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Hildreth named Meharry Medical College president

Mar. 19, 2015, 8:33 AM

James E.K. Hildreth, M.D.

James E.K. Hildreth, M.D., has been named president and chief executive officer of Meharry Medical College.

He will succeed Anna Cherrie Epps, M.D., who has served as head of the college since 2013.

Hildreth is currently the dean of the University of California, Davis College of Biological Sciences. He will take over at Meharry on July 1.

“Dr. Hildreth brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Meharry, along with a great appreciation for our college’s legacy,” said Frank S. Royal Sr., M.D., chairman of Meharry’s Board of Trustees. “He was an integral member of our faculty for many years, having founded Meharry’s Center for HIV/AIDS Health Disparities Research.”

Known widely for his accomplishments in HIV/AIDS research, Hildreth spent six years at Meharry helping direct the college’s research into the disease and serving as a professor in the departments of Internal Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology.

During his time at UC Davis, Hildreth is credited with introducing measures that more than doubled the amount of private fundraising there as well as hiring 16 new faculty members. Hildreth also worked on correcting salary inequity among faculty, according to a news release from the Davis, California-based university.

“These accomplishments, along with his overall track record in academic leadership, focus on research, devotion to students, and dedication to our mission of meeting the health care needs of the underserved made him the obvious choice for president,” Royal said.

Hildreth was named by Meharry’s 11-member board after a yearlong national search.

In an interview with The Tennessean newspaper, Hildreth said Meharry’s mission to care for Nashville’s most vulnerable residents was part of what lured him back to the college.

Meharry’s “mission, its history, the people, everything about it resonates with who I am and what I’d like to achieve with my life and my work,” he told the paper.

Hildreth earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Harvard University in 1979 and a doctorate from Oxford University in immunology in 1982 during his time as a Rhodes Scholar. He earned a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1987.

“Dr. Hildreth’s leadership will further Meharry’s legacy, bring fresh ideas and perspectives to our storied college, and build upon our reputation as one of the finest institutions for medical education in the nation,” Royal said. “We are excited for him to rejoin our community and help Meharry achieve even greater feats into the future.”

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