Dr. Ruth Westheimer may be small, but her reputation is big. One Chicago DJ/Doctor is trying to measure up.
A diminutive German lady she is not, but Chicago’s very own Dr. Ruth has been making a splash on the airwaves much the same way Ruth Westheimer did in the 1960s.
But, while Dr. Ruth built her name on frank sex talk for the women’s lib generation, Rachel Ross is gaining fame for her enlightening of the hip-hop generation.
"Black households have been traditionally very conservative in talking about sex, with disastrous effects," Ross, a striking young woman who wears hoop earrings and dyes her hair blonde told the Chicago Tribune. "I want to capture people where they're at, and then work to change their thoughts and behaviors. It's a balance of sex advice and a safe-sex message."
Ross, a doctor from the Hyde Park neighborhood, dishes out her sometimes-salacious sex advice to listeners who call in to her radio show on Power 92, though she’s been talking sex for a few years on TV and radio including BET and B96 before moving to Power 92.
Ross shies away from few topics. A recent caller was concerned about his difficulty in getting, ahem, aroused. Ross told him to try erotic books and self stimulation.
“You can train your body,” she said.
A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Ross got a medical background and her start in dispensing sexual health advice in her hometown of Gary, Indiana where her family owns a clinic. She also served as medical director of a men’s’ prison in Westville, Indiana after receiving a degree in medicine from the historically black Meharry Medical College in Nashville.
But her switch to broadcast has allowed the 30-something doctor to reach an even bigger audience.
"I think she can become the next Dr. Ruth." Denese Shervington, a clinical psychiatrist who serves as director of the Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies told the Trib. “She always brings a real perspective on what's happening in the community,"
And while the community at large is raving about Ross’ stark sexual advice, her family is slightly more measured in their response.
"We were all a little taken aback," said her sister, Rebekkah, who also works as a physician in the family's medical clinic in Gary.
"But we all became very supportive of her when we realized that she was working to combat STDs in our community and help people be fulfilled and happy in many different aspects of their lives."
You can catch Ross in the mornings on Power 92, based out of Hammond, Indiana.