The Leaders in American Medicine series produced by Alpha Omega Alpha continues with Thomas J. Kennedy, Jr.'s interview with James A. Shannon, former Director of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Shannon describes his early educational experiences. He entered the College of the Holy Cross at age 15, attended New York University Medical School, and interned at Bellevue Hospital. After graduating from medical school, he studied in the NYU Department of Physiology where he received a Ph.D. He worked in NYU's Department of Medicine for ten years before assuming the directorship of the NYU Research Service, located at the newly constructed Goldwater Memorial Hospital. During World War II, the NYU Research Service evaluated anti-malarial drugs. After World War II, Dr. Shannon was appointed to the directorship of the Squibb Institute for Medical Research, where he worked for three years. In 1949, Dr. Shannon accepted an invitation from R. Eugene Dyer, Director of the National Institutes of Health, to become associate director of the newly created National Heart Institute. Three years later, he became director of Intramural Research. Under his leadership, the 500-bed Clinical Center opened in 1953. Dr. Shannon became Director of NIH in 1955. After retiring from NIH, he became a scholar-in-residence at the National Academy of Sciences and then Professor of Biomedical Sciences for seven years at Rockefeller University. Dr. Shannon recruited such eminent scientists as Christian Anfinsen and two future NIH Directors, Donald Fredrickson and James Wyngaarden. Dr. Shannon discusses in great detail the crisis caused by batches of contaminated polio vaccine and how it was resolved.
The National Library of Medicine believes this item to be in the public domain. (More information)
Interviewer, Thomas Kennedy.
Received: 2000; transfer; from Victoria Harden, historian, National Institutes of Health.