Charlotte Medical Community

Jonnie McLeod oral history interview 2, 2002 July 11
Dr. Jonnie McLeod, the pediatrician who pioneered the treatment of substance abuse and the teaching of sex education in Charlotte, reflects on her life and career. Growing up in a small town in Mississippi, Dr. McLeod explains how she assisted in her father's medical practice before going on to earn her M.D. and specializing in pediatrics. After moving to Charlotte in the early 1950s, she recounts how she was brought in as a consultant to teach sex education in the public schools and how that eventually led to her hosting the "Family Talk" television show on WTVI during the 1960s. She explains how few of her colleagues were willing to speak about sex education openly, so the public often viewed her sex education work with the school system as controversial. Dr. McLeod explains that her transition from pediatrics to drug addiction treatment was prompted by the lack of appropriate resources, education, and treatment options for young people and their families. Starting with only four volunteers and some extra space at the local YMCA, she explains how the McLeod Addictive Disease Center evolved as a treatment center and describes the important role families play in the rehabilitation process there. Dr. McLeod recounts her frustration with how most rehab programs for adolescents at the time had a criminal justice orientation. She describes her preferred approach focused on education and prevention, which led to the development of the Substance Abuse Prevention Services of the Carolinas. Dr. McLeod concludes with her belief that the McLeod Center was her most important contribution to Charlotte and to medicine.
J. David Stratton oral history interview, 2003 May 28
Dr. J. David Stratton, a long-practicing ophthalmologist and former president of the Mecklenburg County Medical Society (MCMS), reflects on his career and the evolution of Charlotte's medical community through the second half of the twentieth century. Dr. Stratton first came to Charlotte during World War II when he was stationed in the city as an aviation medical examiner in the U.S. Army. He shares his memories of the city during the war, Morris Field Air Base (the precursor to Charlotte Douglas International Airport), and his experience during the 'Carolina Maneuvers' in 1941. Serving in both the North African and European theaters of the war, Dr. Stratton was eventually attached to the U.S. Army 38th Evacuation Hospital and he describes what it was like reuniting with his fellow doctors from the Charlotte region. After the war, Dr. Stratton completed additional training to become an ophthalmologist in Chicago, before moving back to Charlotte with his wife Hila to set up a medical practice. He discusses the various hospitals he was affiliated with, including Good Samaritan Hospital, and Presbyterian Hospital where he would become the head of the ophthalmology department. An active member of the MCMS, Dr. Stratton explains that the society primarily served as a disciplinary board, but it also provided social and volunteer opportunities for doctors. As a Northerner, he shares his impressions of race relations in Charlotte and the difficulties faced by African American doctors, including the efforts to integrate the hospitals and the MCMS. Dr. Stratton discusses the many changes that occurred in health care and in the health system agencies and how Charlotte's hospitals worked together to provide the best care to the community. He concludes with his belief that the city has a good, strong medical community and that overall, the citizens of Charlotte are always trying to help one another.