Amos, Harold (Microbiologist)

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amos_harold_300x300Harold Amos (September 7, 1918 – February 26, 2003) was an American microbiologist and professor. He taught at Harvard Medical School for nearly fifty years and was the first African-American department chair of the school. He also inspired hundreds of minorities to become medical doctors.
Amos was born in Pennsauken, New Jersey. He graduated from Springfield College with a baccalaureate. After serving in the Quartermaster’s Corps in World War II, he graduated with a PhD from Harvard Medical School in 1952. Upon completing a Fulbright Scholarship, Amos joined the Harvard Medical School faculty in 1954. He was the chairman of the bacteriology department from 1968 to 1971 and again from 1975 to 1978. In 1975, he was named the Maude and Lillian Presley professor of microbiology and molecular genetics. He was a presidential advisor to Richard Nixon, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1974), the Institute of Medicine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Amos was awarded the National Academy of Sciences’ Public Welfare Medal in 1995 and the Harvard Centennial Medal in 2000. He directed the Minority Medical Faculty Development Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. A diversity award at Harvard Medical School is named after Amos.

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