A series of revelations prompted Frank L. Douglas, MD, PhD, to embrace a life of service to others. In his book, Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream, the scientist examines key events that helped to guide him into advocacy.

Douglas says his mother was a huge influence in his life. She impressed on him the need to give back when one is gifted and that doing the right thing is its own reward.

In the 1960s, Douglas left his native Guyana to attend college in the United States on a Fulbright scholarship. He faced discrimination but persevered and became a pharmaceutical researcher who helped develop more than 20 drugs to treat diseases such as tuberculosis, arthritis, diabetes, seizures, cancer and pulmonary embolism.

He always chose to do what he felt was right for him, even if that meant sacrificing prestige and money at that moment.

“I’ve always focused on the process not the outcome,” says the lauded professional.