This Day in History – December 11, 1930

Dr. Roselyn Payne Epps is born in Little Rock, Arkansas


On this day in 1930, Dr. Roselyn Payne Epps was born in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Epps attended Palmer Memorial High School in Sedalia, North Carolina. After graduating, she went on to continue her education at Howard University in Washington, D.C. In 1951, she graduated with a B.S. Four years later, she graduated with an M.S.

After earning her M.S., Epps worked as an intern with the United States Public Health Service at Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington, which would later be renamed Howard University Hospital.

In 1957, she began a residency in pediatrics at the hospital. She was named its chief resident two years later. She would later became a medical a medical officer with the District of Columbia Department of Health. In 1973, she earned an M.Ph. from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. By 1980, Epps was appointed the first acting commissioner of health of the District of Columbia.


Two years later, she received an M.A. from American University in Washington, D.C., later becoming the chief of the Child Development Division and director of the Child Development Center at Howard. While here, founded the High Risk Young People’s Project, bringing together several university health science departments. Additionally, she oversaw a program that helped disabled children and their parents.

Epps transferred to the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland in 1988. After semi-retiring, she served as a consultant for the public and private sector. She has written over 90 medical articles for various publications and was the first black woman to be appointed president of the District of Columbia chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Epps has earned several awards and honors throughout the career. February 14, 1981 has been named Dr. Roselyn Payne Epps Day by the Council of the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C.

Epps died on September 30, 2014 at the age of 83.


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