Lives Lived

James Collins, M.D.

Fall 2020
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James Collins

James Collins (M.D. 1953, Residency 1958), a longtime pediatrician in Detroit, died February 16, 2020, at the age of 94. After receiving his medical degree at U-M, he completed an internship at St. Lawrence Hospital in Lansing and a residency at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, where he was the second African American to join the program.

After his residency, Collins was originally denied privileges at the Detroit Medical Center because of his race, but he fought against the racism and eventually gained privileges. In 1960, Collins and three other African American physicians were appointed to the staff of Harper Hospital, integrating the hospital staff of the Detroit Medical Center.

Collins also had a successful private practice, and, until his retirement in 2017, he was a faculty member at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics. There, he served as director of medical school education and assistant dean for admissions.

Collins worked throughout his career to enhance social justice in the field of medicine and was known for his mentorship of African American doctors in the Detroit area. A charter member of the WSU School of Medicine Academy of Scholars, he also was a member of the school’s Minority Recruitment Committee to address the lack of African American students. He received many awards for his efforts, including the State of Michigan Special Tribute and Recognition Award for Exemplary Leadership in the Field of Medicine, the Teacher of the Year and Faculty Award from the WSU Black Medical Association, and the 2018 WSU School of Medicine Trailblazer Award.

This obituary was adapted from one published by the Wayne State University School of Medicine.