Dr. Harold Amos, 84; Mentor to Aspiring Minority Physicians

From Staff and Wire Reports

Dr. Harold Amos, 84, a microbiologist who was Harvard Medical School’s first black department chairman and a mentor to hundreds of aspiring physicians, died Feb. 26 in Boston from complications of a stroke.

Amos was an advisor to President Nixon and a recipient of Howard University’s Dr. Charles R. Drew World Medical Prize in 1989. But he may be remembered most for inspiring hundreds of young minority students to become doctors.

Born in Pennsauken, N.J., Amos was one of nine children of a mailman and a homemaker. He attended Springfield College in Massachusetts on a scholarship, graduating in 1941 with a degree in chemistry.

After serving in the Army during World War II, he earned his master’s degree from Harvard University and his doctorate from Harvard Medical School.

In 1954, he became an instructor in Harvard Medical School’s bacteriology department. He served as chairman of the department from 1968 to 1971 and again from 1975 to 1978. He became professor emeritus in 1988.