Dr. Samuel Lee Kountz, born in 1930 in Lexa, Arkansas, was a determined and intellectual man. Prior to entering college at the University of Arkansas AM& N, Kountz experienced academic adversity during his high school years, but that did not deter him from becoming a successfully respected clinician, researcher and professor later in his life. In 1952, Dr Kountz entered the University of Arkansas where he received a Bachelors of Science, majoring in pre-med with a minor in mathematics. Kountz finished his undergraduate degree third in his class out of 178 students. Dr. Kountz achievements were not limited to within the classroom. He excelled as a leader in many extracurricular activities such as Student Government where he was the Vice President as a member of the debate team and as part of the Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society, to name a few.
Dr. Kountz was determined to become a great doctor. Even after he was denied from the two black medical schools in the nation, he did not give up. Instead, Dr. Kountz went on to receive his M.S. in Chemistry in 1956 from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, AK, before entering Medical School there as the first black student. He was encouraged by Senator William Fulbright to challenge racial boundaries and apply to a previously all white institution, which he successfully did. While working hard in medical school, Kountz spent his summer the as a summer fellow in the U.S. Public Health Service and conducting research and with is intellect and hard work Dr. Kountz then went on to pass his National Board Examination and eventually his medical license in the state of Arkansas in 1958.
During a time of racial tension, Dr. Kountz surpassed color lines and demonstrated his academic and professional prosper. In 1959-1962, Kountz completed postdoctoral training as a resident at Stanford University School of Medicine in the Department of Surgery. He then received the Bank of America Giannini Fellowship from 1962-1963 and entrance to Post-graduate Medical School and Hammersmith Hospital in London under the wing of Dr. William Dempster. Followed by, becoming a Senior Resident then Chief Resident in the Department of Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine in 1963-1965, Kountz completed his residency at Stanford University, he joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at Stanford University. During that time, Kountz was a Visiting Fulbright Professor to United Arab Republic for three months. Then, before moving on to become an Associate Professor, Professor and Chairman in the Department of Surgery at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY from 1972-1981, Kountz was an Associate Professor and Professor at the University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco from 1967- 1972.
Despite, Dr. Samuel Kountz many professional contributions, dedication to the medical field and accomplishments such as being a notable pioneer in kidney research and Renal Science, Young Investigator’s Award and numerous Honor Doctoral degrees, he was a cherished man. As a member of organizations such as Alpha Omega Alpha, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society of Transplant Surgeons, elected to many editorial boards and many more affiliations, Kountz was valued as a family man and figurehead who inspired many and enhanced the medical field with his professional manner, intellect and charisma.
- Dr. Kountz was the first black student enrolled in University of Arkansas School of Medicine Little Rock, AK
- Before entering Medical School at the University of Arkansas, Kountz received an MS in Chemistry from the university to enhance his science background.
- While working at Stanford University Medical Center in 1961, he was the first to perform a successful kidney transplant between teo non identical twin humans
- In 1975, Dr. Samuel Kountz received Doctor of Laws honorary degree that was awarded to him by President James E. Cheek of Howard University College of Medicine. Kountz received numerous other honorary degrees.