September 13, 1996

Oates stepping down as chair of Medicine

Featured Image

Dr. John Oates

Oates stepping down as chair of Medicine

Dr. John A. Oates Jr. is stepping down as chair of the Department of Medicine.

A search is currently under way to find a suitable successor to Oates, who came to Vanderbilt in 1963 from the National Heart Institute in Bethesda, Ma., where he had served as a senior investigator.

Oates, Thomas F. Frist Professor and chair of Medicine and director of the Center for Clinical Pharmacology and Drug Toxicology, has guided the department admirably for the past 13 years, said Dr. John E. Chapman, Dean of the School of Medicine.

"We have been extremely fortunate to have an individual with Dr. Oates' achievements and international reputation here to lead this department. He has done a magnificent job and his successor, whoever that will be, will have very high standards to meet."

Oates himself succeeded Dr. Grant Liddle, who served with distinction as chair of Medicine from 1968 until 1983.

Oates has authored almost 300 original publications. He and his colleagues have conducted many research programs that have led to new insight into allergic response and have discovered and developed the use of the drug somatostatin for the treatment of one type of intestinal cancer. Of his wide array of research projects, Oates is perhaps best known for his work in the areas of hypertension and heart disease.

Recently, Oates was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for his overall contributions to the field of medicine through teaching, research and writing.

Oates' interest in the prevention of heart disease led to his serving on the Subcommittee on Smoking of the American Heart Association. He served as chair of this committee from 1980 to 1983.

In 1985 he received the association's Award of Merit for his work as a "leading champion in the AHA's fight against cigarette smoking."

In 1984, Oates was awarded one of two inaugural grants from Pfizer Inc. for biomedical research. Pfizer cited Oates for his work "elucidating the pathways of eicosanoid biosynthesis and metabolism" and for his work in developing new drugs, particularly in the cardiovascular field.

He has also served as president of the Association of American Physicians, president of the American Federation for Clinical Research and vice-president of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. In 1983 the Southern Society for Clinical Investigation awarded Oates its Founder's Medal in recognition of his "distinguished contributions to the conduct or furtherance of clinical investigation."

Oates, a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, graduated magna cum laude with a degree from Wake Forest College in North Carolina in 1953. He received his M.D. from Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest College in 1956.

He and his wife, Meredith have three children, David, 39, Larkin, 35, and James, 32.