Michael O. Royster, MD, MPH is the Director of the Virginia Department of Health, Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE). OMHHE’s mission is to identify health inequities and their root causes and promote equitable opportunities to be healthy. OMHHE serves as Virginia’s state office of minority health, rural health, and primary care. The Office focuses on advancing health equity by designating medically underserved areas, improving access to quality health care, addressing barriers to rural health, focusing on community-based participatory efforts to promote health equity, and facilitating strategies to target the social determinants of health and advance social justice.
Prior to this position, Dr. Royster was the Director of the Crater Health District headquartered in Petersburg, Virginia. The Health District serves 5 rural counties and 3 small cities with a combined population of 150,000. In that capacity, he led the health department in its efforts to assure the health of the citizens within the district. Much of his work focused on developing and sustaining diverse community partnerships in order to maintain and improve the health of the community and eliminate health inequities. Among other initiatives, he implemented outcome-based program evaluations for all health department programs and led the expansion of efforts to promote cardiovascular health, eliminate childhood lead poisoning, and reduce teen pregnancy. In addition, he worked with local university faculty to develop community-based participatory research partnerships. He was a member of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, Chronic Disease and Tobacco Workgroup.
Dr. Royster completed his undergraduate training at the University of Virginia with a degree in Biology. He obtained his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine and completed a residency in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Immediately following his residency, he worked as an environmental epidemiologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, he completed the 2 year W.K. Kellogg Community Health Scholars Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill School of Public Health. He is board certified in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine and he is a fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine.