Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Morris Turner Oct. 2, 1948 - June 30, 2014 Ob-Gyn Devoted to Bringing Health Care to Women in Underserved Communities

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Morris Turner Oct. 2, 1948 - June 30, 2014 Ob-Gyn Devoted to Bringing Health Care to Women in Underserved Communities

Article excerpt

On January 4, 1994, Morris Turner woke up to one of the biggest blizzards of his lifetime. Three feet of snow were packed around the wheels of his car, Pittsburgh schools were shut and residents had been warned to stay off the roads, but he needed to deliver a baby, so he walked from his home in Point Breeze to the Magee- Womens Hospital in Oakland. It took him over an hour.

The commitment and tenacity of the beloved Pittsburgh obstetrician-gynecologist will be missed. He collapsed of a cardiac arrest while playing tennis Monday, and paramedics were unable to revive him. He was 65.

Dr. Turner was the medical director for the Magee-Womens outreach sites at Wilkinsburg and Monroeville; the medical director for Adagio Health; and the chief of service for obstetrics and gynecology at McKeesport Hospital. He had previously been the leader of many other medical initiatives in the Pittsburgh area. But even more impressive than all of these titles was his devotion to bringing health to women in underserved communities.

"He spent his entire career trying to do away with health care disparities," said Allen Hogge, chair of the OB-GYN department at UPMC.

Dr. Turner was born October 2, 1948, in Barley, Ga., to a poor family of sharecroppers. When he wasn't in the three-room shack that served as the Barley Colored Elementary School, he was in the fields, earning 50 cents a day cropping tobacco and picking cotton. Still, his family could not afford the 10-cent lunches at school. Once, his teacher withdrew him from a spelling bee because his mother had visibly wired the sole back onto his shoe.

At 16, he went off to study biology and chemistry at Morehouse College, in Atlanta, on a full scholarship. While a student, he participated in sit-ins and marches with civil rights luminaries like Martin Luther King Jr. In 1968, he married Verena Turner. …

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