After seeing the devastating results of violence in her emergency room work in San Francisco, Dr. Ellen H. Taliaferro is on a mission to rid society of violence.
Those experiences in her work lit a spark for her and a colleague to found the Physicians for a Violence-Free Society.
Taliaferro, a 1961 graduate of the Oklahoma College for Women, was named to the Science & Arts Alumni Hall of Fame in 2002.
Taliaferro announced at the age of three that she wanted to be a doctor, a seemingly unlikely goal to her parents in rural Oklahoma – a father who never finished high school and her high school graduate mother. Her parents insisted that she train as a beautician so she would have a skill to fall back on. The only time she used her training was to cut college friends' hair.
She would earn an M.D. in 1966 from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine in Oklahoma City, and complete a rotating internship at Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center in Santa Monica, Calif.
In 1968, she participated in the U.S. Air Force Primary Course in Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio. From 1969-71, she did surgical residency at California Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles. The residency-training program was designed to serve as a Fellowship in Emergency Medicine. From 1990-92 she was a Pew Fellow in Health Policy for the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California-San Francisco.
Shortly after moving to Dallas in 1994 to join the emergency medicine faculty, she formed the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center, a facility to provide physical and psychological help for clients.