Dr. Randall C. Morgan Jr. was Sarasota’s first Black orthopedic surgeon when he moved here in 2005. But his career had already been made up of a lifetime of firsts: the first Black student in his graduating class at Grinnell College; the first Black chief resident at Northwestern University; and a founder and CEO of The Cobb Institute, a national health disparities think tank.
Morgan, 77, still practices medicine part-time, but his commitment to fight for medical equality and crossing boundaries is full-time. “It has always been a way of life for me to be involved,” he says. “I seek balance, fairness and understanding.”
At this moment, Morgan, also a researcher, is seeking fairness in medical access to treatments and vaccines for Covid-19, especially among Black and Hispanic communities. On a national level, he is in discussions with the pharmaceutical industry about the safety of vaccines and the need to enroll people of color in clinical trials. He’s participating in plans about how the vaccine will be distributed equitably. Locally, he works with Sarasota-Manatee’s Gulf Coast Medical Society, a branch of the National Medical Association, the oldest organization of African-American physicians and patients (he was once president of this, too), to involve local Black physicians to participate in community and educational health care efforts.
In any spare slivers of time, he mentors Booker High School students through Gamma Xi Boule, which has established a shadowing program at Doctor’s Hospital. He’s also been on the board of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe for 10 years, where he was involved in the successful $8.7 million fund-raising campaign and campus renovation.
For fun? Morgan is a musician with an R & B band he founded called The Soul Sensations, which performs at local fund raisers. “It’s another way to bring people together,” he says.