October 17, 2017

Hidden figure

Harold Jordan, M.D., has had a distinguished medical career that includes many highlights, including being chair of Psychiatry at Meharry Medical College, his medical alma mater, and serving as acting dean of the School of Medicine at Meharry as well.

Besides his academic career, Jordan was devoted to improving mental health care for the public through governmental service. He was Assistant Commissioner for Psychiatric Services and, following that, Commissioner of Mental Health and Mental Retardation for the state of Tennessee, and performed those jobs with such distinction that the state named a building in his honor on the campus of Clover Bottom Developmental Center, the state facility for people with severe intellectual disabilities which closed in 2016.

But a lesser-known part of Jordan’s professional life is his role as a pioneer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). In 1964 he became the first African-American resident physician at VUMC.