P. Preston Reynolds

Physician, Educator, Historian, Visionary

prestoneditedDr. Preston Reynolds is professor of medicine at the University of Virginia where she serves as Associate Director of the Center on Health Disparites, core faculty in the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities, and faculty in the Carter G. Woodson Institute on African American and African Studies.


She is an honors graduate of Duke University where she earned an A.B, M.A., Ph.D. in history, and an M.D. She completed her internal medicine residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital before moving to the University of Pennsylvania for fellowship training as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar. For more than 30 years as a physician-historian, Reynolds has been studying efforts to eliminate discrimination and health disparities, and to racially integrate hospitals and health professions training schools throughout the country.  For more that 20 years, she has been involved in the national movement to promote professionalism in health professions education.  In the early 1990s, she launched a national movement on medical professionalism that involved all the major stakeholder organizations.


In July 2007, Dr. Reynolds joined the U.Va. faculty n the Division of General Medicine, Geriatrics and Palliative Care.  Beyond her historical scholarship and research on professionalism in graduate medical education, she contributes to the University by teaching an undergraduate course on the history of African American health professionals, medical school electives on global health and human rights, medical student and resident seminars on ethics and professionalism, precepts residents in their continuity clinic, and provides direct clinical care.


A founder and member of the Board of Directors of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) from 1987-2002, Reynolds helped the organization develop its  human rights investigative research programs and other foundational activities that earned PHR international recognition as the leading health and human rights organiztion in the world.  PHR was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its pioneering research on the health impact of landmines, and for its role as founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.  More recently, Reynolds has been engaged as a member of the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) and the American College of Physicians (ACP) in the effort to reform health care in the US, to promote diversity and physician workforce reform, and to enhance the quality of healthcare for all Americans. She was recipient of ACP’s 2010 national advocacy award and SGIM’s 2011 David Calkins Health Policy Award for her work on health reform.


Her major books and articles focus on the history of race discrimination in healthcare and the racial integration of hospitals, reform of medical education and healthcare through a renewed commitment to medical professionalism, and the history and impact of federal programs designed to expand generalist physician and dental training in the United States. She has lectured both in the US and abroad on various topics based on her historical research and leadership roles in promoting medical professionalism and global human rights.


Dr. Reynolds has been working on a comprehensive guide to resources on the history of African Americans in the health professions, first as a senior scholar at the National Library of Medicine from 2003-2004, and then with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It is this work that she will share as she plans for national dissemination of this project in collaboration with professional organizations.