Dr. Jimmy F. Howell was a faculty member in the Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine for 50 years. He joined the department during the early era of cardiovascular surgery when its development was very rapid and new “firsts” seemed to be the norm rather than the exception. Dr. Howell earned his medical degree in 1957, completed his General Surgery Residency in 1962, and his Thoracic Surgery Residency in 1963 at Baylor College of Medicine. He was trained by Drs. Michael E. DeBakey, Denton A. Cooley, E. Stanley Crawford, and George C. Morris to name a few.
Dr. Howell served as director of the Vascular Surgery Training Program at Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital, which has produced numerous national and international vascular surgeons. He was also instrumental in the development of certain types of cardiac surgery, especially those for ischemic heart disease. Early in his career and inspired by Dr. H. Edward Garrett, he sought a surgical solution to coronary occlusive disease. This work resulted in the first successful coronary artery bypass operation in 1964 by Drs. Garrett and Howell. Dr. Howell performed more than 60,000 surgical procedures; more than 30,000 of these have been for cardiac or vascular cases. He is recognized worldwide for his many contributions to reduce disability and death from heart disease and stroke.