Fireside Chat: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Congressman Louis Stokes

Hosted by NIMHD and the NIH Office of the Director
October 12, 2017, 1:00 p.m. EST
Louis Stokes Laboratories Building, NIH Campus, Bethesda, Maryland


NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins talks with the family of former U.S. Congressman Louis Stokes about the life and legacy of the Congressman, in recognition of his autobiography, The Gentleman from Ohio.

Known as a stalwart for social justice, Congressman Stokes dedicated his life to serving others, particularly minority and underserved communities. Born in 1925, Stokes grew up in an impoverished neighborhood with his younger brother and widowed mother. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. After his military service, he earned an undergraduate degree from Western Reserve University and a law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Mr. Stokes was elected to Congress in 1968 to represent the 21st Congressional District of Ohio and, over his 30-year career, he went on to become one of the most effective legislators and a friend to NIH.

As a Member of Congress on the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Stokes supported increases in funding for biomedical research and was a persistent and emphatic champion of extending the benefits of biomedical research to all people, especially in the area of health disparities. In 1990, Stokes was instrumental in launching NIH’s Office of Minority Programs, later named the Office of Research on Minority Health. Over the years, he pushed for its elevation to Institute status. In recognition for his leadership and tremendous support in making health disparities a research priority, NIH dedicated the Louis Stokes Laboratories to Congressman Stokes.

This program will honor the life and legacy of Congressman Stokes who passed away on August 18, 2015 through conversation about his aspirations, drive for social justice, his powerful role in Congress, and the significance of his family to his career and personal life.