James N Martin, Jr, MD '73

2013 Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award recipient

Alfred Hamer

An international leader in maternal and fetal medicine, James N. Martin Jr., M.D., has made singular contributions to the management of patients with hypertensive and hematologic disorders of pregnancy.

Dr. Martin received his undergraduate degree in biology from Wake Forest University and his medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His internship and residency in Ob-Gyn were at North Carolina Memorial Hospital, where he won the Outstanding Teaching Intern Award in 1974 and served as Chief Resident in Ob-Gyn in 1976-77.

A fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Texas Health Service Center in Dallas followed a World Health Organization clinical research fellowship at Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden.

Dr. Martin became assistant professor of Ob-Gyn at the University of Michigan Medical Center in 1979. He served as Director of the Obstetric Intensive Care Unit at the medical center’s Women’s Hospital, as Chief of the Obstetrics-Maternal-Fetal Medicine Service and as Director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Fellowship Program.

In 1981, Dr. Martin joined the faculty of the University of Mississippi Medical Center as assistant professor of Ob-Gyn and quickly rose through the academic ranks.

Dr. Martin is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of the Division of Maternal and Fetal Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Director of Obstetric Services at the medical center’s Winfred L. Wiser Hospital for Women and Infants.

Much of his research has focused on hypertensive diseases of pregnancy, particularly preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome.  In preeclampsia, high blood pressure is accompanied by an increased level of protein in the urine. The disease can lead to seizures and organ failure in mothers and is responsible for an estimated fifteen percent of all premature births. HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening type of preeclampsia characterized by the breaking down of red blood cells, high liver enzyme levels and low platelet count.

Dr. Martin’s extensive research in the field of hypertensive complications of pregnancy has significantly advanced understanding and treatment of these conditions. “The incidence of these disorders has been increasing in the U.S. and is a leading cause of maternal death here and abroad,” says Herbert B. Peterson, M.D., Kenan Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Maternal and Child Health in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the UNC School of Medicine. “Dr. Martin is known nationally and internationally for his contributions to the management of patients with hypertensive and hematologic disorders of pregnancy.”

The Preeclampsia Foundation honored Dr. Martin with its Hope Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2009.

“Dr. Martin’s lifetime of research, years of practice and teaching and national advocacy on preeclampsia and hypertensive disorders in pregnancy prove his commitment to finding solutions and improving care,” says Hal C. Lawrence III, M.D., Executive Vice President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  In 2011, Dr. Martin was elected president of that organization. “His leadership has been truly remarkable and a key to ACOG’s development and implementation of its enhanced global health program, including its work as a founding partner in two new public-private partnerships to promote global maternal and newborn health,” Dr. Peterson says.

He also has served as president of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the North American Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy.

Last spring, Dr. Martin was named co-chair of the new National Advisory Workgroup to Improve Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes in Medicaid/CHIP recipients. The workgroup, appointed by the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, is working with states and other interested parties to enhance existing efforts or launch new initiatives to provide better care, improve birth outcomes and reduce the cost of care for mothers and infants.

An outstanding educator, Dr. Martin has twice been honored for excellence in teaching and mentoring by the senior resident classes in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“Jim Martin is an extraordinary leader who has excelled as a clinician, educator, administrator and investigator,” Dr. Peterson says. “He has had a highly distinguished career in every setting in which he has served. His prominence is richly deserved.”

In recognition of his exceptional contributions in maternal and fetal medicine, including his pioneering advances in the care of patients with disorders of pregnancy, we are proud to present the Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award to James N. Martin Jr., M.D.