Roselyn Payne Epps, MD, MPH

Roselyn Payne Epps, MD, MPH, MA

Medical School:  Howard University College of Medicine

Specialty:  Pediatrics

Career Highlights:

  • Acting Commissioner of Heath for the District of Columbia 1980
  • Professor Emerita of Pediatrics and Child Health, Howard University
  • NIH Expert, National Cancer Institute, Smoking, Tobacco and Cancer Program

Service with AMWA:   AMWA President, (the first African American national president); President Branch 1 (the first African American Branch 1 president); Co-editor of AMWA's book, The Women's Complete Healthbook; Councilor of Research, Education, and Training

Quote:  Physicians should look at opportunities both within and outside of medicine to contribute to the health of individuals and communities through their volunteer work as well as through private practice.


Dr. Roselyn Payne Epps was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and grew up on the campus of Savannah State College in Georgia. She majored in zoology and chemistry at Howard University, graduating cum laude in 1951, and continued her medical education there, graduating with honors in 1955.

After her residency, Dr. Epps spent ten years (1961-1971) at the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health at the D.C. Department of Public Health, where she was medical officer in child health clinics, director of the comprehensive Clinic for Retarded Children, chief of the Infant and Preschool Division, director of the Children and Youth Project, chief of the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, director of Maternal and Child Health and Crippled Children’s Services, and chief of the Bureau of Clinical Services. From 1971-1975, she was chief of the Bureau of Hospitals at the D.C. Department of Human Resources, then chief of the Bureau of Clinical Services and in 1980 became acting commissioner of public health.

In 1973, Dr. Epps earned her MPH from Johns Hopkins University. From 1995 -1998, she was a scientific program administrator at the National Cancer Institute of the NIH, where she implemented strategies to distribute smoking prevention and cessation information to health professionals. She was also program officer for several research initiatives on cancer screening and diagnosis.

Dr. Epps was a professor emerita of Pediatrics and Child Health at Howard University. From 1984-1989, she was chief of its Child Development Division and director of the Child Development Center. She also was senior program advisor to the Howard University Women’s Health Institute.

Dr. Epps authored more than ninety professional articles in peer reviewed publications, including sixteen chapters and books. She co-edited The Women’s Complete Healthbook (selected by the NY Public Library as one of 1995’s most outstanding reference books) and Developing a Child Care Program, a guide for hospital and corporate decision-makers, and wrote health columns in regional and national newspapers.

Dr. Epps was married to her medical school classmate, Charles H. Epps, Jr., MD, for 59 years. Dr. Charles Epps is an orthopedic surgeon, and over the course of his career has served as dean of Howard University’s College of Medicine and special assistant for health affairs to the president of Howard University. Three of their children earned the MD degree, and one holds an MBA. Dr. Epps was a proud grandmother of four grandsons.

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