Skip to main content
Explore URMC


2012 Dean’s Medal - Ernest A. Bates ’62M (MD)

Ernest A Bates M.D.Dr. Ernest Bates is founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of American Shared Hospital Services, chairman of the company’s subsidiary, GK Financing, LLC and a board-certified neurosurgeon. He is also a partner in Black Coyote Chateau, LLC, a winery in Napa, California.

A native of Mount Pleasant, New York, Dr. Bates received his bachelor’s degree in 1958 from Johns Hopkins University, where he was the first African-American graduate of the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. He earned his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1962, and the following year completed his internship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx Municipal Hospital Center. He then entered the United States Air Force, serving in Japan for three years.

Dr. Bates completed his neurosurgery residency at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center in 1971 and two years later, was one of the nation’s first three African-Americans board certified in neurosurgery. In 1983, Dr. Bates founded American Shared Hospital Services, a publicly traded health care company that leases state-of-the-art medical equipment to hospitals in the United States, South America, and Turkey.

A University of Rochester trustee for two decades, he is also a cabinet member of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester. He also serves on the San Francisco Bay Regional Cabinet and the School of Medicine and Dentistry National Council. A generous philanthropist, he is a charter member of the George Eastman Circle, the University’s leadership annual giving society.

Throughout his career, Dr. Bates has held leadership roles on several corporate boards of directors and has been a member of numerous professional organizations. He has served on the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing Board of Overseers as well as the Board of Governors for the California Community Colleges. In 1997, the State Senate appointed him to the California High-Speed Rail Authority, and in 2005, he was appointed to the California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth. Dr. Bates is trustee emeritus, past vice chair of the board, and former chair of the annual fund at Johns Hopkins University, which honored him with the Heritage Award in 2003.

Dr. Bates, who lives in Napa, California, is the father of two sons, Ernest R. and Paul.