Commissioner Roy A. Anduze, MD
In 1949 a medical milestone was achieved in the Virgin Islands when Dr. Roy Adelbert Anduze removed the small intestine of a patient suffering from gangrene. This surgery, the first of its kind for the Virgin Islands, was also one of only five such cases at that time in the United States. Dr. Anduze received national recognition for his surgical ability.
The formal training which served to develop his potential was initially started at the local level where he received his elementary and junior high school education. He later completed high school in Washington, D.C., at Dunbar High School, where he excelled and graduated in 1932 as a member of the National Honor Society, president of his graduating class, and valedictorian. He subsequently entered Howard University and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1935, which was followed by a medical degree from this same institution in 1939. Following graduation, he served his internship at Freedman’s Hospital, Washington, D.C., where he was assistant resident in gynecology and obstetrics.
He then accepted the position of Municipal Physician of St. Croix and was assigned to the Frederiksted Hospital. This 1940 appointment also gave him the privilege of being the first native Virgin Islander to serve on the staff in Frederiksted. His outstanding performance on St. Croix attracted the attention of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Knud Hansen who requested that Anduze is transferred to St. Thomas. The move to St. Thomas posted a challenge which exacted all of his medical resourcefulness. As director of the venereal disease control program, he waged a vigorous campaign to accomplish the goals of the program. In addition, he was instrumental in having the local legislature enact modern venereal disease control laws. His successful campaign was acknowledged by the United States Public Health Service and was publicly commended at the Surgeon-General’s Conference for Venereal Officers.
After working as Municipal Physician for St. Thomas for four years (1942-1946) he returned to Howard University for one year where he was named Fellow in Surgery by Dr. Charles Drew, the chief surgeon and chief of staff at Freedman’s Hospital. When he returned home in 1947, he was named Assistant Commissioner of Health for the Virgin Islands and also Chief Municipal Physician for the District of St. Croix. In this capacity, he introduced modern techniques and procedures in surgery.
He was especially concerned with the high incidence of filariasis on St. Croix and consequently worked with mainland specialists in the field. Through their effective use of the new drug Hetrazan, the incidence of the ailment was drastically reduced on St. Croix.
In 1952, Dr. Anduze was appointed Commissioner of Health and served until 1956, when he resigned the post. His action was prompted by his displeasure with the changes in the local government brought about by the Revised Organic Act of 1954. Like many local leaders, he felt that these changes restricted, rather than promoted, progress. This restriction was especially evident in the administration of executive departments. Dr. Anduze was engaged in private practice from the 1940’s but later accepted the position of director of surgery at the hospital. He served in this post and later that of director of the Division of Hospital and Medical Services until 1969.
As Commissioner of Health, Dr. Anduze replaced three health facilities which were without modern sterilization, limited laboratory facilities, and inadequately staffed, with two modern130 bed hospitals equipped to meet modern standards of patient care. Two new ten-million dollar hospitals were also in process. Health clinics for St. John and Frederiksted, St. Croix, were established. His contributions in surgery, public health, and healthcare in general have earned him outstanding recognition. In 1964, Howard University awarded him the Alumni Achievement Award for distinguished service in surgery and hospital administration. On December 12, 1964, he was named Fellow of the New York Academy of Science, an award limited to a few who have done outstanding work toward the advancement of science. He is listed by the American Association of Public Health Physicians as one of the first 500 charter members of this association.
In 1953, he reached one of the highest goals aspired to by surgeons, when he was elected to the rank of Fellow in the International College of Surgeons in recognition of his technical skills as a surgeon. His list of honors also includes Fellow, American College of Surgeons (1954) and Fellow, American College of Angiology (1964). In addition, he is also listed in American Men of Medicine, is a member of the New York Academy of Science, has served as chairman for the Committee on Trauma for the Virgin Islands, American College of Surgeons. In 1953, he received a citation from the Pan American Medical Association for contributions in the Virgin Islands in the area of surgery and medicine. In 1956 the Virgin Islands Legislature honored him in Resolution 48 citing his exceptional contributions in public health and surgery. He was also the recipient of a citation from the Surgeon-General of the United States Public Health Service. Presented by Dr. Parran, the citation recognized his effort for venereal disease control during World War II. In 1976, an honorary doctorate in humanities was conferred on Dr. Anduze by the Pan American Medical Association for personal contributions to medical knowledge in the western hemisphere. As a delegate from the Virgin Islands to the United Nations General Assembly, Dr. Anduze delivered a presentation entitled “Health in Non-Self-Governing Territories.” Listing several major health concerns of the Virgin Islands, he further outlined the nature of these problems, their causes, and steps taken to improve the situation. In addition, he has served as governor, and advisory vice-president, of the Pan-American Medical Association. Locally, Dr. Anduze has been recognized not only as an outstanding medical professional but also as a community leader. He was elected to the First Territorial Committee of the Virgin Islands and has served as Democratic National Committee Chairman of the Virgin Islands. For six years (1963-1969) he was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the College of the Virgin Islands, and in 1980 received a certificate of appreciation from the College of the Virgin Islands. Regionally, his contributions were recognized by Puerto Rico when in June 1963, he was named Honorary Consultant in Surgery at San Jorge Hospital in Puerto Rico.
A son of Carl Adelbert and Mildred Verona Anduze, nee Watlington, Dr. Anduze was born on St. Thomas on November 16, 1913. On May 29, 1941, he married the former Vivian Kelly of New York. They are the parents of a son, Roy A. Anduze, Jr., Esq. Dr. Anduze is also the father of a daughter by a previous marriage, Joyce Anduze La Motta.