Maupin, John E., Jr.

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John E. Maupin, Jr.

College president, dentist

John E. Maupin Jr. became the ninth president of Meharry Medical College in 1994. He was the first alumnus and the second dentist to lead the historically black academic health center, located in Nashville, Tennessee. Before arriving at Meharry, Dr. Maupin was executive vice president of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia from 1989 to 1994. In 2006, Maupin resigned as president and chief executive officer of Meharry Medical College, returning to the Morehouse School of Medicine as president.

Immediately prior to joining Meharry, Maupin was chief executive officer, from 1987 to 1989, of Southside Healthcare, Inc., a federally qualified community health center in Georgia's capital city. From 1981 to 1987, Maupin served the Baltimore City Health Department, first as assistant commissioner of clinical services and finally as deputy commissioner of health. Prior to the municipal appointments, he established the first dental clinic at the West Baltimore Community Health Center while serving there as dental director.


Born in Los Angeles on October 28, 1946, to a prominent dentist and a revered public school educator, John E. Maupin Jr. completed his secondary education in Los Angeles and then pursued undergraduate training at San Jose State College. He earned the D.D.S. at Meharry's School of Dentistry and, subsequently, was awarded an M.B.A. in 1979 at Loyola College in Baltimore.

Having succeeded in dentistry, academia, community public health, and business, Maupin acknowledged that Meharry Medical College changed his life. He accepted the 1994 mandate to nurse his ailing alma mater back to health. A glance backwards offers context for the renaissance sparked by John Maupin's passion for the institution that took him in and thoroughly prepared him for what became his true calling.


Born in Los Angeles on October 28
Ends undergraduate experience at San Jose State College
Graduates from Meharry Medical College with a D.D.S. degree
Earns M.B.A. from Loyola College in Baltimore
Establishes himself as oral health professional in Baltimore
Appointed executive vice president of Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta
Appointed president of Meharry Medical College
Leads celebration of Meharry Medical College's 125th anniversary
Resigns as president and chief executive officer of Meharry Medical College; becomes president of Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta

Mainstream professional schools did not interest John Maupin of South Central Los Angeles. But Meharry Medical College took a chance on this underachieving campus activist. Spotting real potential beyond a so-so undergraduate transcript, Meharry accepted Maupin and immersed him in its culture of compassion, competence, camaraderie, and intellectual rigor.

A mature and focused John Maupin graduated from Meharry on time—in 1972—and then completed a general dentistry residency at Provident Hospital in Baltimore. He maintained a successful dental practice in that city for a few years but then decided to enter health care management. He took on leadership positions at community-based health care facilities and municipal public health agencies in Baltimore and in the U.S. Army Dental Corps in Washington, D.C.

Maupin moved to Atlanta and worked in injury prevention and health promotion, a high-profile job which brought him to the attention of faculty that once tutored him and college trustees who had been tracking his postgraduate progress. He excelled at Atlanta's Southside Healthcare, Inc., the community health center. His performance at the Morehouse School of Medicine was exemplary; in fact, he flourished under Louis Sullivan's leadership.

Moreover, he constantly sought the advice of three seasoned educators known for spotting and nurturing fast-track talent: Johnnetta Cole, then-president of Spelman College and later chief executive of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina; Thomas Cole, former president of Clark-Atlanta University; and Dean Emeritus Joe Henry of Howard University's College of Dentistry.

Meharry sought its distinguished alumnus when its academic and fiscal vital signs pleaded for life support. Its trustees turned to a reluctant John Maupin. Joe Henry reminded Maupin of the rare opportunity Meharry was offering. After some thought, Maupin agreed to be a candidate. The trustees determined his strengths matched the college's needs going forward, and they were correct.

Strong Doses of Discipline

When Maupin arrived in Nashville in 1994, Meharry was grappling with a $49 million cumulative operating deficit; seriously deteriorated campus facilities resulting from years of deferred maintenance; poor performance of students on national qualifying examinations; limited clinical resources and training sites for students and residents that contributed to the loss of three residency programs; a threatened loss of institutional and professional accreditations; inadequate information technology infrastructure and outdated administrative and clinical management systems; and significantly undercapitalized research and clinical enterprises.

With Maupin at the helm, Meharry launched a series of bold initiatives that reconfigured the college's external relationships and dramatically transformed its operating economy. The college committed itself to uncompromising excellence, embraced an institutional culture that values niche-focused competencies, and aggressively forged strategic partnerships to expand institutional capacity and leverage opportunities for advancement.

The results during Maupin's tenure as president were impressive and quantifiable. He earned good marks for effectively executing a financial restructuring plan that erased the college's $49 million operating deficit; investing more than $70 million in renovating and constructing campus facilities, including a hospital building, campus housing, research laboratories, classrooms, and parking sites; and strengthening the curriculum and executing new academic enrichment programs to dramatically improve student performance on national qualifying examinations—from 40 percent first-time taker pass rates to more than 90 percent pass rates.

On his watch, the college also achieved full accreditation for the maximum period afforded by the college's various accrediting bodies. It established in 1999 a nationally acclaimed academic alliance with Vanderbilt University Medical Center and initiated and completed a $125 million capital campaign, the largest advancement effort in the college's history. It increased the number of endowed chairs and professorships from six in 1993 to thirteen by 2003 and significantly enhanced the overall research infrastructure. Research funding increased from $9 million in 1994 to $26 million in Fiscal Year 2003, highlighted by important new initiatives in cancer, HIV/AIDS, women's reproductive health, oral health, and unintentional injuries.

Maupin's leadership commanded the attention and enormous respect of peers in America's health science community and elsewhere. He was elected president of the National Dental Association. He is active in various scientific advisory groups. He is a member of the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education Accreditation of the U.S. Department of Education and of the National Advisory Research Resources Council of the National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health.

In the corporate sector, Maupin has been appointed to seats on the boards of several publicly traded companies, including Pinnacle Financial Partners, Inc., a bank holding company; LifePoint Hospitals, a non-urban acute care hospital company; HealthSouth Corporation, a national health services provider; and the Variable Annuity Life Insurance Companies I and II, a mutual fund complex of American International Group, Inc.

As an active leader in hometown civic affairs, Dr. Maupin has chaired the boards of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the North Nashville Community Development Corporation. He held memberships on the Board of Overseers of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, in 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee, and in the Rotary Club. He has been a chair-man and a board member of the United Way of Middle Tennessee, vice chairman of education for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, and board member of the Middle Tennessee Council of Boy Scouts of America.

John Maupin was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree in 1995 from the Morehouse School of Medicine and an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1996 from Virginia Union University in Richmond. He is a member of the Omicron Kappa Upsilon National Dental Honorary Society. The Middle Tennessee Boy Scout organization presented its Silver Beaver Award to Maupin for his distinguished service to youth; in 2002 he received the Education Award presented by the Urban League of Middle Tennessee, and the Middle Tennessee unit of the American Diabetes Association named him Father of the Year in 2003.

Precisely because he was the lone male in a single-parent household for several years of his early life, John Maupin never waited for role models to materialize; he aggressively sought them. He found one in his beloved stepfather, a postal worker who grounded him and taught him respect for all humanity; his uncle, a dentist who beckoned him toward the oral health profession; his cousin, a hospital administrator who sparked his interest in health care management; and even his estranged biological father, who advised him early to acquire an MBA degree, advice that ultimately won him the presidency of Meharry over rivals without that credential.

In 2006, Maupin resigned as president and chief executive officer of Meharry Medical College, returning to the Morehouse School of Medicine as president. According to an article in the Atlanta Daily World, Morehouse Board Chairman Anthony Welters announced the selection of Maupin as president, stating, "The Board is delighted to have a person as skilled and experienced as John Maupin to lead the Morehouse School of Medicine…. Dr. Maupin comes to us following his 12 years as president of Meharry Medical College, where he led with distinction. His compassionate and commanding stewardship of Meharry directly relates to the mission of the Morehouse School of Medicine."



Roman, Charles V. Meharry Medical College: A History. Nashville, Tenn.: Sunday School Publishing Board of the National Baptist Convention, 1934.

Summerville, James. Educating Black Doctors: A History of Meharry Medical College. University, Ala.: University of Alabama Press, 1983.


Massaquoi, Hans. "Fifty Years of Black in Medicine" Ebony (July 1995): 120-125.

Maupin, John E., David Schlundt, Rueben Warren, et al. "Reducing Unintentional Injuries on the Nation's Highways: Research and Program Policy to Increase Seat Belt Use." Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 15 (February 2004): 4-17.


"Dr. John E. Maupin Is New President Of Morehouse School Of Medicine." Atlanta Daily World. (Accessed 29 March 2006).

"John E. Maupin, Jr., D.D.S., President." Morehouse School of Medicine. (Accessed 29 March 2006).

"Meharry president to lead Morehouse med school." (Accessed 29 March 2006).


Britton, John H., Jr. Interview with John E. Maupin Jr., Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tenn., 12 April 2005.

                                     John H. Britton, Jr.