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Groundbreaking physician-scientist and equity champion Valerie Montgomery Rice to speak at Commencement, receive honorary degree
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Physician-scientist Valerie Montgomery Rice will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree during Commencement.

Emory’s undergraduate Class of 2024 will hear inspiring words from physician-scientist Valerie Montgomery Rice during the university’s 179th Commencement on Monday, May 13.

President and CEO of the Morehouse School of Medicine, Montgomery Rice is a renowned infertility specialist and researcher as well as the first woman to lead the freestanding medical institution.

She has been a dedicated advocate for equity in health care access and outcomes throughout her career, including diversifying the physician and scientific research workforce. Her work in these areas will be recognized during Commencement, when she will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

Since taking the helm, Montgomery Rice has nearly doubled the number of MD candidates and enhanced the research labs. In 2022, the school joined the newly launched Accelerate Precision Health partnership to advance precision medicine for everyone, particularly people of color.

Her previous roles include founding director of 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.

The Georgia native earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and her medical degree from Harvard Medical School. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Emory University School of Medicine. Following her residency at Emory, she completed a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Hutzel Hospital in Detroit.

Her clinical and research interests are in reproductive medicine, ovarian cancer and menopause. She serves as chair of the American Medical Association’s Ob/Gyn Section.

President Joe Biden appointed Montgomery Rice to the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science in 2022. A year earlier, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp asked her to serve on the Georgia Commission on Women, where she utilizes her expertise and knowledge to improve the lives of women and their families. 

She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the Association of American Medical Colleges Council of Deans, and the Horatio Alger Association. Her numerous honors include the 2023 Scroll of Merit Award from the National Medical Association, the association’s highest honor; the 2017 Horatio Alger Award; the National Medical Association Ob/Gyn 2019 Legend of the Section Award; and multiple appearances in Georgia Trend Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Georgians, among others. 

Her affiliations include participation on a variety of nonprofit and corporate boards, including the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Capital Financing Advisory Board and boards of directors for UnitedHealth Group, Wellpath, 23&Me, Nemours, Chartis Health Equity Advisory Board, Georgia Research Alliance, CARE USA, Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and the Moffitt Cancer Center’s Institute. Additionally, she serves as a special adviser to the chair, CEO and board of directors of GeoVax Labs.

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