She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Biology from Emory University. Subsequently, she completed her Doctor of Medicine degree from the Medical College of Georgia in 1991, specializing in Pediatrics. She completed her residency at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and her fellowship specializing in Neonatology at the University of California at San Diego. After practicing in California, she returned to Atlanta, Georgia, where she began practicing with the Division of Neonatology at Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in 1998. Additionally, she earned a Master of Public Health from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University while practicing. Dr. Chapman also was an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, the Jennings Watkins Scholar in Neuroscience at Emory’s School of Medicine, and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Fetus and Newborn.
She was a talented writer and researcher, renowned across the medical community for many reasons. Not only did she author, co-author, and edit multiple books, but she also participated in various research articles across the globe. She frequented medical conferences, speaking on her pediatric specialty to her peers and those she mentored. She also worked with the CDC, NRN, NIH/NICHD, the Marcus Institute, and many more groups to expand the field of neonatology with her innovative ideas. She mentored many from the next generation of neonatologists, who we hope will continue her research and continue to save lives. As the director of the Developmental Progress Clinic, she helped thousands of children and crafted approaches that expanded the possibilities and quality of care for each of her patients.
Dr. Chapman began her life in Macon, GA, where she was a bright young girl who was involved in everything. She was always drawn to learning, even to the point of reading The World Book Encyclopaedias from cover to cover. She participated in the Honor Band, Marching Band, All-State Band, and also played piano, overachieving at everything she set her mind to. She attended the Mr. Vernon Baptist Church, where she served in the junior choir, usher board, and youth department. After leaving her mark on Macon, she headed to Atlanta, where she became a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Afterward, she met her soulmate and husband, Thaddeus Chapman at the Medical College of Georgia, where they became study partners, travel buddies from Columbus to their respective hometowns, friends, and ultimately, married.
She excelled in every aspect at work and home, ensuring that everything ran smoothly and people were constantly taken care of. The level of detail never went unnoticed and she was praised for her work at home and work. In her later life, she continued her dedication to the church, finding her church home at Greater Piney Grove and Word of Faith. At Greater Piney Grove, she aided in the reconstruction and expansion of the church’s nursery program, taking her skills from the hospital to the worship hall. She created lasting friendships through her faith, which never wavered during her life. She frequently took notes during services, and one that particularly stood out continues as follows: “I am called to belong and not just believe. There is no discipline like the discipline of struggle. It builds character. Your choices determine your conduct, character, and destiny. Change always comes from the inside and there is preparation for your future in each failure.”
Dr. Chapman never wavered in her service of others, and from the time she was a child to her final days, she worked on her craft and supported everyone around her. She will continue to be an inspiration for all those who follow her and her legacy will continue forever. She and her team saved and were pivotal in the lives of thousands of babies in her 29 years of practicing medicine. Her grace and kindness were never unnoticed and her colleagues and friends and family know how she led with her heart and mind to advocate for a better tomorrow for all children. She is known across her field for her intellect, caring nature, devotion to her work, and perfection in everything she touched.
Dr. Ira Adams-Chapman was preceded in death by her husband, Rev. Dr. Thaddeus L. Chapman; her mother, Oceola Adams; her father, Julius Adams Sr.; father-in-law, Rev. Henry W. Chapman, Jr.; and her grandparents, Jimmy and Clara Adams, LuBell Coleman, Ivy B. Barnes & Myrtis P. Barnes.
She will be missed and loved by all those she leaves behind who will cherish her memory and protect her legacy. She is survived by her children, Jordan and Julian Chapman; her brother, Julius Adams, Jr.; her sister, Michelle (Ricardo) Hamlin; godmother, Betty Reeves; her brothers in law, Alvin Chapman (Ramona), Darryl Chapman, Michael Chapman, and Carlton Newkirk; sisters-in-law, Jocelyn Dudley and TaJuanna Smith; aunts and uncles, Gloria Wallace, Jack Adams, David Coleman, Otha Coleman; in addition to a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, neighbors, and more loved ones than we can count.
No matter how you knew her – Dr. Adams-Chapman, Dr. Ira, Ms. Ira, Ida-Mae, Ira, Sunshine, or Mom- she undoubtedly impacted each life she touched. While she will be missed more than words can describe, she leaves behind her strength, resilience, and positive energy that everyone can take everywhere they go and we hope that you remember her memory and honor her.