Volunteer Spotlight

Anga Sanders on Making Change in Dallas

President’s Advisory Board member shares her talent for uniting communities with UT Southwestern

Community advocate Anga Sanders found inspiration for her path of activism in the words of cultural anthropologist, Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Born in Marshall, Texas, Ms. Sanders came to Dallas as one of the first African American undergraduate students admitted to SMU. A longtime resident of Oak Cliff, she has devoted herself to promoting health, nutrition, and better lifestyle choices for her fellow residents of southern Dallas.

Anga Sanders
Anga Sanders Provided by Anga Sanders

Today, Ms. Sanders is CEO of Global HR Solutions, a human resource consulting firm, as well as Founder and Executive Director of FEED Oak Cliff, a nonprofit working to recruit healthier grocery stores to southern Dallas, where more than one-third of the population lives more than a mile from a supermarket. She channels her record of community engagement towards her work with UT Southwestern Medical Center’s President’s Advisory Board – a group that advises President Daniel K. Podolsky, M.D., and the institution’s leadership on opportunities and challenges across its mission.

Recently, Ms. Sanders shared her gratitude for UT Southwestern’s patient care and partnership in addressing health inequities that continue to confront her community.

How has UT Southwestern impacted you and your family?

My personal experience dates to a few years ago, when, having become dissatisfied with declining service levels from my primary physician and realizing that the situation was unlikely to improve, I decided to make a change. After interviewing friends about their experiences and conducting my own research into various health care providers, I sought a physician at UT Southwestern. The experience has been more than I anticipated. Beginning with the moment I pull up for valet parking, every experience, every process runs smoothly. This attention to detail, coupled with knowledge of the institution’s faculty and staff, gives me complete confidence in the quality of my medical care.

What distinguishes this institution as a national leader in academic medicine?

The stellar reputation of UT Southwestern – statewide and nationally – has been honed through decades of diligently seeking out and recruiting the best medical practitioners and researchers around the globe. It is on the leading edge of research in many areas, and that has been particularly impactful in recent years. Leading epidemiologists worked on the deadly Ebola virus almost a decade ago, and researchers did critical work during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. What I find equally important is how the institution focuses on often-overlooked populations, including a recently announced initiative to study COVID-19-induced brain fog in the African American community.

What have you learned about UT Southwestern?

Serving on the President’s Advisory Board has given me a glimpse into how many huge initiatives have been brought to life. We typically see new buildings or learn of major research projects without giving much thought to what was required behind the scenes to take them from concept to implementation. Frankly, I had never given much thought to the political work that was required. Learning of the critical legislative interaction needed to make new developments like the upcoming mental health hospital a reality has been very instructive. There is so much more going on in the background than one realizes.

As a donor, why do you continue to give?

UT Southwestern supports efforts that are important to me. Dallas has been plagued by significant health disparities for generations, and little has been done to rectify them. That’s why I am particularly excited about the new Peter O’Donnell Jr. School of Public Health, which will do exactly that. So many underserved communities will reap benefits from the research and work done at UT Southwestern. I am excited about the possibilities, and even more excited to know that the institution recognizes the needs.

A photo of a group of 34 people standing in rows on a small staircase in an outdoor plaza.
The Peter O'Donnell Jr. School of Public Health's inaugural Dean Saad B. Omer, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., Ph.D., front row, fifth from left, poses with the the School's first class of students on Eugene McDermott Plaza at UT Southwestern Medical Center on August 21, 2023. Eddie Marak/UT Southwestern Medical Center
The main entrance to UT Southwestern Medical Center at RedBird, a white metal, two story building with large glass windows lining the ground floor.
UT Southwestern Medical Center at RedBird Henrik Olund/UT Southwestern Medical Center

What is UT Southwestern's biggest contribution to the community?

Without doubt, UT Southwestern Medical Center at RedBird is both literally and figuratively life changing. It’s almost impossible to overestimate the importance of this development, which has the potential to lift the profile of an entire community. It is state-of-the-art, with the same caliber of health care professionals and the same quality of beautiful facilities found on UT Southwestern’s main campus. This is a first for a community that has long been given the message, both blatantly and subtly, that it is undeserving of the finer things. That type of message affects people not only physically but also psychologically. UT Southwestern Medical Center at RedBird underscores the message that ‘You are worthy. You are deserving,’ and the value of that is incalculable.

  • Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.