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James O. Mason
|United States Assistant Secretary for Health|
|President||George H.W. Bush|
|Robert E. Windom|
|Philip R. Lee|
|Surgeon General of the United States |
George H. W. Bush
|C. Everett Koop|
|Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention|
|William H. Foege|
|William L. Roper|
James Ostermann Mason
June 19, 1930
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
|Education||University of Utah (BA) (MD)|
Harvard University (PhD)
James Ostermann Mason (born June 19, 1930) is an American medical doctor and public health administrator. He was the United States Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) from 1989 to 1993 and the Acting Surgeon General of the United States from 1989 to 1990. As the ASH he was also a former four-star admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. He was also a director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Mason earned B.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Utah. Mason received an MPH from Harvard in 1963. He also earned a Ph.D. in public health from Harvard University. He completed this later degree at Harvard in 1967.
Mason did residencies at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Mason was the first managing director of the LDS Church's Unified Welfare Services, directing the church's hospital system beginning in 1970 when the Church moved general authorities to a position of developing policy and handing over the managing of professional departments to highered professionals. In this position he gave a talk in LDS general conference announcing the health missionary plan in 1971. He continued as head of the Church's hospitals until 1975 when the Church spun them off as Intermountain Healthcare to allow it to focus health resources more to assist members all over the world.
From 1978-1979 Mason served as chair of the Division of community medicine in the University of Utah's college of medicine.
Mason served as the executive director of the Utah Department of Health from 1979 until 1983, when he was named director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia; Mason held the directorship of the CDC until 1989. In 1993, he was presented with the Gorgas Medal from the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS).
In 1989, the U.S. Senate confirmed Mason as Assistant Secretary for Health, which made him head of the United States Public Health Service, and Acting Surgeon General. He later served as the American delegate to the World Health Organization.
In 1994, Mason was appointed as a general authority by the LDS Church, serving in the Second Quorum of the Seventy until 2000. From 2000 to 2003, Mason was president of the church's Bountiful Utah Temple.
As a young man, Mason served an LDS Church mission to Denmark. Before his appointment as a general authority, Mason served in the church as a bishop, stake president, and regional representative. In 1974, while serving as Church Commissioner for Health Services, Mason wrote a pamphlet for the church titled, "Attitudes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Toward Certain Medical Problems", which expresses the church's views on abortion, birth control, and homosexuality.