Dr. Zimble was selected as the fourth president of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) in 1991, following his retirement as a Vice Admiral and the 30th Surgeon General of the US Navy.
Originally from Little Rock, AR, he moved to Philadelphia, PA, at age thirteen. After graduating from Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, in 1951, he attended Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1959.
Admiral Zimble interned at the US Naval Hospital, St. Albans, NY. Following one year of training, he served as the “plank-owner” submarine medical officer aboard the USS John Marshall (SSBN-611) from 1961 to 1963. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1966, with follow-on assignments in OB/GYN at Naval Hospital, Camp Pendleton, CA; OB/GYN teaching staff, Naval Hospital, Lemoore, CA; Director of Clinical Services, Naval Regional Medical Center, Long Beach, CA; and finally , as Commanding Officer, Naval Regional Medical Center, Orlando, FL.
Promoted to flag rank in 1981, he served as The Medical Officer of the US Marine Corps (1981-1983), and then as Fleet Surgeon, Commander-in-Chief, US Atlantic Fleet, with additional duty as Command Surgeon, US Atlantic Command and Medical Advisor to Supreme Allied Command, Atlantic (1983-1986). In 1986 Dr. Zimble served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategic Planning and Medical Program Management, and as the Executive Secretary of the Department’s Advisory Committee on Graduate Medical Education.
As the 30th Surgeon General of the Navy, he was the principal advisor to the Department of the Navy, responsible for developing and establishing overall Navy health care policies and priorities, contingency and wartime planning, and program development for a four billion dollar health care system affecting more than 2.8 million Navy Marine Corps active duty and retired beneficiaries, and their families.
Dr. Zimble was a Diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and a Distinguished Fellow of the American College of Physician Executives. He held memberships in numerous organizations, including the American Medical Association, where he served as a delegate; the Society of Medial Consultants to the Armed Forces (SMCAF), serving one year as president; the Executive Committee of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United; and the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine.
His military decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Meritorious Unit Citation, and the Army Surgeon General’s Order of Military Medical Merit.
He received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the State University of New York, Syracuse in 1990, and in 1991 he was awarded the Franklin and Marshall College Alumni Citation. In August 2000 he was awarded the prestigious Public Health Service Surgeon General’s Order of Military Medical Merit.
He received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the State University of New York, Syracuse in 1990, and in 1991 he was awarded the Franklin and Marshall College Alumni Citation. In August 2000 he was awarded the prestigious Public Health Service Surgeon Generals’ Medallion, and in August 2001 Dr. Zimble was awarded the 2001 Frank Brown Berry Prize in Federal Healthcare.
In September, 2004, he retired after thirteen years of dedicated service to the university. Upon his retirement he was awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award by the Secretary of Defense, the University Medal, and the title of President Emeritus of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. At the university’s commencement exercise in 2005, Dr. Zimble was honored by the awarding of the university’s honorary Doctor of Military Medicine degree and the naming of the university library as “The James A. Zimble Learning Resource Center.”
Also, in 2005, Admiral Zimble was cited as “Health Leader of the Year” by the Commissioned Officers’ Association of the Public Health Service (COA) and was presented the American Medical Association’s Nathan Davis Award as “Outstanding Member of the Federal Executive Branch in Career Public Service. In 2007, with the establishment of the Franklin and Marshall Society of Distinguished Alumni, he was inducted as one of the Society’s inaugural members.
Dr. Zimble served as Chairman of the Veterans’ Advisory Board for Dose Reconstruction; as Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Uniformed Services (NAUS); as a member of the Board of the Samueli Institute; as a member of the Executive Board of the Friends of USU, as Honorary Councilor on the Executive Committee of SMCAF, and as a member of the Legislative Committee of the Richmond Area Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (RAC-MOAA).
He died on 14 December 2011. He was married to Mona M. Zadjura.