Dr. William G. Anderson Shares Reflections on Civil Rights and Medical Practice

The Student National Medical Association and the Department of Graduate Medical Education hosted William G. Anderson, DO to share his experiences during the Civil Rights Movement and as a leader in the osteopathic medical profession.
Dr. Anderson has been practicing medicine for fifty-two years.  He is a professor of surgery and Senior Advisor to the Dean of Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.  Dr. Anderson and his late wife Norma worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph D. Abernathy during the Civil Rights Movement, and he is an active leader in the osteopathic medical profession.  Dr. Anderson addressed the medical students at Campbell and shared with them how friendships and the osteopathic perspective shaped his life.
“I am breaking the system because of A.T. Still and the osteopathic medical perspective,” Dr. Anderson shared.  “The secret is a healthy lifestyle.  That is what A.T. Still advocated.”
Dr. Anderson is a World War II Navy veteran.  He shared with the students how he volunteered to join the navy’s Hospital Corpsmen and then returned to college after the war.  He completed medical school at Des Moines Still College of Osteopathy in Iowa and went on to complete his medical education as the house physician at Art Centre Hospital in Detroit, Michigan and becoming the first black surgical resident in Detroit’s history.
During the years of his medical education, mutual friendships lead him to Dr. King and Mr. Abernathy.  Those friendships fostered leadership and support during the Civil Rights Movement.
“Make friends whenever and wherever you can,” advised Dr. Anderson.
Dr. Anderson has served as a leader in the osteopathic medical profession in many roles including serving as an advisor to the Michigan Health Care Education and Research Foundation, and in 1994 he became the first African American to serve as president of the AOA.
Dr. Anderson left the Campbell medical students with these words of wisdom:  “Medical education is not a destination, but a continual learning process…you can always become better…I am still learning”