A. Cherrie Epps, former president and CEO of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, died at her home in Brentwood, Tennessee, on May 18. She was 86 years old.
A native of New Orleans, Dr. Epps was admitted to Howard University in Washington, D.C., at the age of 16, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology. After working as a laboratory technician, she joined the faculty at Xavier University in New Orleans. While in New Orleans, she earned a master’s degree in microbiology at Loyola University.
In 1961, Epps was hired as an assistant professor of microbiology in the College of Medicine at Howard University. There she earned a Ph.D. in zoology.
Dr. Epps returned to New Orleans as an associate professor of medicine and director of medicine at the Tulane University Medical Center. In 1997, Dr. Epps was named dean of the School of Medicine at Meharry Medical College, making her not only Meharry’s first female dean of the medical school, but also the only African-American woman with a Ph.D. to become dean of a U.S. medical school. Dr. Epps served as dean until 2002. In 2013 Dr. Epps was named Meharry’s eleventh president and chief executive officer.
Dr. Epps was the co-author of the 2009 book An Act of Grace: The Right Side of History that related the history of Meharry Medical College.