The Honorable Louis W. Sullivan, MD
Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1989 to 1993)
Chairman, the National Health Museum
Chairman, the Sullivan Alliance to Transform America’s Health Professions
For Immediate Release Contact: Gayle Converse
Louis W. Sullivan Biography Topic for Tavis Smiley Show
Washington, DC – Breaking Ground: My Life in Medicine by former Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Louis W. Sullivan, MD, will be a featured topic on the “Tavis Smiley Show” January 24-26, 2014. Smiley hailed the Sullivan biography as “rich in texture,” and “(a book) that ought to be done.” The radio program was recorded Jan. 23.
In Breaking Ground, Sullivan recounts his extraordinary life beginning with his childhood in Jim Crow south Georgia and continuing through his trailblazing endeavors training to become a physician in an almost entirely white environment in the Northeast, founding and then leading the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) in Atlanta, and serving as secretary of HHS in President George H. W. Bush’s administration. Throughout this extraordinary life Sullivan has passionately championed both improved health care and increased access to medical professions for the poor and people of color. The book has received endorsements from former President George H.W. Bush, former HHS Secretary Joseph Califano, former Ambassador Andrew Young, and others.
After becoming founding dean of MSM, Sullivan served as president of the institution for more than two decades. He retired July 1, 2002 and was appointed president emeritus of MSM.
He served as chair of the President’s Commission on Historically Black Colleges and Universities from 2002-2009, and was co-chair of the President’s Commission on HIV and AIDS from 2001-2006.
Currently, Sullivan is chairman of the board of the National Health Museum in Atlanta, whose goal is to improve the health of Americans by enhancing health literacy and advancing healthy behaviors. He also serves as chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based Sullivan Alliance to Transform America’s Health Professions.
Breaking Ground: My Life in Medicine (with David Chanoff, 2014, University of Georgia Press)
will be published in early February, 2014. Sullivan is also the author of The Morehouse
Mystique: Becoming a Doctor at the Nation’s Newest African American Medical School (with
Marybeth Gasman, 2012, Johns Hopkins University Press)
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The compelling life’s story of a towering champion of higher education, medicine, and accessible health care for all
“I don’t think I really appreciated the man Louis Sullivan is until I read Breaking Ground.
He is a true American hero.”—President George H. W. Bush
“Lou Sullivan has always believed that addressing the health requirements of the country’s
neediest—its minorities and the poor—will bring the greatest benefit to society as a whole. That
was the theme of his tenure as secretary, and that has been the impact of the medical school he founded. In this book he writes with clarity, passion, and humor about the life he has led and the issues that dominate our current health care debates.” —from the foreword by
Ambassador Andrew Young
“In this dramatic and revealing memoir that takes us from the segregated backwoods of Georgia
to the founding of the nation’s premier African American medical school and the cabinet of President George H. W. Bush, Lou Sullivan shows how commitment, courage, a sense of humor, and a passion for health promotion and disease prevention can make life better for all Americans.”
—Joseph A. Califano, Jr., top White House assistant for domestic affairs under President Lyndon
Johnson and secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in the Carter administration
“Lou Sullivan is a genuine American hero, and his life stands as a testament to how devotion to the service of others can breech any barrier and ascend any height.” —Jordan J. Cohen, M.D., MACP, President Emeritus, Association of American Medical Colleges
“Louis Sullivan proved that when leadership is rooted in compassion and exercised with courage, it can be a powerful source of change. This book provides insight into his personal roots, his professional
drive, and his historic decisions.”—Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation