Ross, Griff Terry (1920–1985)

By: Stanley J. Reiser and Ailene Ross

Type: Biography

Published: October 1, 1995

Updated: November 8, 2017

Griff Terry Ross, doctor and scientist, was born at Mount Enterprise, Rusk County, Texas, on July 17, 1920, the son of Griff and Hazel (Duke) Ross. His father was the town's doctor and a third-generation physician; his mother was a lover of poetry and literature, who at age sixty went back to college. At nineteen Ross was a teaching assistant in the Department of Zoology and Physiology at the University of Texas in Austin. Following his graduation from Stephen F. Austin Teachers College, he enrolled in the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, where he graduated in 1945. The illness of his father soon pulled him back to Mount Enterprise as the town physician. He remained there for eight years, during which he yearned to do scientific investigation. He left to take a residency at the Mayo Clinic and obtained a Ph.D. in endocrinology. This soon led to a post at the National Institutes of Health, where he stayed for twenty-one years and rose to the rank of deputy director of its clinical center. Ross became a leading scientist in measuring hormones through bioassays and radioimmunoassays. A number of his 250 papers have been designated as citation classics by the Science Citation Index. In 1981 he returned to Texas, to the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, where he served as associate dean for clinical affairs, professor of medicine, and director of the Division of Reproductive Sciences. There in 1984 a chair of humanities and technology in health care was established in his name. In Ross's vision, the humane and technical sides of medicine were wedded. In an address to graduating medical students he urged them "to excel in both medical science and compassion," promising them a "rich return in self-realization" as a result. Ross was married to a nurse, Ailene, called Pinky. They had a daughter and a son. Ross died in Houston on July 1, 1985.

Houston Post, July 4, 1985.

  • Health and Medicine
  • Science
  • Scientists and Researchers
Time Periods:
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Stanley J. Reiser and Ailene Ross, “Ross, Griff Terry,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 1, 1995
November 8, 2017

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