Breaking Ground: My Life In Medicine

Breaking Ground: My Life In Medicine

      Breaking Ground: My Life in Medicine now in Paperback

Former HHS Secretary Autobiography Recipient of National Awards

Atlanta, GA – The award-winning autobiography of one of the nation’s most admired public health leaders has been published in a paperback edition.


Breaking Ground: My Life in Medicine (with David Chanoff, forward by Andrew Young, University of Georgia Press, 2014) chronicles Louis W. Sullivan’s rise from a childhood in the Jim Crow South to become a physician, founding dean of Morehouse School of Medicine — the first predominantly black medical school established in the 20th Century — and to serve as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Cabinet of President George H.W. Bush from 1989-1993.


The book is the winner of an NAACP Image Award, a finalist for the Phillis Wheatley Award and was named as “A Book All Georgians Should Read” by the Georgia Center for the Book.


About The Honorable Louis W. Sullivan, M.D.

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.


As Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Sullivan worked to improve the health and health behavior of Americans including (1) leading the effort to increase the NIH budget from $8.0 billion in 1989 to $13.1 billion in 1993. (2) the introduction of a new, improved FDA food label; (3) the release of Healthy People 2000, a guide for improved health promotion/disease prevention activities;  (4) educating the public about the health dangers from tobacco use; (5) leading the successful effort to prevent the introduction of “Uptown,” a non-filtered, mentholated cigarette; (6) inaugurating a $100 million minority male health and injury prevention initiative; and (7) implementing greater gender and ethnic diversity in senior positions of HHS, including the appointment of the first female director of the National Institutes of Health, the first female (and first Hispanic) Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service, the first African American Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, and the first African-American Administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration (now the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services).

Dr. Sullivan is the recipient of more than 60 honorary degrees, including an honorary doctor of medicine degree from the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

He 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).


About David Chanoff

David Chanoff received his B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University and his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Brandeis. He has written on current affairs, foreign policy, education, refugee issues, literary history, and other subjects for The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The Washington Quarterly, The American Journal of Education, The New York Review of BooksThe Washington Post, and The American Scholar.  He is a featured writer in the Washington Post’s anthology The Writing Life and his work appears in the current Norton Reader Anthology of Non-Fiction.  His sixteen books include collaborations with former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, healthcare disparities expert Dr. Augustus White, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. William Crowe.


About UGA Press

Founded in 1938, the UGA Press is the oldest and largest book publisher in the state of Georgia. It has been a member of the Association of American University Presses since 1940. With a full-time staff of 26 publishing professionals, the press currently publishes 60-70 new books a year and has more than 1,800 titles in print. It has well-established lists in Atlantic World and American history, American literature, African-American studies, southern studies and environmental studies, as well as a growing presence in the fields of food studies, geography, urban studies, international affairs and security studies. For more information on UGA Press, see