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Physician Dr. Louis E. Baxter, Sr. was born on March 17, 1952 in Burlington Township, New Jersey to Zelnar A. Curry and William H. Baxter. He received his B.A. degree in biology and American civilization from the University of Pennsylvania in 1973 and his M.D. degree from Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine in Philadelphia in 1978. Baxter completed his internal medicine internship and residency at Cooper Hospital University Medical Center in Camden, New Jersey in 1981 and his addiction medicine fellowship at Portsmouth Psychiatric Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1988.
In 1981, Baxter was hired as an associate professor of medicine at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where he taught until 1985, when he was hired as a general internal medicine associate and chief of the alcohol/chemical dependency department for Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania. In 1986, he began serving as an instructor of medicine at the Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. Baxter then became executive director of the Physicians’ Health Program Medical Society of New Jersey in 1999. He subsequently founded the Professional Assistance Program of New Jersey in 2005, a nonprofit that manages impaired healthcare professionals, where served as executive medical director, president, and CEO. Baxter later was appointed assistant clinical professor of medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in 2013. From 2018 to 2020, he served as director of testing in addiction medicine at Ammon Labs in Linden, New Jersey. In 2020, Baxter co-founded and served as acting program director for Howard University’s Addiction Medicine Fellowship. He also has served as the addiction medicine consultant for the New Jersey Division of Mental Health, addiction services director for the American College of Academic Addiction Medicine, and as a consultant to the Office of the President of the United States through the Office of National Drug Control Policy and to the NFL, NBA, and U.S. Olympic Anti-Doping Committee.
Baxter served as president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine from 2009 to 2011, during which he addressed Great Britain’s parliament and Italy’s Fed-Der on addiction treatment in the U.S. From 2001 to 2010, he chaired the Healthcare Professionals Impairment Committee. He also has served on the boards of the American Society of Medicine and National Association of Drug Court Professionals and on several national advisory councils, including those of the FDA, CSAT, SAMSHA, NIH, and NIDA. Baxter is a member of the American College of Legal Medicine and the American Board of Addiction Medicine.
Baxter was recognized as an American Society of Addiction Medicine Distinguished Fellow in 1998. He received the ASAM’s annual award in 2017 and was recognized by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy as an Addiction Medicine Innovator and received the ASAM Appreciation Award from the American Board of Addiction Medicine in 2019.
Baxter resides in Princeton, New Jersey with his wife, Olivia Baxter. Together they have two children, Louis Baxter, Jr. and Tia Baxter.
Dr. Louis E. Baxter, Sr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 15, 2022.