Louis Sullivan (b. 1933)
Louis Sullivan served as the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1989 to 1993. He was the founding president of Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.
Academic Medical Career
Born in Atlanta on November 3, 1933, to Lubirda and Walter Sullivan, Louis Wade Sullivan graduated
Sullivan began his career teaching at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the New Jersey College of Medicine, and as a researcher at Thorndike Memorial Laboratory in Boston. He later became the codirector of hematology at Boston University Medical Center and founded the Boston University Hematology Service at Boston City Hospital. He remained a faculty member at Boston University School of Medicine until 1975. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, has received many honorary degrees, and has been honored by many organizations, including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
In 1975 Sullivan became the founding dean and director of the medical education program at Morehouse College, the first minority medical school founded in the United States in the twentieth century. With Sullivan as its dean and first president, Morehouse School of Medicine became independent from Morehouse College on July 1, 1981.
In 1989 Sullivan was appointed by U.S. president George H. W. Bush to lead the nation's policy efforts and champion the health and welfare of the country as secretary of health and human services. He served almost four years in the position, battling the tobacco industry and serving as a champion and advocate of AIDS sufferers and caregivers.
In 1999 Sullivan hosted thirty-nine episodes of the public television show Frontiers of Medicine. He has frequently spoken on public policy regarding health issues and trends in health care management. He has been particularly active in promoting immunization, pain management, smoking cessation, and effective and humane public policy regarding AIDS. He is founding president of the Association of Minority Health Professions Schools and has advised the government in its research on sickle cell anemia.
In 2003 Sullivan began collaborating with David Satcher, the former U.S. surgeon general and director of the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine, to develop a "virtual textbook" called TOP MED (Topics on Pain Medicine). TOP MED's content is based on best practices in pain diagnosis and treatment. It was developed to bridge the gaps in medical students' training in dealing with pain in their patients. To alleviate what Sullivan calls an "epidemic" of untreated pain, the resource is to be made available free of charge to medical students across the country.
Sullivan is working to develop a center at Morehouse School of Medicine to focus on the AIDS epidemic in Africa and to study African American health issues. In May 2003 he was appointed chair of the president's Board of Advisers on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The White House cited his founding of the Association of Minority Health Professions Schools and his advice to the government on sickle cell anemia issues.
Sullivan and his wife, Ginger, have three children and live in Atlanta.
Anne Janette Johns, Contemporary Black Biography, ed. L. Mpho Mabunda, vol. 8 (Detroit: Gale, 1995), s.v. "Louis Sullivan."
S. A. Reid, "Sullivan Finds Zest in Promoting Health," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 5, 2002.
Louis W. Sullivan, "A 'Divide and Conquer' Attitude on AIDS Threatens Us All," Los Angeles Times, July 27, 1989, sec. 5, p. 5.
Louis W. Sullivan, "Every Day Should Be Free from Smoke," USA Today, November 21, 1991, p. 10A.
Louis W. Sullivan, "The Status of Blacks in Medicine: Philosophical and Ethical Dilemmas for the 1980s," New England Journal of Medicine 309 (1983).
Louis W. Sullivan, "Violence as a Public Health Issue," Journal of the American Medical Association 265, no. 21 (1991).
M. Whigham, "The CEO of Health," Black Enterprise, September 1991.
Marilee Creelan, Medical College of Georgia
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