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James Gilman Takes Command at NIH Clinical Center

January 6, 2017

James Gilman

Health Care Champion: James Gilman, a 1974 biology alumnus, has led several medical research and patient career facilities during his military career and civilian life.

James Gilman may be retired after a distinguished career as a military physician and former commander of Army medical research facilities, but he’s still playing an active role in leading America’s health care system.

Gilman, a 1974 biology alumnus, has become the first chief executive officer of the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Clinical Center, the nation's premier biomedical research facility.  The 200-bed hospital, located in Bethesda, Md., conducts cutting-edge research with critically ill patients and volunteers. It received about 6,000 inpatient admissions and 100,000 outpatient visits last year, according to the NIH.

The retired major general considers volunteers for NIH clinical trials similar to the military service members he tried to care for throughout his career.

"All of my professional career I have been taking care of service members and their families along with military retirees and their families," says Gilman, a native of Hymera, Ind. "They derived their health care benefit by providing services that benefited all of us. I love that, and I did it for longer than most other people get to do."

A board-certified internal medicine doctor with a subspecialty in cardiovascular disease, Gilman had a 35-year career in the Army. His military service included being commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in Fort Detrick, Md., overseeing $1.5- to $2 billion in medical research conducted by Army scientists and others. Their studies ranged from infectious disease to amputee care to rehabilitation issues.

Gilman also was responsible for leading patient care and services at the Walter Reed Health Care system in Washington, D.C., Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in Texas and the Bassett Army Community Hospital at Fort Wainwright in Alaska. He served as director of health policy and services, responsible for all aspects of professional activities and healthcare policy, in the Office of the Surgeon General under the U.S. Army Medical Command. 

Following his retirement from the military in 2013, Gilman was executive director of Johns Hopkins Military & Veterans Institute in Baltimore until June 2016.

After graduating from Rose-Hulman, Gilman received his medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine. He completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in cardiovascular diseases at Brooke Army Medical Center, where he later became chief of cardiology and was responsible for training cardiology fellows.

“[Gilman’s] medical expertise and military leadership will serve the NIH Clinical Center well as it continues to strive for world-class patient care and research excellence,” remarked NIH Director Francis S. Collins in a news release announcing Gilman’s appointment. He noted Gilman’s numerous military awards and decorations, including the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit and Meritorious Service Medal.

Gilman received an honorary doctorate of engineering from Rose-Hulman in 2011 and has returned to campus frequently to participate in events the Wabash Battalion of the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.