James Mandell, MD ’70, never dreamed his career would culminate as the president and CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital, one of the country’s largest pediatric medical centers and a teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School.
“I had no expectations of the career path I eventually followed. I was interested in academic medicine and aspired to be a clinician, teacher and academician,” Mandell said. “When I eventually became chief of a division, then dean of a medical school and, even more unexpectedly, the CEO of a major Harvard teaching institution, even I was surprised.”After 13 years as CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital and 35 years as a pediatric urologist and surgeon, Mandell, 69, retired in October.
His medical career began as a student at the UF College of Medicine, and he remembers fondly the medical school’s early days. One of his most prominent recollections is the sound of Hugh M. “Smiley” Hill, MD, former associate dean for student and alumni affairs, reciting Greek philosophers.
Mandell received his medical degree in 1970 and stayed at UF to complete an internship and a residency in urology. His career progressed from professor of surgery at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine to professor of surgery in urology at Harvard Medical School to professor of surgery and pediatrics at Albany Medical College in 1994.
He continued to rise through the ranks as chief of the division of urology at Albany Medical Center and was named dean of the Albany Medical College in 1996. Mandell was named president and CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital in 2001, where he continued as a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School.
Although retired, Mandell isn’t slowing down entirely.
“I am in ‘active retirement’ and loving it,” Mandell said. “I see patients two days per week and sit on multiple boards of trustees, so I can continue to contribute and give back to the community. I now have more time for my six grandchildren, swimming, sailing, scuba diving and fly-fishing.”