CONTACT: Stacie B. Royster
Media Relations Manager
Washington, D.C. – On Friday, May 19, 2006 at noon, Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert, along with Howard University Hospital physicians, nurses and staff will honor LaSalle D. Leffall Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S., during a reception in the Towers Auditorium of the Hospital, 2041 Georgia Avenue, NW.
University faculty, staff, and students, will also celebrate Dr. Leffall’s accomplishments and contributions as Swygert presents him with an official University citation. An internationally-renowned physician, teacher and author, Dr. Leffall has dedicated his professional life to the study of cancer, especially as it relates to African-Americans, and particularly cancers of the breast, colorectal, head and neck.
Dr. Leffall performed his final round of surgeries May 16 & 17 after more than 50 years. On Tuesday, May 16, he was lauded with a human “Hall of Gratitude,” following a marathon round of seven surgeries along with his successor, Wayne Frederick, M.D. Physicians, residents and staff lined the hallway outside of the Operating Room to applaud and thank Dr. Leffall.
He will continue to see patients and teach at Howard, which he describes as his greatest honor. “I am grateful to teach others that: ‘Without health, nothing in life means anything,’” he said. “I have had the opportunity to use all the resources available to me to address health disparities, to keep – and teach others to keep – an open mind and to always strive for excellence."
As a medical educator, Dr. Leffall has taught more than 5,000 medical students who have graduated from the Howard University College of Medicine (of 7,500 graduates since the medical school’s founding in 1868) and has helped train more than 250 general surgery residents since 1962. A graduate of the College Medicine, Dr. Leffall ranked first in his class in 1952.
He is currently the Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery, a designation he received in 1992. It is the first endowed chair in Howard’s Department of Surgery.
Beyond Howard’s campus, Dr. Leffall has received numerous awards and accolades, including honorary degrees at 11 institutions. Additionally, he was the first African-American president of the American Cancer Society, the Society of Surgical Oncology, the Society of Surgical Chairmen, the Washington Academy of Surgery and the American College of Surgeons. In 2003, Dr. Leffall was elected an Honorary Fellow of The Royal College of Surgeons of England. He is the current board chair of the Susan G. Komen
Breast Cancer Foundation and is chair of the President’s Cancer Panel, where he works with cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong.
He has been a visiting professor and guest lecturer at more than 200 medical institutions throughout the United States and around the world. He has authored or coauthored more than 130 articles and chapters. His autobiography, “No Boundaries: A Cancer Surgeon’s Odyssey,” was published in October 2005.
Both Armstrong and former President George H.W. Bush offered comments in “No Boundaries.” “It’s been an honor for Barbara and me to get to know LaSalle through our mutual association with a cancer group called 'C-Change,'” said Bush. “His leadership – strong, quiet, and steady – has inspired us all to do more to conquer cancer. His friendship has meant even more. He is a role model for all generations, but especially for young people still trying to figure out how to make a difference. LaSalle certainly has.”
“Dr. Leffall is a true champion in the fight against cancer. His admirable service to people with cancer exemplifies the power of compassion and wisdom – and the necessity of delivering good medicine with a healthy dose of hope,” offered Lance Armstrong.
Even though he is “passing the mantel” in surgery, Leffall will continue his organizational duties and maintain his busy practice, in addition to his love – teaching.
About Howard University Hospital
Howard University Hospital has served the Washington community since 1862. A major level one trauma center for more than 20 years, the Hospital is the leader in training more African-American physicians than any other institution in the country. Howard University Hospital is a pioneering research institution in Cancer, Sickle Cell and Diabetes, and is Washington D.C.’s first designated regional transplant center. For more information on Howard University Hospital, call 202-865-6100, or visit www.huhosp.org
About Howard University
Howard University is one of 48 U.S. private, Doctoral/Research-Extensive universities and comprises 12 schools and colleges. Founded in 1867, students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, a Truman Scholar, 13 Fulbright Scholars and nine Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D.s than any other university in the world. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the university’s Web site at www.Howard.edu.