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Howard’s legendary LaSalle Leffall still going strong at 85

It was his 85th birthday and LaSalle Leffall, a retired surgeon who still make makes rounds and lectures, was in the auditorium of the Howard University Hospital lecturing surgical residents about remaining calm when they encounter tense moments in the OR. Then he quoted from “Aequanimitas: A Biographical Note,” which was written by medical pioneer Sir William Osler.


In Memoriam: John C. Norman (1930–2014)

The Texas Heart Institute community is saddened by the loss of John C. Norman, MD, who died at age 84 on 23 August 2014. He was the first director of the THI Cullen Cardiovascular Surgical Research Laboratories and was the founder and first editor-in-chief of this journal.


Levi Watkins, Jr., MD: In Memoriam

Over the course of the last few weeks much has been written mourning, remembering, and honoring the life and legacy of Levi Watkins, Jr., MD, retired Associate Dean for Post-doctoral Programs and Faculty Development and Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. I am honored to represent his fellow African American surgeons, who shared professional membership and fellowship with him in the Surgical Section of the National Medical Association and the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, in the writing of this epitaph upon his great legacy and our memory.


2015 Call for Abstracts
Surgical Section-National Medical Association
Drew-Walker Resident Research Symposium

On behalf of the SS-NMA Chair, Patricia Turner, MD, FACS, I would like to formally open our abstract submission process for the 2015 Drew Walker Symposium in Detroit, Michigan. The Drew Walker Symposium will be held on Sunday, August 2, 2014 from 1 – 3:30 pm. The deadline for abstracts will now be June 1, 2015. Abstracts should be a maximum of 350 words and one figure. The abstract should be structured into the following sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. Abstracts can be submitted to I look forward to receiving abstracts for this year’s symposium and seeing each of you in Motown.

The Drew-Walker Resident Research Symposium is named after Charles R. Drew, MD and Matthew Walker, MD, outstanding exemplars of excellence in academic surgery. The Symposium facilitates scientific discussion and also career mentorship. The Surgical Section of the National Medical Association was founded in 1906 and serves as an essential organization for minority surgeons.

Thank you,
Mallory Williams, MD, MPH, FACS
Drew-Walker Resident Research Symposium

Vice Dean for Diversity and Inclusion Opportunity - Chicago

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Click here for information.

Vascular/Endovascular Surgeon Opportunity - New York

TWe are currently representing a, well-established, private group near New York City, with their search for a vascular surgeon with experience or an interest in endovascular procedures.

The practice offers:

  • An aggressive financial package which includes guaranteed base plus production incentive
  • Easy call schedule consisting of mainly phone consults
  • 36 month track to Partnership
  • 4 weeks of vacation, a comprehensive benefits package, sign-on bonus and relocation reimbursement.
  • An opportunity to experience living in one of the most exciting areas in the country

If you or any of your colleagues are interested in finding out more about this opportunity please contact me by using any of the information listed below. All inquires will be held in the strictest confidence.

Michaéla Green
Recruitment Consultant
P: 877-842-6833
C: 816-876-8595

Drew-Walker Symposium Winners Announced!

The Drew-Walker Resident Paper Competition was held on Sunday, August 3, 2014, in Honolulu, Hawaii, in conjunction with the Annual Scientific Symposium of the Surgical Section. Ten podium presentations and 3 poster presentations comprised the symposium, which was moderated by Mallory Williams, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Surgery, University of Toledo Medical Center. All of the presentations were excellent, making the task of the judges to select only 4 winners extremely difficult. Read More

Death of Frank O. Richards, Sr.

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Dr. Frank O. Richards, Sr., longtime member of the Surgical Section. Please follow this link ( to read more about his life and career, and the substantial contributions he made to his community.

Remembrances would be appreciated to the Dr. Frank O. Richards Medical Student Scholarship Prize, which provides financial support to African-American medical students at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. Checks should be made payable to: Washington University Frank O. Richards Sr. Prize, and sent to Washington University, Attention: Pamela Morris, 7425 Forsyth Blvd., Campus Box 1247, St. Louis, Mo. 63105

2014 NIH/NMA Travel Awards Program

The 2014 NIH/NMA Travel Awards Program provides an opportunity for selected residents and fellows, who are interested in careers in academic medicine, to attend the NMA Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly and participate in a special 1.5 day NIH workshop on Career Development in Academic Medicine. This year's Convention will be held August 2-6, 2014, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Other program benefits include:

  • Complimentary conference registration
  • Round trip airfare (economy)
  • Up to 5 nights of hotel accommodations
  • Per diem for ground transportation and meals
  • Attendance at a special one and half day NIH Workshop on Career Development in Academic Medicine

In order to apply for this opportunity, individuals:

  • Must be interested in membership in the National Medical Association
  • Must be residents, fellows, post-doctoral scientists, or early stage investigators
  • Must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, or legal permanent residents
  • Must members of nationally underrepresented groups in biomedical or behavioral research science
  • Must not have received travel support under this announcement in previous years

The deadline for applications is April 15, 2014. For more information, including how to apply, click here, or contact:

Delia L. Houseal, M.P.H.
Scientific Program Specialist
Office of Minority Health Research Coordination

This program is sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), in conjunction with the Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Medical Association (NMA).

John W.V. Cordice, M.D.

John W.V. Cordice, M.D.Dr. John W.V. Cordice, a New York City surgeon who was part of the medical team that saved Martin Luther King Jr. from a nearly fatal stab wound in 1958, died Sunday at the age of 95.

The death was announced Tuesday by the city agency that oversees Harlem Hospital Center, where Dr. Cordice was formerly an attending surgeon and chief of thoracic surgery.

"He was a brilliant clinical practitioner, a wise and thoughtful teacher, and a man of deep and abiding kindness and quiet modesty," said Alan D. Aviles, president of city Health and Hospitals Corp. "It is entirely consistent with his character that many who knew him may well not have known that he was also a part of history."

Dr. Cordice, a native of Durham., N.C., was off duty when King was taken to the hospital after being stabbed by a mentally disturbed woman as he signed books in Harlem. The blade, a letter opener, was still stuck in the civil rights leader’s chest, millimeters from his aorta, when Dr. Cordice arrived from Brooklyn.

The operation to remove the 7-inch piece of steel was overseen by Dr. Aubre Maynard, the hospital’s chief surgeon, and performed by Dr. Cordice and Dr. Emil Naclerio.

King, then 29 and already a name in national politics, was discharged 14 days later. He was assassinated in 1968.

"I think if we had lost King that day, the whole civil rights era would have been different," Dr. Cordice said in a Harlem Hospital promotional video in 2012.

In his final public speech, King talked about that close brush with mortality, noting the blade’s close proximity to his vital organs.

"If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been around here in 1960, when students all over the South started sitting-in at lunch counters," he said. "If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been around here in 1961, when we decided to take a ride for freedom and ended segregation in interstate travel . . . If I had sneezed I wouldn’t have been here in 1963, when the black people of Birmingham, Ala., aroused the conscience of this nation, and brought into being the Civil Rights Bill. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have had a chance later that year, in August, to try to tell America about a dream that I had had."

Dr. Cordice earned his medical degree at New York University and practiced medicinein the city for 40 years. He lived in Harlem and then Queens, where he was a surgicalchief at the Queens Hospital Center. Click here for the eulogy.

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