Dr. Jean Spaulding was born Jean Gaillard in 1947 in Birmingham, Alabama. She grew up in Highland Park, Michigan. Dr. Spaulding attained her Bachelor's degree from Barnard College and her MD from Duke University. She was the first African-American female to graduate from the Duke University School of Medicine, in 1972. She completed her residency and fellowship in psychiatry at Duke, finishing her training in 1976.
In 1977, Dr. Spaulding began a private psychiatry practice in Durham, North Carolina, a practice which she still maintains. She has served on Duke's faculty as a clinical consultant in child psychiatry from 1977-1990 and as an associate clinical professor from 1998 to the present. In 1997 she began services as a consultant for Lilly Research Laboratories, as well as an on-camera talent and consultant for WTVD Newschannel 11. Dr. Spaulding became Duke University's Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs in 1998, a position which she maintained until 2002 when she began service on the Duke Endowment.
Dr. Spaulding has many professional accomplishments, including service on the Duke University Health System Board of Directors, beginning in 1998; the Durham County Hospital Corporation Board of Trustees, beginning in 1998; the Duke University Board of Trustees 1993-1997; search committee to elect president of Duke University 1992; member of the Bi-National Health Commission between the United States of America and Mexico, beginning in 2001; City of Medicine Board of Directors Executive Committee, 1997-1999. She has had numerous radio and television appearances in which she discussed psychiatric issues, served as a psychiatric consultant to various organizations, and lectured at schools and other groups. She is the author of a number of articles. Dr. Spaulding's numerous activities in service to the community include: board of directors of the North Carolina Museum of History, 1986-1992; Durham Public Education Network, Annual Fund Co-Chair, beginning in 1999; March of Dimes Walk America, Honorary Co-Chair, beginning in 1999; and the Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors, beginning in 1990 and service as vice president, beginning in 1995.