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Dr. James Gavin, III

Maker interview details

Profile image of Dr. James Gavin, III
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  • August 11, 2003
  • August 15, 2003
  • May 8, 2003


  • Category: MedicalMakers
  • Occupation(s): Medical School President
    Chief Executive Officer
    Healthcare Executive


  • Born: November 23, 1945
  • Birth Location: Mobile, Alabama


  • Favorite Color: Blue
  • Favorite Food: Fried Chicken
  • Favorite Time of Year: Spring
  • Favorite Vacation Spot: Paris, France

Favorite Quote

"We Are A Small Medical School With Outrageous Ambition."
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Researcher and medical school president Dr. James R. Gavin III was born on November 23, 1945, in Mobile, Alabama. Gavin attended Livingstone College, graduating magna cum laude in 1966. From there he attended Emory University in Atlanta, earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1970 and earned his M.D. from Duke University in 1975.

Gavin's impressive career in the healthcare industry began in 1971, when he went to work as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Public Health Service, a position he held until 1973. Today, he still serves as a reserve officer. After earning his M.D., Gavin worked as a pathologist at Duke University Hospital. The Washington University School of Medicine hired Gavin in 1979, where he served as an associate professor of medicine until 1986. After Washington University, Gavin went to the University of Oklahoma, where he worked on diabetes research. In 1991, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) hired Gavin as its senior scientific officer, and in 2000, he was promoted to the director of HHMI-National Institutes of Health Research Scholars Program. Morehouse College School of Medicine named Gavin its president in 2002.

Gavin is an active member of numerous organizations, having served as president of the American Diabetes Association and on the editorial board of The American Journal of Physiology. He is a recipient of the Emory University Medal for Distinguished Achievement, the Banting Medal for Distinguished Service from the American Diabetes Association and the Internist of the Year from the National Medical Association. He currently serves on the board of directors of Baxter International and is outspoken in his support of affirmative action. Gavin and his wife of thirty-two years, Annie, have two sons.

Previews from the Digital Archive


Watch the full interview in the Digital Archive