Donald E. Wilson, MD, MACP is Director of the Program in Minority Health and Health Disparities Education and Research, former Dean, and Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Dr. Wilson has dedicated his life to the advancement of medical science, education and the principals of diversity and equity in health care. When Dr. Wilson came to the University of Maryland in 1991, he became the nation’s first African-American dean at a predominantly white medical school.
Under Dr. Wilson’s leadership, the student body became more diverse and the number of full time African-American faculty doubled. At the same time, research funding soared, and the School of Medicine is now ranked as one of the top medical schools in the country. Dr. Wilson has without a doubt made a measurable and lasting impact on Maryland and the country, while providing inspiration to a new generation of students.
Dr. Wilson rose quickly to become a top physician and researcher in his chosen specialty of gastroenterology. He became the youngest person to make full professor at the University of Illinois Medical School and later became chief of gastroenterology. Dr. Wilson served as professor and chairman of the Department of Medicine at the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn. And he was physician-in-chief of the University Hospital of Brooklyn and Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn. In 1991, Dr. Wilson assumed command of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and its faculty of nearly 1000 physicians and researchers. The impact of his leadership was swift, measurable and observable.
When Dr. Wilson’s tenure as Dean began, grants and contract awards totaled $77 million. By 2005, the annual grant and contract total risen to $350 million. Under Dr. Wilson's Wilson’s guidance the School of Medicine has garnered record-setting research grants to target the world’s most pressing healthcare problems, including AIDS and schizophrenia. Philanthropic support to the School of Medicine totaled only $1.7 million in 1991; in 2005, gifts and pledges totaled $37 million. In May 2003, the School of Medicine opened Health Sciences Facility II, a $67 million state-of-the-art biomedical research building. Health Sciences Facility II added more than 100,000 square feet of research, office and meeting space and enable the School of Medicine to expand its world-renowned programs to fight infectious diseases and develop life saving vaccines. Health Sciences Facility II adjoins Health Sciences Facility I, which was completed under Dean Wilson’s leadership in 1993.
Throughout his career, Dr. Wilson has made a special effort to assist minority students and increase the number of underrepresented minorities attending medical schools. He is a founding member of the Association of Academic Minority Physicians (AAMP), a professional organization for minority physicians and scientists. The AAMP offers minority summer research fellowships to motivate interest in research and academic careers among minority youth. Dean Wilson has also served as editor of the Journal of the Association for Academic Minority Physicians.
Dr. Wilson is nationally recognized for creating an atmosphere that respects and celebrates cultural and gender diversity. As Dean, Dr. Wilson appointed four women and three African-Americans to chair departments.
Dr. Wilson has been influential in the development of health care policy at both the state and national level. He served as chair of the Maryland Health Care Commission, which regulates and monitors the quality of health care services and HMOs. Dean Wilson is also the immediate past chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which represents the 125 accredited U.S. medical schools, some 400 major teaching hospitals, more than 105,000 faculty, and the nation’s 66,000 medical students. Dr. Wilson is also a past chair of the AAMC’s Council of Deans.
Dr. Wilson holds membership in numerous prestigious medical/research societies, including the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the Association of American Physicians. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Alpha Omega Alpha, the medical honor society, and is a Master of the American College of Physicians, an honor bestowed on less than one percent of members.
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