Arthur R. James, MD, is a general obstetrician and gynecologist and associate clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Born and raised in Watts, Calif., Dr. James earned his medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis. He completed residency training in pediatrics at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the University of Texas-Houston, and in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas-Houston.
He moved from Houston to Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1988 to join a practice in obstetrics and gynecology at Bronson Methodist Hospital. While at Bronson, Dr. James expanded prenatal care services for underserved women, teens and women with pregnancies complicated by HIV and substance abuse. He later moved to Borgess Medical Center where he established and led Borgess Women’s Health Center, again expanding services. Between 1992 and 1999, he led a community-wide effort in Kalamazoo County that reduced black infant mortality from 29.7 to 10.2 deaths per 1,000 black births, thereby helping Kalamazoo, Mich. become only one of a few counties in the United States to accomplish the Healthy-People 2000 goal of 11 deaths per 1,000 live black births.
Throughout his career, Dr. James has built healing partnerships, not only with women and families, but with whole communities, in the belief that the sources of poor pregnancy outcomes arise in the community, and thus require community-based interventions. He calls this “Community Oriented Obstetrical Care,” based on Dr. H. Jack Geiger’s model of “Community Oriented Primary Care.” This approach begins by engaging the community to identify problems and resources, and then collaborating with multiple organizations to address the root causes of poor pregnancy outcomes in three dimensions: vertical (along levels of care), horizontal (across providers of multiple services), and longitudinal (over time). His mission, in his own words, is to move people and agencies with shared goals “… from coexistence to communication, to coordination, and finally to full collaboration … through conviction, commitment, and persistence” to reduce perinatal and infant morbidity and mortality and to eliminate the racial disparity in the rate at which black babies die.
In July 2011, Dr. James moved to Ohio to join the faculty of The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital and serve as co-director of the Ohio Better Birth Outcomes, co-chair of the Ohio Collaborative to Prevent Infant Mortality, and senior policy advisor in the Bureau of Child and Family Services of the Ohio Department of Health.