Dr. James Dougherty was born in Philadelphia and spent most of his early life in Deptford, New Jersey. Following high school he attended Rutgers College in New Brunswick earning a B.A. in Biological Science in 1974. He then entered The Graduate School at Rutgers University and completed his M.S. in Animal Science in 1975. In 1975 he began work on a Ph.D. program in Toxicology when he was accepted to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. He graduated in 1980. During the next year he worked in general practice in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Following the year in general practice he was accepted into the Small Animal Medicine and Surgery internship at the University of Pennsylvania. He was then accepted into the Small Animal Internal Medicine residency program. After the residency, he created an internal medicine referral practice in a surgical practice in Malvern, Pennsylvania.
In 1986 he co-founded MVA, creating the first multi-specialty referral hospital in the Philadelphia suburbs. Over the years, the practice has grown from three veterinarians to over twenty. It has progressed from a Monday to Friday daytime specialty practice to 24-hour, 7 days a week specialty/emergency/critical care practice.
As a loyal Rutgers alumnus, he serves on the Advisory Panel of the Executive Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and is a member of both the Board of Overseers and Board of Trustees at Rutgers University. In addition, he is on the Advisory Board of the Tyler Clementi Center at Rutgers, as well as the Development Committee of the Rutgers University Press.