By Carmen M. Woodson-Wray, Gary Crusader
During the recent Gary Common Council meeting, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson announced that it was “Doctor Day” for the Gary Legends and that they were fortunate to have individuals who have served the community from a medical perspective. They are Dr. Deborah McCullough and Dr. Michael A. McGee, MD. MPH, FACEP.
Gary Legends is an honor presented by the city of Gary and SMDG, LLC. It was formed to acknowledge individuals who are current or former residents of Gary who have significantly contributed to the community.
Dr. McCullough has served the Gary community for over 35 years. Mayor Freeman-Wilson described her as a trailblazer throughout the state of Indiana who has earned a number of firsts in her professional endeavors.
The mayor said, “Dr. McCullough was born and raised in Gary where she attended Roosevelt High School. After graduation she attended Howard University where she completed her undergraduate studies. She continued her studies at Indiana University’s School of Medicine where she was the first African American female to complete and graduate from their school of medicine. Dr. McCullough continued her stellar journey and went on to be the first African American female to complete the OB/GYN residency program at Cook County Hospital, known today as Stroger Hospital and the first African American female to practice OB/GYN in Northwest Indiana.
Over the past 35 years, Dr. McCullough has shared her passion for medicine and continues to provide quality healthcare to the women of Northwest Indiana via her own private practice “Renaissance Women’s Center.” She is a member of the North Shore Health Centers, organized as a mentoring program for girls whom she has followed throughout their adolescent, young adult and professional lives with much encouragement and financial support. For the past 10 years she has participated in a joint venture hosting “Lunch with the Doc,” where she provides residents of Northwest Indiana with simple health remedies, education on health matters and preventative health ideas.
She is the owner of Bomani Stables where she supports EEU (Exceptional Equestrian University) in providing equine assisted therapy programs for special needs children and young adults. Dr. McCullough currently sits on the board of directors for Indiana University School of Medicine and is a member of numerous organizations where she shares many of her passions, but she indicates her most rewarding and most enjoyable experience is being a mother to her son Cameron.
The second Gary Legend is Michael A. McGee, MD, MPH, FACEP who was born and raised in Gary. He graduated from Lew Wallace High School and attended Purdue University where he completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology/Psychology.
Dr. McGee achieved a Master’s in Public Health in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Illinois in Chicago, a Medical Doctorate from Rush Medical College in Chicago and completed his Internship and Residency in the Department of Emergency Medicine at New York University. Upon completion of his residency he worked as an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Emory/Grady Medical Center in Atlanta.
Dr. McGee recently helped Northwest Indiana to establish a designated Level III Trauma Center in Gary. He is an appointed member of the Governor of Indiana’s Committee on Trauma and is a member of the Indiana Department of Health Trauma Task Force.
In addition, Dr. McGee supports various youth programs focused on violence prevention within the community and created a youth health awareness and violence prevention outreach program called Project Outreach and Prevention of Teenage Violence. He also has been a supervising physician for an Outreach Effort in Jamaica for medically underserved areas, multiple Health Care Fairs in Harlem, New York and a volunteer ringside physician for the NYPD Boxing Fundraisers.
Gary Legends are nominated by individuals in the community through the online submission form on TeamGaryIndiana.com. Two Gary Legends are selected each month, one male and one female. The contributions of Legends can vary from establishing sustainable organizations, personal and professional achievements, or simply by making the city of Gary a better place through individual altruism.
The Selection Committee consists of three individuals who have been members of the Gary community for a long period of time and who have also contributed to the city of Gary. They review the nominations and select individuals they feel deserve the honor of being inducted as a Gary Legend.
Making the decision is not an easy one and many aspects of the nominee are taken into consideration. Nominations remain active throughout the current year in order for someone who has been nominated in previous months to still have the opportunity to become a Gary Legend.
Paper nomination forms can be picked up at the front desk of City Hall or can be mailed directly by calling (219) 881-1300.