John C. Baldwin, M.D., was born in Fort Worth, Texas. He excelled as a varsity athlete and school valedictorian. He attended Harvard College, where he received prestigious awards and graduated summa cum laude. Following a year of study at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, he began medical school at Stanford University, and after completing both medical and surgical residencies at Massachusetts General Hospital, he returned to Stanford to complete his training in cardiothoracic surgery under the tutelage of world-renowned surgeon, Dr. Norman Shumway. In 1988 he was appointed chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Yale University, where he performed the first successful heart-lung transplant on the East Coast.
In 1994 he joined Baylor College of Medicine, where he succeeded Dr. Michael E. DeBakey as chair of the Department of Surgery and head of surgical programs at its affiliated hospitals. As chair and head of Surgical Services at The Methodist Hospital, Dr. Baldwin and his research team performed the first successful cardiac “auto-transplant” procedure—the removal of a young man’s entire heart, excision of the intra-cardiac tumor, and re-transplantation of the heart. He later served as dean of Dartmouth Medical School, president and CEO of the Immune Disease Institute at Harvard, and president of the Health Sciences Center at Texas Tech University.
Dr. Baldwin’s pursuits and passions transcended his work as a practicing physician. He was a national leader in healthcare policy and held numerous advisory roles in government and business. In 2011, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the U.S. Defense Health Board – a federal advisory committee responsible for overseeing military healthcare. He was proud to have served on the board of the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation in defense of human rights throughout the world. The breadth of his experience resulted in his participation on directorial boards of numerous Fortune 500 companies. He was a member of the Harvard University Board of Overseers, and cherished his long-time association with the institution that he credited with nurturing his love of knowledge.