Dr. Austin graduated from Grinnell College with a degree in zoology and an ROTC commission in 1954. He spent three years in the U.S. Air Force and a year of graduate study at Boston College. Dr. Austin later attended the Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee where he received his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1963. After interning at St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse, New York, he completed a pediatric residency at the Upstate Medical Center at SUNY-Syracuse, serving as chief resident for one year. In 1967, Dr. Austin was awarded a fellowship by Tufts University to do research in hematology with emphasis on hemolytic disease in newborns and sickle cell disease.
From 1969 to 1972, Dr. Austin founded and directed the Pediatric Hematology Center at Upstate Medical Center. In 1975, Dr. Austin moved to Houston, Texas, and established a private practice in General Pediatrics where he had special interest in sickle cell anemia and helping at-risk teens. With his colleagues, Dr. Austin created a support network for black males and was the first chair of the Child Abuse Prevention Network. In 1992, he received a Barbara Jordan Leadership Award for his work.
Dr. Austin has more than 38 years experience as a pediatrician and is currently practicing and directing the Cullen Child and Adolescent Healthcare Center through Texas Children's Pediatric Associates, a subsidiary of Texas Children's Hospital. He is actively involved with several community-based organizations and he continues his passion of mentoring over 150 students in colleges and medical schools across the country. In 1973 he received the Grinnell College Alumni Award and in 1996, Dr. Austin was awarded an honorary degree from Grinnell College.