James Blair Peoples, M.D., F.A.C.S., died after a short illness on July 19, 2002.
Dr. Peoples was professor of surgery, the Elizabeth Berry Gray Chair of Wright State University School of Medicine's Department of Surgery, and director of the region's general surgery residency program. He joined the faculty of Wright State University School of Medicine in 1979.
A native of Altoona, Pennsylvania, Peoples received an A.B. degree in Chemistry from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and an M.D. degree from New York University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in surgery at University of Pittsburgh's Hospitals of Health Center in Pittsburgh. He completed post-graduate continuing education in the Program for Chiefs of Clinical Services at Harvard School of Public Health in 1991 and 1996.
From 1977-1979, Peoples was a Major in the Medical Corps of the United States Army where he was stationed at the 121st Evacuation Hospital in Seoul, Korea, and at Kimbrough Army Hospital in Ft. Meade, Maryland. He received the Army Commendation Medal for his service.
In 1988, Peoples served as acting chair of the Department of Surgery and was named chair of the department in 1990. Since 1988, he also served as director of one of the largest general surgery programs in the United States. The program trains seven physicians in each year of the five-year program and received a "perfect report card" from its accrediting body in 2001. Peoples was instrumental in training thousands of physicians and medical students in surgical procedures, and he was regarded as an international authority on surgical diseases. In 2000, he was named the first Elizabeth Berry Gray Chair of Surgery.
Board certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Surgery, Peoples was a member of several professional societies: the Association for Academic Surgery, Association of Program Directors in Surgery, Association for Surgical Education, Collegium Internationale Chirurgiae Digestivae, Dayton Surgical Society, Dayton Vascular Surgical Society, Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, International Society of Surgery, Midwest Surgical Association, the Montgomery County Medical Society, Ohio State Medical Association, the Pancreas Club, the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, and the Western Surgical Association. In addition, he served on the Program Committee of the Central Surgical Association from 1996-1999 and was that committee's chair from 1998-1999. He was a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons and an Honorary Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons.
A recipient of many honors, Peoples was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, received the Pittsburgh Surgical Society's Residents Award, and the American College of Surgeons, Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter's Residents Award, and was named in Who's Who in the Midwest. Through peer nomination, he was included in The Best Doctors in America: Midwest Region from 1996-2002. He received the House Staff Teaching Award from Miami Valley Hospital in 1996 and was elected to the medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha, in 1997.
Peoples served on several local hospital committees in areas such as trauma, quality assurance, medical records, breast cancer management, surgical case review, and operating rooms. Throughout his career, he authored numerous articles on a wide variety of surgical diseases, and from 1996-1998, he studied the early detection of breast and cervical cancer through a grant from the Center for Disease Control.
He was a member of the Executive Committee of the University Medical Services Association since 1989 and the Board of Trustees since 1990. He served as chair of the Billing Committee from 1993-1999 and as president of that organization from 1991-1993. He was also a member of the Executive Committee for the Academy of Medicine from 1991 and chair of its Membership Committee from 1995-1998.
"Jim was a superb clinician, outstanding teacher, visionary leader, and basically the consummate physician. He was a role model for all of us and will be sorely missed," said Howard Part, M.D., dean of Wright State's School of Medicine.
Peoples was very active in the community as well. He served on the Medical Advisory Board of the Community Blood Center of Montgomery County since 1992. He was on the Taste & Toast Committee of the Planned Parenthood Association of the Miami Valley since 1995, and was co-chair from 1996-1997. He was also a dedicated supporter of the Dayton Art Institute.
His immediate family includes his wife Kathleen, daughter Jessica Lynn Ouellette and grandchildren Anna and Sarah of Manchester, New Hampshire, and his sisters, Betsy Abercrombie of Herndon, Virginia, and Nancy Guthrie of Charleston, West Virginia.
Visitation will be held at the Rousing Funeral Home, 2100 E. Satrap Road, on Monday evening, July 22, 2002, from 3 to 8 p.m. A memorial service will be held at Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, 33 West Diction Avenue, Dayton, Ohio at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 23. Memorial contributions are to be sent to the James B. Peoples, M.D., Department of Surgery Fund, Wright State University School of Medicine, 1 Wyoming Street, Ate. 7000 ACHE, Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton, OH 45409. A graveside service will be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the Barrack Catholic Cemetery on July 25 at 11:00 a.m.