When James Freeman graduated from University at Buffalo Medical School in 1974, he was the university’s first African American student to hold a doctorate and earn a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. In the United States, he was one of forty African Americans to hold the distinct honor.
Freeman earned a PhD in physiology from Georgetown University and joined Howard University as an assistant professor in the Department of Zoology. During his tenure, he graduated more than three hundred students, many who later earned doctorates and medical degrees. His success at Howard led to his recruitment by the University at Buffalo Medical School.
While pursuing his medical degree, Freeman was a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry.
After completing his medical training, Freeman launched a private practice in obstetrics and gynecology at 50 High Street. He was later appointed as Medical Director for the Division of Drug Abuse for the City of Buffalo.
Freeman published thirty three papers on women’s health during his career. An excellent physician and instructor, he was also a researcher at Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research and E.R. Squibb and Sons in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Prompted by a complaint about hospital gowns by his wife Allie, he designed a discreet but medically-accessible gown. He was awarded a patent for the new patient garment design in 1986.