Dr. Melita Moore, the Head Team Physician for the University of California, Davis’ Intercollegiate Athletics Department, has 12 hired trainers under her care. They provide medical service for 650 student athletes. (Photo by Antonio R. Harvey)

DAVIS — It is known to many working professionals that it’s better to find a career that provides ample opportunities for advancement, extends development, that makes a difference in people’s lives and requires great passion.

Dr. Melita N. Moore, the Head Team Physician for the University of California, Davis’ Intercollegiate Athletics Department, exemplifies those career virtues. Her medical background, since she left Hampton University as a biology major, defines her efficient climb to success.

Dr. Moore is responsible for more than 650 student athletes who participate in 23 sports on the University of California, Davis’ (UC Davis) campus. She is also in charge of 12-certified, hired athletic trainers.

“This is a dream job that I could’ve never dreamt of,” Dr. Moore told the OBSERVER. “This is warm and welcoming support that I have here and it makes this job much easier.”

Dr. Moore, who knew she would be a physician when she was a child, has been rewarded for numerous accomplishments and recognition for her leadership in sports medicine, biomedical science, musculoskeletal diagnostics, and clinical research.

Dr. Moore’s distinguished position as UC Davis’ head team physician keeps her working around the clock and she does not mind answering the bell at a moment’s notice. She develops effective strategies, policies, and practices designed to reduce disparities in health care.

Dr. Moore says the No. 1 injury in college sports, is not a pulled hamstring, broken bone, or a six-stitch cut. Concussions, a traumatic brain injury that alters the way brain functions, lead the way on most medical charts. She has a strong interest and extensive knowledge of sports concussions.

“It’s the most dangerous or potentially life-threatening injury,” Dr. Moore said. “It’s our No. 1 most important injury. From there it goes down the list with ACL tears (anterior cruciate ligament injury) and broken bones, which are also high priorities. It changes every day.”

Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Dr. Moore earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology for Hampton University in 1999, a Historically Black College in Virginia. In 2005, she earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from The Ohio State University’s College of Medicine and Public Health.

Significantly and historically, Dr. Moore concurrently served as the Sacramento Kings’ head physician and consultant. Dr. Moore and Dr. Brandee Waite were the not only Black physicians, but turned out to be the first Black female doctors to perform training room and medical care functions for the NBA team from 2011 to 2013.

Dr. Moore specifically thanked Dr. Richard Marder and Dr. Jeff Tanji, who were team physicians for the Kings for many years, for introducing her and Dr. Waite to professional sports medicine.

Kalan Winston, who was the x-ray technician during the time Drs. Moore and Waite were serving the Kings, said it was a special moment to see them doing what they love to do.

“It probably should have happened a long time ago,” said Winston, who works in the medical field doing x-rays and ultrasounds for UC Davis Sports medicine. “But we just got to embrace the moment that is here right now and move forward. You just have to set the example and hope others will follow.”

Dr. Moore’s five-page resume and bio reads like a high-profile medical journal. She was also the team physician for the Jamaica’s Men’s National Basketball Team while the squad played it the Federation of International Basketball’s (FIBA) Tournament of Americas in September 2013.

Dr. Moore’s time in the Sacramento region goes back to when she was an assistant team physician for American River College athletics (2009-2015) and serving in the same capacity for Sacramento State University and UC Davis from 2009 to 2011.

Her duties also expanded to being an assistant professor at UC Davis Medical Center in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and an adjunct faculty physician for Sacramento State University.

Dr. Moore had left the Sacramento area in August 2014 to be the Director of Sports Concussion at The Ohio State University. But nine months later, an opportunity to return to Northern California arose and she gladly accepted it in June 2015.

Once again, she thanked UC Davis Sports Medicine’s Drs. Tanji and Marder, a sports injury specialist who has worked with major-league professional sports teams and collegiate athletic programs, who saw Dr. Moore’s potential and professionalism.

Dr. Marder and Dr. Tanji “never looked at gender or looked at race,” Dr. Moore said. The only thing they were concerned about if the doctors were competent in performing medical duties.

“They just looked at who’s the best person for the job,” Dr. Moore said. “They both have been fantastic mentors. It’s always hard to leave The Ohio State University and my family. But when you’re surrounded by really good people who support who you are, support your personal development, and believe in what you can do, it’s hard to be away from that environment.”

By Antonio R. Harvey
OBSERVER Staff Writer