Dr. Roland Pattillo

Dr. Roland Pattillo

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Dr. Roland Pattillo, Gynecologic Oncologist and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Morehouse School of Medicine, has passed.

Dr. Pattillo received a bachelor's degree from Xavier University of Louisiana and earned his medical degree from St. Louis University. He was a professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin before arriving at MSM, where he served for over 20 years before retiring in 2013.

During his tenure at MSM's department of obstetrics and gynecology he was instrumental in starting the residency program, served as Interim Chairman and directed the Gynecology Oncology Division. He had a stellar career at MSM as a basic and translational scientist, an excellent gynecologic surgeon and clinician, and a phenomenal mentor and teacher to many.

Dr. Pattillo was a stem cell research expert and was instrumental in creating the Annual HeLa Women's Health Conference at the Morehouse School of Medicine in honor of Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cells were harvested without her knowledge and used to create the world's first immortal human cell line. Variations of HeLa cells are used in research all over the world, resulting in more than 80,000 scientific publications, break-through research in cancer and health benefits and enormous economic returns to biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

Dr. Pattillo’s interest in and compassion for the Lacks family led him to become well acquainted with them. He purchased a headstone for Henrietta’s previously unmarked grave and emerged as a champion for and gatekeeper to access to the Lacks family.

Dr. Pattillo's family has requested that donations in his honor be made to the Morehouse School of Medicine's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology HeLa Women's Health Conference so that we may continue his legacy.

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