Office of the President Emeritus

Louis W. Sullivan, MD

Office Main:  678-539-6140



Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., is chairman of the board of the National Health Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, whose goal is to improve the health of Americans by enhancing health literacy and advancing healthy behaviors.  He also is chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based Sullivan Alliance to Transform the Health Professions — a national non-profit organization with a community-focused agenda to diversify and transform health professions’ education and health delivery systems.  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.  With the exception of his tenure as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 1989 to 1993, Dr. Sullivan was president of Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) — the first predominantly black medical school established in the 20th Century — for more than two decades.  On July 1, 2002, he retired and was appointed president emeritus. 

 Dr. Sullivan became the founding dean and director of the Medical Education Program at Morehouse College in 1975.  The program became The School of Medicine at Morehouse College in 1978, admitting its first 24 students to a two-year program in the basic medical sciences.  In 1981, the school received provisional accreditation of its four year curriculum leading to the M.D. degree, became independent from Morehouse College and was re-named Morehouse School of Medicine, with Dr. Sullivan as dean and president.  MSM was fully accredited as a four-year medical school in April 1985.  Its graduates include former U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and former Meharry Medical College President Wayne Riley.


What's Current. What's In the News. What You Need to Know...

Statement from Louis W. Sullivan, MD on Death of General Colin L. Powell

October 18, 2021

From: Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., Secretary U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (1989-1993)

“America and the world have lost a great leader and humanitarian with the passing of General Colin Powell.

I was privileged to meet and work with General Powell from 1989-1993, when he served as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff of the U.S. Military Services and I was secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the administration of George H.W. Bush. Powell was an articulate spokesperson, respected military leader and valued member of the Bush 41 leadership team. His leadership was clear with the rapid success in removing the Iraqi troops from Kuwait in 1991, with minimal casualties or economic disruption. His subsequent contributions as secretary of state under George W. Bush are well known.

As President of Morehouse School of Medicine, I was pleased to welcome him as our commencement speaker in 1994, when he inspired our graduates, faculty and administration with his words and his deeds.

Ginger joins me in sending our sincere condolences to his wife, Alma Powell and other members of his family at this sad time. We thank Colin Powell for his service — which he brought to the nation with distinction.”

–Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., Secretary U.S Department of Health and Human Services (1989-1993)

President Emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine


BU Symposium on Race & Medicine


2020 AAHC Sullivan Alliance Lecture


Opinion: Outreach key to boosting vaccination rate


The COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging our society demonstrates starkly that our system is not working as it should. Our society needs trusted institutions and individuals in efforts to achieve the levels of vaccination needed to successfully end the pandemic.

In 2020, we saw the remarkable development of vaccines for the COVID-19 virus with strong scientific rigor and high ethical standards in record time. But the resulting vaccines have been met with a high degree of skepticism, suspicion, and mistrust by our citizens, especially people of color (Black, Latino and Native Americans). Thus, these scientific and technological developments are in danger of not achieving their purpose because of mistrust, misinformation and misunderstanding among Americans. A clear need in 2021 and beyond is better health literacy and improved health behavior of our citizens. Public health professionals have emphasized the substantial gains to be made in extending our years of healthy life, along with significant reductions in illness and injury.




Monday, January 18 | 2-3 p.m.

Please register for this Zoom meeting

All members of the BU Medical Campus community are invited to a special presentation commemorating the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Life of Service In Healthcare, And Why It’s Important In Today’s World

Guest Speaker: Louis W. Sullivan, MD, MACP (MED’58)

A 1958 graduate of BUSM and former faculty member who currently is a member of the BUSM Dean’s Advisory Board, Dr. Sullivan is the founding dean and first president of Morehouse School of Medicine (now president emeritus). He served as Secretary of Health and Human Services during the George H. W. Bush administration. He is chair of the board of the Washington, D.C.–based Sullivan Alliance to Transform America’s Health Professions. He also is author of The Morehouse Mystique: Becoming a Doctor at the Nation’s Newest African American Medical School (with Marybeth Gasman; Johns Hopkins University Press) and “Breaking Ground: My Life in Medicine (with David Chanoff; University of Georgia Press). He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Invocation by the Rev. Dr. Karen Coleman, University Chaplain, Marsh Chapel

Hosted by John Polk, MD, EdM (MED’74), Associate Dean for Diversity & Inclusion, BUSM

Opinion: Building A Health Culture In America

AJC Op-Ed with Louis W. Sullivan – 8/19/20


Statement from Louis W. Sullivan, M.D.
in Support of the Student Coalition for Social Equality
June 18, 2020

I commend the Student Coalition for Social Equality at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) for its leadership in organizing the peaceful protest on June 19th to focus on improving the health of the nation’s minority and medically underserved populations.

MSM’s students today are building on the legacy of MSM’s alumni, who are providing medical services to our citizens, including those alumni who have served as Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service (Regina Benjamin, M.D.), President of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University (Wayne Riley, M.D.), Commissioner of Community Health for the State of Georgia (Rhonda Medows, M.D.), and many other alumni.

All of us must continue to provide the leadership and service needed for Georgia, our country and the world, as we work for improved health for all, for more health equity and for a better world.

Louis W. Sullivan, M.D.
President Emeritus
Morehouse School of Medicine
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 1989-1993



The Sullivan Alliance and AAHC Join Forces to Accelerate Diversity in Healthcare


Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (1989-1993)
President Emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine

Let Us Trust Our Medical and Scientific Professionals

Confronting the pandemic resulting from the corona virus, President Trump has stated that “we are at war” with this infectious agent.

As a physician, former president of a medical school and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, I want to strongly commend the valuable scientific and professional leadership given to the nation by our men and women in the U.S. Public Health Service during this crisis.

The expertise of Dr. Anthony Fauci of NIH, Dr. Deborah Birx at the White House and Dr. Robert Redfield at CDC is being utilized by our elected officials to help our nation navigate through the existential threat we are facing from this virus.

This episode shows our citizens and our elected officials – the president, members of congress, governors, state legislators, and others – the importance of investing in scientific research and health professions training so that our nation is more capable of a creative and nimble response to the threat from a new enemy, the corona virus 19.

I urge everyone, beginning with the president, the congress, all our elected leaders, our business leaders and non-profit leaders, — indeed, all of our citizens — to listen carefully to Dr. Fauci and his colleagues, and to follow their reasoned and data-informed advice.

This is a test of our society. We must succeed in this effort. We will, if we believe in – and if we trust – our health and scientific professionals.

From The Desk Of...

A collection of op-eds and blog entries from Louis W. Sullivan