has served at the highest levels of patient care and medical research, as well as organizational management and public health policy. Marrying her management skills and strategic thinking to tackle challenging problems, she has a track record of redesigning complex organization’s management infrastructures to reflect the needs of evolving strategic environments and position the organization for success.

Named the sixth president of Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) and the first woman to lead the free-standing medical institution in 2014, Montgomery Rice serves as both the president and dean. A renowned infertility specialist and researcher, she previously served as dean and executive vice president for three years.

Dedicated to the creation and advancement of health equity, she holds membership in many organizations and boards, including the National Academy of Medicine, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Board of Directors for Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, Board of Directors for The Nemours Foundation, Board of Directors for UnitedHealth Group, Ni-Q Medical Advisory Team, and the Association of American Medical Colleges Council of Deans.

Montgomery Rice has received numerous accolades and honors. She was named to the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans and received the 2017 Horatio Alger Award. For two consecutive years (2016, 2017) Georgia Trend selected Montgomery Rice as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians. Other honors include the following: Trumpet Vanguard Award (2015), The Dorothy Heights Crystal Stair Award (2014), National Coalition of 100 Black Women – Women of Impact (2014), YWCA – Women of Achievement (Atlanta-2014 and Nashville-2007), American Medical Women’s Association Elizabeth Blackwell Medal (2011) and Working Mother Media Multicultural Women’s Legacy Award (2011).

A Georgia native, Montgomery Rice holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a medical degree from Harvard Medical School and an honorary degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Emory University School of Medicine and her fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Hutzel Hospital.


As partisan politics becomes more and more entrenched in our society and continue to creep into the policy decisions that impact the everyday lives of individuals, the fight for health equity is becoming an increasingly moral one. This lecture evaluates the three main arguments for advancing health equity for all: the national security argument, the economic argument, and the moral argument. It will underscore the notion that while all three should have a place in societal discourse, it is the moral argument that should strike the most compelling chord. Key to this analysis is recognition of the alarming statistics that highlight the health disparities that many minority groups face in spite of the numerous resources that we have to offer as a country. This lecture concludes with a call to action, to champion the advancement of health equity, that should be heeded by all leaders and concerned citizens, as there are not only the moral and ethical imperatives compelling such, but also because it is inherently the American thing to do.

About the Silas Program:

Ethics, leadership and quality, grounded in strong communication skills and professionalism, are essential components of an engineering education. To spotlight the importance of these core values, in 1995 the Phillips Petroleum Foundation awarded a grant to the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering to develop the Phillips 66/C.J. “Pete” Silas Program in Ethics and Leadership.
Named in recognition of the outstanding professional achievements of Georgia Tech chemical engineering alumnus C.J. “Pete” Silas, who retired from Phillips Petroleum as chairman and CEO in 1994, the program focuses on technical and business decisions that have ethical ramifications. These topics and related areas in engineering, technology and ethics are integrated into the core chemical and biomolecular engineering curriculum and are addressed in an annual public symposium featuring prominent industrialists and ethicists.