Roland T. Smoot, 78; 1st Black on Faculty at Noted Medical School

From Staff and Wire Reports

Dr. Roland T. Smoot, 78, the first black faculty member at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, died Wednesday on his way to Johns Hopkins to be tested for a defibrillator to regulate his heartbeat.

Smoot became the first black chief of medicine at Provident Hospital in Baltimore in 1963 and the first black physician given admitting privileges at Johns Hopkins three years later. He became a part-time instructor in the School of Medicine and was named an assistant professor of medicine in 1974.

As assistant dean of student affairs from 1978 to 2004, Smoot was instrumental in ensuring that Hopkins “evolved and embraced diversity at all levels,” said Levi Watkins, associate dean for postdoctoral affairs.

Smoot also was the first black president of Med Chi, the 6,000-member Maryland medical society.


The only child of a postal employee and a domestic worker, Smoot was born in Washington, D.C., in 1927. He attended Howard University before serving in the Army during World War II and obtained his medical degree in 1952.