Monroe Majors, M.D. 1864-1960

Monroe Majors, M.D. 1864-1960

Dr. Majors was born and raised in Waco, and at 10 years old worked as a page to the Texas Legislature at the State Capitol, where he got to meet celebrities such as Henry Ward Beecher and Buffalo Bill. He went to Central Tennessee College for a degree in science, and worked as a reporter for local newspapers while there. He went on to become the first black Texan to graduate from a medical school, Meharry Medical College in Nashville in 1886, then came back to Texas to open his practice in Brenham. He and thirteen other physicians organized the Lone Star Medical, Dental and Pharmaceutical association in 1886, with their first meeting in Galveston (He served as their president in 1894 and 1895).

About this time, his name appeared on a list of influential blacks that a racist group planned to threaten. Hearing of this threat, Dr. Majors left Brenham to practice in Calvert, then moved ahead of the threats to Dallas. He taught in a small country school 1887-8. He found out later two of the people on the list had been hanged. He then moved to Los Angeles in 1889 where he was the first black physician to practice west of the Rocky Mountains. With his many moves staying ahead of threats, several different sources have different timelines of his life.

Somewhere in 1891-1893 he returned to Waco, taught at Paul Quinn College, became the editor of the Texas Searchlight (a publication that addressed black issues), and built a Hospital for Negroes in Waco, serving as its superintendent in 1899 and 1900. He also published “Noted Negro Women,” a book profiling prominent black women of the period, in 1893. Noting his success, he was recruited to Chicago in 1901 by Booker T. Washington to serve as the editor of the “Chicago-Conservator” and eventually helped organize a black physician society in Cook County. In 1925, he awoke to find himself totally blind, and a few years later, moved to California where he lived until his death in 1960.

This story was found in “African American Heritage in Waco, Texas” by Dr. Garry Radford, Sr. with additional information from the Handbook of Texas Online and the Texas State Historical Association.

Roland Goertz, M.D.

When it comes to influential physicians in Waco, no one in our history has had the local, state and national influence that Roland Goertz has had since he arrived in Waco in 1997 through the present. His crowning accomplishment for Waco, though shared by countless others over the past nearly 50 years, has been the expansion and leadership of the Family Health Center. Waco’s Family Health Center now has 16 clinics, with 76 physicians serving 58,000 patients (270,000 visits in 2015), serving the Medicaid, Medicare, uninsured and other patients in the Waco area. They do cutting edge care in hospital and clinics with acute and chronic disease management, state of the art medical records and research, run of the top residency programs in the country, and have high quality outcomes.

Roland grew up near Bastrop, attended medical school at UT San Antonio, and did his family medicine residency at John Peter Smith in Fort Worth. He did private practice for a while before completing the faculty development fellowship in Waco in 1986. He also has an MBA from Baylor. He went on to become program director of the Corpus Christi family medicine residency, then chairman of the Family Medicine Dept. at UT Houston, and Vice President of Medical Affairs for OneCare, a 740 physician contracting group of UT, Hermann Hospital and private doctors in the area.

I first got to meet Roland in 1994 when he was president of Texas Academy of Family Physicians, and I was a medical student leader at UTMB, and got to invite him to speak to hundreds of our students wanting to hear his vision for family medicine. A few years later, I was a second year family medicine resident when Roland came to take over the reins of leadership of FHC (then FPC) in 1997, then I got to serve as chief resident under his leadership, and have continued to learn from him ever since. He came at a time when we were transitioning from paper charts to electronic, and when finances and reality were seriously threatening the Center’s survival. He led a team that converted the organization to a federally qualified health center, which was a primary factor that led to the remarkable organization it is today.

“Working for and with Roland was one of the greatest personal and professional privileges of my life,” says Allen Patterson, former FHC CFO/COO for many years.  “Indeed I simply do not know how an accountant-type like me could have a more blessed career than I have had.  That is in large part because of the eighteen years I got to work with Roland.  Certainly FHC itself would probably not have survived, let alone thrived, had it not been for his tireless and selfless dedication to the Waco community, medicine in general and Family Medicine in particular.”

Apart from his leadership at FHC, Roland has been Board Chair of Waco Chamber of Commerce, President of the Waco Business League, President of the McLennan County Medical Society, and won their Gold-Headed Cane Award in 2010.  He also has had many leadership position in the state in TAFP, TMA and in graduate education, and nationally, served as AAFP President (representing about 100,000 family physicians nationally) 2010-11.  He was given the TAFP Presidential Award of Merit in 1989, the AAFP Robert Graham Physician Executive Award in 2006, and many more positions and awards at the local, state and national levels than can be named here.

Roland and his wife Rose have two of their daughters living here and the other in Ft. Worth and they have five grandkids. They enjoy getting away to the hill country when they can, and he enjoys gardening, cooking, and game bird hunting.

How do you feel things are in Waco medicine today? 

Waco’s medical community has always been a “notch” above other similar cities. I noticed that when I was here in 1985-86 and it still is. Things have changed of course in the process of things but quality is still very high.

What do you hope to see happen in the future?  

Medical care not be a “political” football and to have people actually sit down nationally, like we do locally, to work out problems. This is not happening at all at the national level.

If there is one message you’d give to today’s physician, what would it be?  

Much has changed and much will change in American Medicine. What should not change is your attitude of caring and helpfulness you should provide all your patients


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