September 20, 2021

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In Memoriam: Dr. James N. “Jim” Martin

The Medical Center extends its sympathy to the family of a former faculty member in appreciation for the loved one’s contributions to the academic health sciences center.

Dr. James N. “Jim” Martin

Dr. Jim Martin

Dr. James N. “Jim” Martin, professor emeritus in the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and former director of maternal-fetal medicine, died Friday, Sept. 10, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

In-person services will be for family members only. The memorial service will be livestreamed from at 10 a.m. Sept. 25 and will be available for viewing afterward on the church’s website.

His survivors include his wife, Gloria; children, Brent Martin and Rachel Martin Butler; and four grandchildren.

Martin recently served as an adjunct professor at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem. A longtime UMMC physician, Martin in 2010-13 served as president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the nation’s largest group of professionals providing health care to women. In 2009, The Maryland native received the Hope Award, the highest honor of the Preeclampsia Foundation for his "lifetime achievement in preeclampsia research."

Martin in May congratulated the second Mississippian and UMMC faculty member to follow in his footsteps as ACOG president. Dr. J. Martin Tucker, chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was sworn in during ACOG’s annual meeting in May.

“Dr. Tucker is an OB-GYN’s OB-GYN,” Martin said then. “His experience as a practicing OB-GYN in maternal fetal medicine, his expertise in private practice and academic roles will make him an excellent president for the college.”

“Dr. Martin was a giant in obstetrics,” Tucker said. “He touched the lives of hundreds of medical students in our state, scores of residents and dozens of fellows. Most importantly, think of the tens of thousands of pregnant patients whose lives he improved, both directly and indirectly.

Martin also served as president of the North American Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy from 119-99 and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in 2001-02.

He also served as secretary of ACOG and a member of its executive board. He was a founding member and a past president of the North American Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy, and is a past chair of District VII, ACOG.

He began his tenure at UMMC in 1981 as an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and maternal-fetal medicine, and his many roles at the Medical Center include director of obstetric services at Wiser Hospital for Women and Infants and director of the maternal-fetal medicine fellowship program and the maternal-fetal medicine master’s degree program. He directed the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine from 1991-2015.

Martin was the first fellowship-trained, board-certified Maternal-Fetal Medicine subspecialist in Mississippi.  His career changed the way obstetricians around the country manage crisis pregnancies, including those complicated by preeclampsia, the leading cause of premature birth and maternal death.

Martin and his team at the Medical Center created the world's largest data base of patients with HELLP syndrome, a severe form of preeclampsia. HELLP is the acronym for the symptoms that define the syndrome: hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low blood platelets.

In 2016, Martin was named to UMMC’s Medical Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed by the Medical Center’s Alumni Affairs office. He and his wife moved to North Carolina in December 2020 to be closer to family. He was a longtime member of Northminster Baptist Church in Jackson.

He sent a final note to the department, including his phone number and street and email addresses, just before his move.

“We hope to see you again in the not too distant future, hoping to visit the several communities within Jackson of which we have been a part for 39 years,” Martin wrote. “Thank you all for being such wonderful colleagues for all these many years!  I am very, very grateful for everything Mississippi and its people have been for us over the years.” 

A graduate of Wake Forest University, Martin earned his MD at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, completed ob-gyn internship and residency at North Carolina Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill, a clinical research fellowship for the World Health Organization in Stockholm, Sweden, and a maternal-fetal medicine fellowship at the University of Texas in Dallas Parkland Hospital.

He served as an editorial consultant and reviewer for the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Endocrinology, Journal of Maternal Fetal Investigation, Journal of Perinatology, Hypertension in Pregnancy, American Journal of Hypertension, New England Journal of Medicine and the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Martin authored three books, 71 book chapters and more than 500 articles.