A Legacy of Diversity & Inclusion

A Tribute to Dr. James E. Bowman, 1923-2011


The University of Chicago Medicine's commitment to creating a culture of collaboration and inclusion was fueled by James E. Bowman, MD, an internationally recognized expert on pathology, inherited blood diseases and population genetics, and the first tenured African-American professor in the University of Chicago's Biological Sciences Division.

Born in 1923, Bowman grew up in Washington, DC, during a tumultuous time in US History. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Howard University and entered Howard Medical School, serving in the U.S. Army before completing his internship.

Bowman joined the faculty at the University of Chicago in 1962 as an assistant professor of medicine and pathology and director of the hospital's blood bank. In 1967, Bowman was promoted to associate professor. In 1971, he became a full professor and director of laboratories. From 1973 to 1984, he directed the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center of the University of Chicago, funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Throughout his time here, Bowman served as a powerful advocate for minority scholars seeking access to careers in academic medicine. Today, the Bowman Society offers a platform for participants to share research interests and to discuss how health disparities influence their work.

We continue to honor James E. Bowman's legacy through our mission-based culture of diversity among faculty members, fellows, residents, medical students, staff, and patients.