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An Opportunity for International Health Immersion: Send a HUCM Student to Ethiopia

This summer, students from Howard University College of Medicine (HUCM) will spend three weeks at the University of Gondar College of Medicine and Health Sciences in Ethiopia for a service and cultural immersion trip. During this trip, students will be paired with physicians to learn more about and assist with administering quality and culturally competent care in a resource-poor environment. Students intend to collaborate with healthcare professinals to provide care and deliver donated medical supplies and medication to community health centers in need. Additionally, the students will bring medical textbooks and relevant resources for their student colleagues.

You can help support the students on their trip by contributing to their travel expenses. A donation of $70 will cover the cost of a visa application. A gift of $200 will provide housing for one student. And a contribution of $1600 will provide airfare for one student.
The opportunity to gain international medical experience and to further HUCM's mission of assisting underserved populations is invaluable. All contributions - no matter how large or small - are welcome to assist the students in attaining their goal. 

Frank O. Richards, M.D., Class of 1947

“No one could do that but Frank,” said Will Ross, M.D., associate dean for diversity and associate professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine. “When he was assistant director of Homer G. Phillips Hospital, he really had to move patients in and out; it was a high-volume operation.”

“He was the Jackie Robinson of the surgical profession,” Dr. Ross added. “He was the best in his field.”

Dr. Richards had lived in St. Louis since arriving here for his medical internship in 1947 until moving to Boston three years ago to be near family. He died at a care facility in Boston on Feb. 20, following a long illness. He was 90.

His surgical skills were matched only by his modesty. He insisted that no services be held. “I don’t want a big deal,” his family said he firmly asserted.

But those who knew him recall his life as a very big deal. Dr. Richards, who was black, became a renowned surgeon at a time when most African Americans did not finish high school and he quietly accumulated a significant number of “firsts.”

Dr. David Hoxie, Class of 1993, Featured in Sundown Town Documentary

Don’t let the sun set on you in a sundown town. That’s what signs at the city limits of all-white communities warned when African-Americans were not allowed to live there or even visit after the sun set. This method of exclusion was often held by an official policy or restrictive covenant-. The practice of excluding blacks from American towns was so prevalent that, by 1936, it became the impetus for Harlem civic leader Victor Green to pen the Negro Motorist Green-Book, a guide designed to help African-American travelers avoid places where they could be harassed, threatened, or even killed. Today, it is illegal for sundown towns to exist on paper due to the 1968 Fair Housing Act, but some believe that communities remain sundown by reputation and reluctance to diversify. In the fourth installment of Investigation Discovery’s Black History Month anthology THE INJUSTICE FILES, filmmaker Keith Beauchamp takes a cross-country road trip to explore whether these exclusionary practices still exist today. Produced exclusively for Investigation Discovery by Al Roker Entertainment, THE INJUSTICE FILES: SUNDOWN TOWNS one-hour special premieres Monday, February 24 at 8/7c. 

Waverly, OHWaverly is one of the few sundown towns that existed before the Civil War, with its reputation traceable back to the mid-17th century. In 1830, the Downing family donated the town square under the condition that no African-Americans live within the city limits. Flash forward 150 years and the attitude of Waverly residents toward American-Americans had changed little. DR. DAVID HOXIE speaks on television for the first time about his experience setting up a medical practice in Waverly in 1997 and his claim that the community ran him out of town in 2004 after years of enduring what he calls “a toxic potion” of “racism, professional jealousy, material envy.”Beauchamp explains that this and hundreds of towns used to have signs at their town borders that read, “Whites Only Within City Limits After Dark.”

Augustus O. Godette, M.D., Class of 1967

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dr. Augustus Owen Godette, Class of 1967, who died Friday, December 27, 2013.

After graduation from the College of Medicine (HUCM), he pursued a career in the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology and completed residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Freedmen's Hospital, now Howard University Hospital (HUH), in 1972. He was appointed to the HUCM Faculty as Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology where he was integral in education and training of medical students and residents at HUH and the District of Columbia General Hospital where he also served as Medical Officer from 1972 to 1995. 

In 2000, Dr. Godette was invited to oversee the HUCM clerkship in obstetrics and gynecology for the third year medical students. Dr. Godette graciously responded to the call where he served from 2000 until his retirement in 2008. Under his leadership, the passage rate of the medical students on the national examination taken by medical students completing the obstetrics and gynecology clerkship was 100%.

Dr. Joye M. Carter Publishes Inspirational Third Book

Joye M. Carter, M.D, Class of 1983, published her third book 'Let Me Give You A Piece of My Mind, Don't Rent Space in Your Head, Evict Negativity' this month. The book, by Outskirts Press, encourages readers to quickly evict negative thoughts and move forward in a positive direction day after day.

A triple board certified forensic pathologist, Dr. Carter is the first African-American in history to be appointed a Chief Medical Officer and the first female Chief Medical Examiner in the District of Columbia, as well as Houston, Texas. She is currently the ChiefForensic Pathologist at the Marion County (Indiana) Coroner's office, where she manages post mortem examinations, performing and supervising the performance of autopsies, providing expert testimony and overseeing a forensic pathology fellowship program. 

After dealing with life and death on a daily basis for thirty years, Dr. Carter has garnered more than her fair share of wisdom about coping with ups and downs, and she shares those truths in her book with humor, compassion and her own unique take on remaining positive.

HUCM Professor Richard Millis quoted on the relationship between blood pressure and childhood stress

A new US study offers more evidence that childhood experience may have health effects that echo into adulthood.

Based on health data for 500 unrelated black men over age 20 enrolled in the Howard University Family Study, researchers found those who had lived with one parent rather than two as children had higher average blood pressure readings.


Interim President Wayne Frederick talk to the Guardian of Trinidad & Tobago about how Howard University has influenced the African Diaspora

"The things about it that I love are its mission and its motto: truth and service. Howard University has influenced not just the U.S., but the African Diaspora in a major way," said Dr. Wayne Frederick during an interview at the Trinidad & Tobago Guardian recently.

Frederick has had a 25-year relationship with Howard and is just one of many Trinidadians for whom the school is an alma mater. “I think Howard and T&T have had a very fruitful relationship based on some of the luminaries who have spent time on our campus like Eric Williams and Stokley Carmichael (Kwame Ture—people who really went on to influence not just the university, but also had a major impact back in T&T,” he said. 


Gerald L. Stovall, Class of 1957

Dr. Gerald Leonard Stovall M.D. passed away peacefully at home December 3, 2013. The patriarch of the pioneer Stovall family, he was attended to by his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in his last days and his children were at his side when he transitioned. Gerald was born in Los Angeles in 1925. His father Dr. Leonard Stovall, who arrived in Los Angeles from Atlanta around 1895, was the first African-American graduate of USC Medical School and the first African-American physician on staff at General Hospital.

He had a general practice out of two offices in South Los Angeles for many years, and was on staff at County General and later the Hubert Humphrey Clinic. 

He was a gregarious, generous man known for his kindness, charity, and good humor. He had many friends, including the large contingent of fellow Howard alumni that formed the core of the South Los Angeles professional community during the 1960's. He was a 40-year member emeritus of the Xi Boule of Sigma Pi Phi and belonged to the Guardsmen. 

Howell named Chair of Internal Medicine

Charles D. Howell, M.D., AGAF, has been appointed chair of the Howard University Department of Internal Medicine, effective Feb. 10, 2014. As chair, Howell will be responsible for overseeing all academic, clinical and research activities of the department, as well as directing a new interdisciplinary viral hepatitis program that will work to reduce the burden of hepatitis in the Washington metropolitan area. Prior to becoming chair of the department, Howell served as a professor of medicine with tenure and director of hepatology research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“Dr. Howell has an outstanding record of leadership and experience and will play a vital role in transforming the largest academic department in Health Sciences,” said Dr. Mark S. Johnson, Dean of the College of Medicine. “He is a skilled and respected physician with the knowledge and vision to advance the Department of Internal Medicine’s mission of providing high-quality patient-centered care and training future clinicians.” Johnson added, “We would like to thank Dr. Shelly McDonald-Pinkett for her service as interim chair.” 


Interim President Wayne Frederick, MD '94, discusses alumni engagement, future of Howard

Wayne Frederick, MD '94, described himself as being "humbled and honored" as being named Interim President of Howard University in an interview with NBC Viewpoint recently, praising the way that Howard has come together as a community in the face of tough and public challenges over the past summer. He stressed the importance of Howard University Hospital as a site for training Howard students and residents and that it will continue to serve the local community as a critical component of the Howard mission. He noted that in 2013 Howard enrolled the second largest freshman class in 15 years and that the university is currently ahead in applications for this past year, crediting partnerships with community colleges, and Howard's use of technology in the classroom.

Freda Lewis-Hall, Class of 1980, selected to co-host DIA 2014 50th Annual Meeting in San Diego

DIA today announced that two worldwide leaders in the pharmaceutical and medical product development will co-chair the DIA 2014 50th Annual Meeting June 15-19 at the San Diego Convention Center.

Freda C. Lewis-Hall, M.D., chief medical officer and executive vice president of Pfizer Inc., will bring her renowned expertise to strengthen collaboration and advance therapeutic innovation at the meeting.

“Drs. Lewis-Hall has dedicated her career to advancing science and improving health care,” said Barbara Lopez Kunz, DIA’s global chief executive. 

Lewis-Hall leads Pfizer Medical, the division devoted to ensuring the safe, effective and appropriate use of every Pfizer product across the world. Prior to joining Pfizer, Lewis-Hall was a leader in medical affairs and biomedical product development with Vertex, Pharmacia, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Eli Lilly and Company. She also held leadership, clinical, and research positions at the National Institute of Mental Health and the Howard University Hospital and College of Medicine. 

Lansing C. Hillman, Class of 1997, joins Phoebe Convenient Care at Phoebe Northwest in GA

From 2000 to 2004, Dr. Hillman served in active duty in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta. After leaving the Air Force, Dr. Hillman went into private family practice until she returned to Moody to work at the Family Practice Clinic. She then spent a year in private practice in Nashville, Ga. Prior to joining Phoebe, Dr. Hillman was a member of the medical staff at Cook Medical Center and Cook Primary Care in Adel.

Dr. Hillman is a diplomate of the American Board of Family Medicine and is board certified in family medicine.

Nadia Kazim, Class of 2002, speaks at the American Osteopathic Colleges of Opthalmology and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, Inc. in Detroit

Dr. Kazim is an ophthalmic plastic surgeon specializing in eyelid and facial plastic surgery with offices in Bonita Springs.

Dr. Kazim presented a comprehensive review of lower eyelid surgery known as blepharoplasty. Lower eyelid surgery can remove excess skin, fine wrinkles and bags under the eyes, giving a more rested and youthful appearance.

More than 204,000 eyelid surgeries were performed last year, making it the third most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in the U.S.

Carla Pugh, MD '92, Surgical Visionary

In the late 1990s, Dr. Carla Pugh was working the night shift in the emergency room at Howard University Hospital when a stabbing victim was carted in. He was a John Doe: no wallet, no credit cards, no identification, unconscious. Paramedics had placed a bathmat-size piece of gauze on his chest, and when Pugh peered underneath it, she saw a deep slice in his right chest and a lung hanging out. With such extensive injuries, there should have been a lot more bleeding; but with so little blood loss, the man—despite the savage wounds—should have still been awake. They stripped off all the gauze and bandages when Pugh spotted a tiny hole in his chest. She realized the knife must have nicked his heart. Holy crap, Pugh thought. “Put in a chest tube,” she ordered the resident on her team. “If we don’t get a gush of blood we’ll crack his chest.” When no red geyser was forthcoming, they prepped the patient for emergency surgery, inserting a breathing tube to get him oxygenated and help his heart beat.


Dr. Mitchell Spellman, Class of 1944

Mitchell Spellman, MD, PhD, died peacefully at home with his loving wife on November 11, 2013. He was a pioneer among African-Americans in Academic Medicine. From 1954-1968, in Washington, DC, he was a member of the surgical faculty at Howard University College of Medicine, ultimately becoming Professor of Surgery and Chief Medical Officer at DC General Hospital for the Howard University, Division of Surgery. From 1969-1978, in Los Angeles, CA, he served as Founding Dean, Executive Dean and Professor of Surgery at Charles R. Drew Postgraduate Medical School, Assistant Dean and Professor of Surgery at UCLA School of Medicine, and Clinical Professor of Surgery at USC School of Medicine. From 1978-2004, at Harvard Medical School, in Boston, MA, he served as Dean for Medical Services, Professor of Surgery, Director of International Medical Programs and Executive Vice President of the Harvard Medical Center. He was also Director of Academic Alliances and International Exchange Programs for Harvard Medical International.

Dr. Lee V. Leak, HUCM Anatomy Professor

Lee V. Leak, an anatomy professor at Howard University College of Medicine who retired in 2012, died Sept. 11 at his home in Dickerson, Md. He was 81.

Dr. Leak joined the Howard faculty in 1971, established a cell biology lab and was chairman of the anatomy department for a period. 

Early in his career, Dr. Leak was an assistant rpfoessor at Michigan State University and Harvard Medical School. He also worked at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. 

Psychiatry Chair William Lawson discusses continued disparities in diagnoses & treatment of psychiatric disorders

Psychiatry Chair William Lawson, M.D., Ph.D., addressed a session at APA's 2013 Institute on Psychiatric Services in Philadelphia recently, describing the rocky historical relationship between African Americans and the general & mental health care systems. Lawson recalled the 2001 surgeon general's report on mental health, which concluded that blacks were less likely to get mental health services and more likely to get poorer-quality care than whites. "Blacks are more likely to receive no diagnosis or less-optimistic diagnoses, too" said Lawson. "They are diagnosed schizophrenia at a much higher rate than whites, despite research showing no actual differences in rates of occurance, but they receive mood disorder diagnoses less often."

HUCM Student Sharla Peters named 2013-14 U.S. Pharmacopeia Global Fellow

Recognized for establishing quality standards for medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements, the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) announced the selection of its 2013-2014 USP Global Fellows. The Global Fellowship program has awarded $150,000 in research grants to support the work of early-career scientists with the goal of advancing research priorities in small moleculedrugs, biologics, excipients, dietary supplements, and food ingredients that address specific USP scientific or research needs.

Dr. Cynthia K. Abrams, HUCM Associate Professor, Biochemistry

HUCM Biochemistry Associate Professor Cynthia K. Abrams passed in October 2013. A memorial for Dr. Abrams was held on Sunday, October 20 at 12pm at the Young Israel Shomrai Emunah synagogue.

Dr. Phyllis A. Dennery, Class of 1984, elected to the Institute of Medicine

A prominent physician-scientist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Dennery has long been a leading researcher in neonatology. She holds the Werner and Gertrude Henle Endowed Chair in Pediatrics, and is a professor of Pediatrics in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also president of the International Pediatric Research Foundation.

Dr. Edward Cornwell III named Secretary, American College of Surgeons

Edward E. Cornwell III, M.D., FACS, FCCM, has been named Secretary of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Cornwell, Chairman of the Department of Surgery, was honored for this achievement during HUCM's Surgery Grand Rounds on Monday, October 21, along with former chairs of the department, LaSalle D. Leffall Jr., M.D., Clive Callender, M.D., and Wayne A.I. Frederick, M.D., M.B.A. The title of Secretary is the same title that Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Jr. once held, before he became President of the organization. The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient by setting high standards for surgical education and practice.

Wayne Frederick, MD '94, Named Interim President, Howard University

Wayne Frederick, M.D., M.B.A. was named Interim President of Howard University on October 1, 2013. The HUCM Class of 1994 alumnus was formerly the Howard University Provost and Chief Acdemic Officer, while maintaining his practice as a cancer surgeon. In addition to his medical degree, Dr. Frederick also holds a bachelor's in zoology and a master's in business administration, also from Howard University. During his tenure as Interim President, Dr. Frederick would like to focus on retention and graduation rates in the academic arena, the upcoming Center for Academic Excellence as an umbrella for many activities, including the honors programs, and an agreement with Pearson, an education company, for Howard online, to increase Howard's instructional environment.

NHLBI Awards $7 Million Grant to Center for Sickle Cell Disease

The Center for Sickle Cell Disease has received a $7 million program award, the second phase of a Research Centers Program at minority institutions, from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The research program will provide the necessary means to train and engage minority populations in biomedical and translational research. Howard University proposed the creation of the Center for Hemoglobin Research in Minorities (CHaRM), which will build on the existing HBCU Research Scientist Program established at the Center for Sickle Cell Disease. CHaRM will be led by Robert E. Taylor, MD, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology & Medicine, Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and HUCM Dean Emeritus.

Dr. Alvin Robinson, Class of 1939, and renown local obstetrician

Alvin F. Robinson, an obstetrician and gynecologist who delivered thousands of babies in Washington during his more than five-decade career, died Aug. 24 at the District home of his granddaughter, Marianne Robinson Pingree. He was 100.

Dr. Robinson began his practice in 1943 at the old Freedmen's Hospital. In the mid-1950s, he became the first African-American staff physician at the District's Providence Hospital, and later coordinated its residency program. 

Dr. Robinson taught at Howard University College of Medicine for four decades.

Dr. Stephen Newton, Class of 2005, joins Childrens Hospital Colorado as their newsest otolaryngologist

Children’s Hospital Colorado in Colorado Springs hired Dr. Newton in the Department of Otolaryngology, which provides comprehensive ear, nose and throat (ENT) care for children.

The HUMAA Alumni Speaker Series

HUMAA has kicked off the 2013-14 academic year with a new Alumni Speaker Series. Alumni will have the opportunity to give back to the College of Medicine with your time and talent by talking to students about your career path, your specialty and how you got to your current position. The series will take place on Wednesdays from 12.30-1.30pm at the College of Medicine and lunch will be provided. If you are interested in speaking to the students, please contact Philippa Moore at


Dr. Harry June Awarded $1.9 Million NIAAA Grant

Harry L. June, Ph.D., in HUCM's Neuropsychopharmacy Research Laboratories, has been awarded a $1.9 million R01 grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Dr. June contends that "binge drinking is a very serious public health concern in the United States. However, very little is known about the exact mechanisms that regulate binge drinking." Dr. June believes that this research will be successful in leading to the development of novel treatments to reduce binge drinking.

Introducing HUCM's Freshman Class...

The class is made up of 115 students, 57 of whom of women and 58 of whom are men. 

Dr. Cynthia K. Abrams, Associate Professor, Biochemistry

HUCM Biochemistry Associate Professor Cynthia K. Abrams passed in October 2013. A memorial for Dr. Abrams was held on Sunday, October 20 at 12pm at the Young Israel Shomrai Emunah synagogue.

Dr. William B. Lawson Receives APF Award

Dr. William B. Lawson, Professor & Chair of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences received the award for Advancing Minority Mental Health at the American Psychiatric Foundation's annual gala in May in San Francisco. 

Herald-Sun features recent HUCM graduate

The Herald-Sun of Chapel Hill and Durham, North Carolina, featured Class of 2013 graduate Brian Rogers today, and his appointment at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Vivian Pinn, Louis Sullivan speak at 'History of African Americans in the Medical Professions' conference

Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., former Secetary of Health and Human Services (1989-1993), and President Emeritus of Morehouse School of Medicine and Vivian W. Pinn, MD., the first full-time Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the former Chair of Pathology at HUCM spoke about the need to advance diversity in the science and health professions, as well as resources available on blacks in science and health professions.

Louis Stokes Portrait unveiled at National Institutes of Health

A portrait honoring former Congressman Louis Stokes, namesake of HUCM's Stokes Library, was unveiled at the National Institutes of Health in March, followed by a reception. Guests included NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Stokes and his wife Joy, and Dr. Omega Silva, Class of 1967.

HUCM Physicians volunteer to plant gardens and improve childhood nutrition in Southeast DC

“Children will develop better eating habits when they eat what they grow,” said Dr. Michal Young, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Howard University Hospital, and a professor at Howard’s College of Medicine.

Dr. Manisha K. Chahal, Class of 2001, joins the medical staff of Hunterdon Medical Center in Raritan Township, NJ.

She will base her practice at Hunterdon Healthcare’s Center for Advanced Pain Management in Flemington. Dr. Chahal is board certified in anesthesia and pain management. She then spent a year in a pain management fellowship at a tri-institution program that included Cornell, Sloan Kettering and Hospital of Special Surgery.

High School Senior chooses HUCM because of its 'opportunities in science'

Ashley Thompson has spent the last four years of her academic career gaining hands-on experience through summer internships with the pathology department at Howard University College of Medicine — where, she said, she watched an autopsy. And from that moment, she knew she wanted to become a medical examiner.

Dr. Lisa Perry-Gilkes, Class of 1984, elected President of the Medical Association of Atlanta

Dr. Perry-Gilkes is the first African-American woman elected to the role.

2013 HUCM Match Day Information Released

The 2013 Match Day information has been released. Click to see which graduating student is going where.

Dr. Tiffany Hendricks, Class of 2003, opens her first practice in Madison, A

At nine years old, Hendricks realized she wanted to help people through medicine. During medical school, she was introduced to various specialties. She felt family medicine focused on identifying what’s wrong with the patient — not just finding the disease.

J. Herbert Niles, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., gives the 50th Anniversary Alumni Reunion Lecture

Dr. J. Herbert Niles, Class of 1963, gave the alumni reunion lecture on on May 8, 2013, the 50th anniversary of his graduation. His discussion focused on the historical discrimination against African American physicians and the key figures who were instrumental in opening the door of opportunity for future generations.

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