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McCullough was the first African-American woman to graduate from the IUSM

Feb. 20, 2014

Deborah L. McCullough, M.D., has blazed many trails for African-American women during her life.

She has the distinction of being the first African-American female to graduate from the IU School of Medicine.

Deborah McCullough, M.D.

Deborah L. McCullough, M.D.

McCullough also was the first African-American female to complete an OB-GYN residency at Cook County Hospital and the first to establish a private practice in obstetrics and gynecology in Northwest Indiana.

Having received many accolades during her outstanding career, Dr. McCullough said she is proudest of her role in raising her son who is a student majoring in accounting and business management at Tennessee State in Nashville.

Her proudest career accomplishment, McCullough said, is completing medical school, which has enriched her life and enabled her to do the things she loves. For that, McCullough credits a family legacy passed down to her by her parents, both of whom were educators.

“They were always saying to me ‘there is nothing out there that you can’t do,’” McCullough said. “They showed me how to step ahead, not look back and keep going. We had many experiences as far as traveling and that really opens you up because it gives you more self-confidence.”

A Roosevelt High School graduate and honor student, McCullough began her "Lunch With a Doc" series in 2000.

“I love "Lunch With a Doc" and I look forward to doing that every month, presenting information that is educational on health, on life’s resources and on government resources that people don’t know are available or just playing the little games that we do,” McCullough said.

“Making people happy that is what life is about — service and giving to others and sharing what you have experienced.”

McCullough said faith is an important motivating factor in her life.

“Without faith you have no future; you have no promise; you have no positiveness,” McCullough said.

McCullough established the Renaissance Women’s Center in Merrillville as a resource providing comprehensive information and assistance for complete health care. Lessons are provided on weight management and caring for oneself and one’s children after child birth.

Not only has she served as a guest lecturer in local schools, community organizations and the YWCA, McCullough has lectured in countries around the world promoting self-confidence and self-worth in young women.

McCullough said she is both surprised and humbled to have been nominated for the Gary Frontiers Service Club's Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major award among such inspiring people.

“They have really done quite a bit in the city with their different organizations, trying to educate and inform the people as to what is going on in their city,” McCullough said.

Performing multiple surgeries in East African bush country, McCullough has been the recipient of numerous humanitarian awards. She serves on the executive board of the Indiana Department of Health.

Editor's note: The Gary Frontiers Service Club Drum Major Award honors those who have spent more than 30 years working to improve the human spirit. Five people were nominated for the award in addition to Dr. Deborah McCullough: Bishop Dale Cudjoe, Master Alex Dunlap, Judge Calvin Hawkin, Stephen Mays and Sadie Newby-Ethridge. The recipient, Judge Hawkins, was announced at the group's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast on Jan. 20 at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary, Ind.

Reprinted with permission from the Times of Northwest Indiana.

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