A pioneer in the study of degenerative diseases of the brain, Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller opened doors to treatment of chronic neurological disorders

Arnett Associates: 19550 Governors Highway

What inspired you to start your business?

I've practiced neurology in Flossmoor for 16.5 years, treating patients who required more than the "typical treatment" frequently prescribed by the doctor. Often patients could not afford certain recommendations or the treatments failed. My desire to assist the healing of these patients prompted the introduction of innovative services that could treat "the whole patient" especially those with chronic, nagging neurological ailments. I've offered chair exercises, balance programs, memory skills clinics, and massages, typically off-site from the previous office because this vision was neither shared nor promoted. Starting my own business gives me the flexibility to write my own script with the idea of offering these ancillary services onsite as an extension of the typical diagnostic services a neurologist would offer. I also use web-based programs and group meetings to educate and empower patients to advance their healing.

Why did you choose Flossmoor to open your business?

Flossmoor has been dear to me since my youth. My beloved Aunt Deborah and her family moved to Flossmoor in 1971, and I've visited and participated in township events for decades to spend time with family. Also, I've worked in the Flossmoor area for 16.5 years as part of another neurology office. I've made connections with other professionals, met at restaurants, connected with township organizations and businesses sometimes on behalf of my patients, and used park district rentals for a hospital-based basketball league that I run. Flossmoor is a home away from home, and on some days, I spend more time in Flossmoor than I do at my home in Chicago. Opening my business in Flossmoor was an easy move to maintain those connections and continue the symbiotic relationship we share.

As a business owner, what is your proudest civil rights moment or memory?

The civil rights moment that makes me proud was the Montgomery bus boycott. When Rosa Parks refused to move from her seat and a broad collective of protesters walked or car-pooled instead of using public transportation to effect change, it was a testament to what same-minded people can achieve. The 40,000 protesters made up the majority of bus patrons. Eventually, the US Supreme Court ordered Montgomery to integrate its bus system. This is the greatest reminder to business owners that they work for the people who use their services.

What has history taught you that could help someone else who is interested in starting a business?

It's important to know the population of people in your area and to understand their needs and what you can offer that's above and beyond to fill those needs.

As it relates to your business, what is your favorite quote or saying?

"Anything is possible when it's done in love, and everything you can do should be done in love or it will fail." From Dr. Daniel Hale Williams who performed the first successful open heart surgery in 1893 at Provident Hospital in Chicago, which he founded.

As it relates to Black History Month, what is your favorite quote, moment or memory?

"You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right." Rosa Parks.

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Solomon Carter Fuller researched degenerative diseases of the brain and became an authority on Alois Alzheimer’s disease research. He was recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as the first black psychiatrist. In 1904, he was the only American of five graduate research assistants invited to work with Alois Alzheimer on what was known as, “presenile dementia”.  He faced unequal salaries and underemployment, including performing autopsies. This work was well below his expertise but allowed him to draw conclusions about the progression and pathology of Alzheimer’s. In 1907, Fuller examined the brain tissues of cadavers who had a variety of mental disorders and found plaques called amyloids in them. He found one that matched what Alzheimer had originally described.  

Fuller was the first to publish a comprehensive clinical review of all Alzheimer's cases and to translate the work into English. In 1974, in dedication to Fuller's work in neuropathology, Boston University opened the Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center, which provides psychiatric outpatient services.