Bachelor of Science magna cum laude, Morehouse College, Atlanta, 1954. Doctor of Medicine cum laude, Boston University, 1958.
Intern New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, New York City, 1958-1959, resident in internal medicine, 1959-1960. Fellow in pathology Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, 1960-1961. Research fellow Thorndike Memorial Laboratory Harvard Medical School, 1961-1963.
Instructor medicine Harvard Medical School, 1963-1964. Assistant professor medicine New Jersey College Medicine, 1964-1966. Co-director hematology Boston University Medical Center, 1966.
Associate professor medicine Boston University, 1968—1973. Director hematology Boston City Hospital, 1973-1975. Professor medicine & physiology Boston University, 1973—1975.
Dean School Medicine, Morehouse College, Atlanta, 1975—1983. President Morehouse School Medicine, Morehouse College, 1981—1989, 1993—2002, president emeritus, since 2002. Secretary United States Department Health & Human Services, Washington, 1989-1993.
Non-executive director General Motors, 1993-2002. Board directors 3M Company, since 1993, Henry Schein Inc., since 2003, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, CIGNA Corporation, Equifax Inc., Georgia-Pacific Corporation, United Therapeutics Corporation. Member sickle cell anemia advisory committee National Institutes of Health, 1974-1975.
Ad hoc panel on blood diseases National Heart, Lung Blood Disease Bureau, 1973, National Advisory Research Council, 1977. Member medical advisory board National Leukemia Association, 1968-1970, chairman, 1970. Researcher suppression of hematopoiesis by ethanol, pernicious anemia in childhood, folates in human nutrition.
Member Secretary of Education's Commission on Future of Education, 2005. Member Association American Physicians, American Society Hematology, American Society Clinical Investigation, Clinical and Climatological Society, Institute Medicine, Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Omega Alpha.
Married Eve Williamson, September 30, 1955. Children: Paul, Shanta, Halsted.