Women at the Medical University of South Carolina

Rosslee Tenetha Green Douglas, R.N.

Rosslee Tenetha Green Douglas, R.N.
Rosslee Tenetha Green Douglas, R.N.
 
Waring Historical Library, MUSC, Charleston
Rosslee Tenetha Green Douglas, R.N., shaking hands with Dr. William M. McCord, MUSC President, at her graduation from the College of Nursing, 1972.
Rosslee Tenetha Green Douglas, R.N., shaking hands with Dr. William M. McCord, MUSC President, at her graduation from the College of Nursing, 1972.
 
Waring Historical Library, MUSC, Charleston

First female African American graduate, College of Nursing 1972

Rosslee Tenetha Green Douglas was born in Florence County, SC in 1928. She was educated in Charleston at the Buist School and graduated from the Avery Institute in 1947. In 1952 Douglas was awarded an R.N. from the Lincoln School for Nurses, the Bronx, New York. After graduation Douglas worked as a nurse at the New York City Department of Hospitals, and as a Visiting Nurse and Supervisor of Nursing at Brookdale and Bedford Hospitals in Brooklyn, New York.

Douglas returned to South Carolina in 1969 and graduated with honors from the College of Nursing, Medical University of South Carolina in 1972, becoming the first African American graduate to do so. She served as an administrator for the Franklin Fetter Family Health Center, where she established the regulations to license home health care agencies in South Carolina. Douglas resigned from the Center in 1978 to serve on the South Carolina Industrial Commission, also becoming the first African American female to serve in that capacity.

Douglas was sworn in on May 29, 1981 as Director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact, U.S. Department of Energy. She became the Reagan Administration’s first African American female appointee, responsible for implementation of Executive Order 12320 signed on September 15, 1981, titled “Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).” The order required federal agencies to significantly increase HBCU participation in federally sponsored programs. As director, she helped establish a minority bank development program and provided financial aid to black colleges and universities. In 1984, Reagan appointed her to serve on the Martin Luther King Federal Holiday commission, established to plan the January 1986 celebration. In 1985 she was appointed by the Secretary of Energy to serve on the Health and Human Services Family Violence Committee. She returned to Charleston in 1986 and served as a volunteer nurse at a clinic for the homeless and then as an administrator for the Women’s Information Children’s Program established by the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

In recognition of her lifetime of achievement, Douglas was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters from MUSC in 1985. Dr. Douglas died at her home in Walterboro, SC, on November, 27, 2011. She was 83.