James “Red” Duke

James “Red” Duke, M.D.

Professor, Department of Surgery
The University of Texas Medical School


James H. “Red” Duke, Jr., M.D., Professor of Surgery and the John B. Holmes Professor of Clinical Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), is a world-renowned trauma surgeon known for his extraordinary efforts to train medical students, surgeons, educate the public about health issues and improve outcomes for injured patients.

As one of the first faculty members of the new UTHealth Medical School, he established the trauma service at the primary teaching hospital known now as Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.  In 1976, he was instrumental in developing Memorial Hermann’s Life Flight helicopter program, the only hospital based air ambulance servicing southeast Texas.

Dr. Duke has been fervent in generating programs to prevent injuries and develop the infrastructure to better care of injured patients.  As a result of the nationally syndicated Texas Health Reports, which educated millions about topics ranging from kidney stones to injury prevention, he became one of the most recognized personalities in his field.

He is an ardent conservationist, having been president of The Wild Sheep Foundation, The Boone and Crocket Club and founder of the Texas Bighorn Society, which has been successful in reintroducing Bighorn Sheep to West Texas.

A Korean War veteran, Dr. Duke earned his medical degree in 1960 at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He completed his residency in general surgery at Dallas’ Parkland Memorial Hospital, where he helped save the life of wounded Texas Gov. John Connally in 1963. Before joining the faculty at the UTHealth Medical School, Dr. Duke served on the faculty at UT Southwestern, Columbia University and Nangahar University School of Medicine in Afghanistan.