Dr. Sandra McGruder-Jackson practiced medicine in Philadelphia for more than 20 years.
McGruder-Jackson died on Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013. She was 66.
She was born March 11, 1947 to Ellis McGruder, Sr. and Jesse Atkinson in Pittsburgh. The eldest of four children, she and her siblings attended the public schools of Pittsburgh. After graduating from Westinghouse High School, McGruder-Jackson matriculated at Lincoln University in Oxford. She graduated from Lincoln magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biology.
“My daughter was an excellent student. She always knew that she wanted to make something of herself. We were so proud of her accomplishments even as a young woman,” her mother said.
Due to her achievements, McGruder-Jackson was listed in Outstanding Women in America and Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities. She became the first female graduate to receive the Lincoln University Outstanding Alumna Award.
“I believe one of my daughter’s proudest moments was when she was invited to serve as an adjunct professor of biology at her alma mater, Lincoln University,” her mother said.
With her eyes set on a medical career, McGruder-Jackson entered the Jefferson University School of Medicine. While at Jefferson, she met her future husband. She married Alvin Jackson in 1978.
McGruder-Jackson completed studies at Medical College of Pennsylvania and residency training in internal medicine at Albert Einstein Medical Center.
Through her private practice, Wholistic Health Care, she promoted traditional and nontraditional therapies, including alternative and complimentary approaches.
“My wife was phenomenal, in that she always had purpose for her actions. She stood on Christian and community service values that made her special in many ways. Our daughters would say that my wife was the ‘mother of mothers’ in that she set the right example for them. She created an excellent balance between profession and personal. She could have pursued her medical career more aggressively, but chose instead to design a family-friendly career path,” her husband said.
In addition to her own practice, McGruder-Jackson provided administrative leadership at several facilities. She served as medical director at a community health center and the Health Care for the Homeless Project. She was the clinical coordinator for an ambulatory outpatient clinic and most recently served as project physician for residential and outpatient substance abuse programs.
In addition to advocating for consumers, McGruder-Jackson was an avid promoter of her profession. To that end, she was a board member and former president of the Medical Society of Eastern Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia arm of the National Medical Association.
She served as president of the state organization, Keystone State Medical Society and chair of Region II. In addition to Pennsylvania, the states under her jurisdiction included Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and District of Columbia.
Starting in 1991, McGruder-Jackson chaired the society’s Medical Student Awards and Reception program. As the community action chairperson, she hosted the society’s monthly radio program, “Physicians on Air,” on WURD 900 AM.
Her commitment to education and service was recognized with awards from many community and civic organizations. She was a mentor for high school, college and medical students. McGruder-Jackson was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
In addition to her husband and mother, she is survived by her children, Janine Allsup, Isis Lewis, Sesha Woodard and Amon Jackson; grandchildren, Ebony, Erica, Devon and Tatiana Jackson, Jevon and Jaiden Lewis, Saniya and Shea Woodard and Steven Lee Woodard, Jr.; brother, Girard McGruder; sister, Ellen Hayes; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held on Aug. 9 at 10:30 a.m. at Gates at Heaven Pentecostal Church, 1755 N. 57th St. There is no viewing. Burial will be in Northwood Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family wishes to honor McGruders’ request that donations are made to The Lincoln Scholars Fund, Lincoln University, P.O. 179, Lincoln University, PA 19352.
Walter E. Sabbath Funeral Service handled the arrangements.