Catherine A. Wiley, Director of Marketing and Communications of Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center on the enduring historic Kansas City institution, founded by African Americans.
Dr. Samuel U. Rodgers paved the way by creating equitable access to healthcare for the poor in Kansas City, Missouri.
RideKC and the Prospect MAX Advisory Committee are honoring Dr. Rodgers as part of the new Prospect MAX line’s Paving the Way Honor Plaque program. Dr. Samuel Rodgers’ Paving the Way Honor Plaque and video biography are at the westbound 12th and Prospect station on Prospect MAX.
Dr. Samuel U. Rodgers believed that health care was a basic human right. His vision to ensure quality, accessible care regardless of ability to pay led to him founding the health center fifty years ago. In 1968, Dr. Rodgers opened the first federally-recognized community health center in Missouri—only the fourth center of its kind in the United States at the time.
Dr. Rodgers’ father was a physician in Anniston, Ala., where he was born in 1917. He graduated from Howard University College of Medicine in 1942 and started an internship, but then went to serve in the Army Medical Corps. When his service was up, he finally completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology. He eventually moved to Kansas City for better opportunities to practice medicine.
Dr. Rodgers was the first African-American board-certified OB/GYN in the Kansas City area, and he helped start Kansas City’s first all-black group medical practice. In 1967, he became executive director of the Wayne Miner Health Center, later renamed the Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center in his honor in 1988. He believed families deserved access to everything they need to be healthy, so he spent much of his time lobbying Washington, D.C. for the people of Kansas City. Again, through his efforts, the health center became the first federally-recognized community health center in Missouri, and the fourth in the entire United States.
Dr. Rodgers became the Executive Director emeritus of the Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center in 1996 and passed away in 1999.
Host/producer: Donna Morrow Wolfe
Co-Host: Karen E. Griffin
Engineer: J Zed