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At the Table and Dismissed

Dr. Will Ross

In the late 1970s, Dr. Will Ross was told to stay away when applying for medical school in St. Louis. He was told the city was too racist and that he’d be better off on the east coast. But Dr. Ross decided to dig in, and he’s spent a career trying to alleviate massive racial disparities in health outcomes.

He’s convinced that the only way to clear a path toward meaningful policy changes is by unifying fractured governmental structures in St. Louis City and County. And a couple of years ago, that belief landed him at a crossroads. He would join powerful people who wanted to create a new way to govern a divided region. But things didn’t exactly go as planned.

We tell the story of how Dr. Ross’ recommendations and his criticisms were received because it says a lot about how race and power continue to work in one of the nation’s most segregated cities.

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Ashley Winters
Jia Lian Yang holds both a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary. She is the co-founder of the St. Louis-based Who Raised You? podcast, which explores culture and family with a focus on stories from people of color. The show won the Arts & Education Council of St. Louis’ 2018 stARTup competition. And this year, St. Louis Magazine’s editors named it the best local podcast.
Lauren Brown is a 2019 graduate of The University of Missouri where she studied Journalism and Social Justice. At Mizzou, Lauren was a host and producer at KBIA 91.3fm an NPR affiliate, and an outreach team member for the Columbia Missourian. Lauren was the host and producer of an APM Reports documentary, Black At Mizzou: Confronting race on campus which aired on August 14, 2020.

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