Louis Wade Sullivan was born on November 3, 1933, in Atlanta, Georgia, to Lubirda Priester and Walter Wade Sullivan. Dr. Sullivan served the American people as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in addition to founding the prestigious Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia.
Sullivan graduated from Morehouse College in 1954 with a B.S. in biology. He earned an M.D. from the Boston University School of Medicine in 1958 and completed an internship and residency at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Sullivan focused on hematology. He began a career in education, teaching at Harvard Medical School and the New Jersey College of Medicine, while researching at the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory. In 1966, he began serving his alma mater as the Co-director of Hematology at Boston University Medical Center. The next year, he founded the Boston University Hematology Service at Boston City Hospital. He continued as a faculty member at the Boston University School of Medicine until 1975, when he moved back to Atlanta to work for Morehouse College. There, he taught biology and medicine, founding the Medical Education Program at Morehouse College.
The Morehouse School of Medicine became independent from Morehouse College in 1981, with Sullivan as president and dean. He continued as president through 1989, when he took a leave of absence after being appointed to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services. As head of HHS, Sullivan's responsibility extended to the health and welfare of the country. He battled the tobacco industry and championed victims of AIDS. In 1993, he left his government post and returned to Morehouse School of Medicine as president.
Sullivan hosted the public television show "Frontiers of Medicine." He is the founding president of the Association of Minority Health Professions Schools and is active in numerous other civic organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America. He has received dozens of honorary degrees and has been honored by diverse organizations, such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the National Association of Minority Medical Educators. He and his wife, E. Ginger Williamson Sullivan, have three children.