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Press Release  
Release Date: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 5:10 PM
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Media Contact:
Monica Y. Queen
Senior Communications and Marketing Specialist

WASHINGTON (April 1, 2014) – The Howard University Department of Surgery will host the 44th Annual Drew/Syphax Lecture and Seminar and the 20th Annual LaSalle D. Leffall Surgical Symposium on Monday, April 7, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Towers Auditorium at Howard University Hospital.

Dr. Ali Salim, professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and chief of the Division of Trauma, Burns and Surgical Critical Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, will be the guest speaker at the lecture and seminar, which honor Dr. Charles R. Drew and Dr. Burke Syphax and focus on the latest surgical topics and research.

The symposium honoring Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, which annually updates physicians and other healthcare professionals on the latest surgical topics and research, will feature three panelists: Lynt B. Johnson, M.D., FACS, chair of the Department of Surgery at Georgetown University Hospital; John J. Ricotta, M.D., FACS, chair of the Department of Surgery at Washington Hospital Center; and Anton N. Sidway, M.D. FACS, chair of the Department of Surgery at George Washington University Medical Center.

Dr. Drew came to the Howard University College of Medicine as an instructor in pathology in 1935. He developed improved techniques for blood storage that led to the creation of large-scale blood banks early in World War II. His discovery allowed medics to save thousands of lives of the Allied troops. He became professor and head of the Department of Surgery at Howard University Hospital in 1941. In 1943, Drew became the first black surgeon selected as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery.

Dr. Syphax received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1932 from Howard University and his medical degree in 1936 from Howard University College of Medicine. He became an instructor in surgery at Howard University Hospital in 1942. Syphax served as professor and chairman of the department from 1958 to1970. In 1944, he became one of the first black surgeons to become certified by the American Board of Surgery.

Dr. Leffall received his medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine, where he ranked first in his class. He completed his surgical training at Freedmen’s Hospital, now Howard University Hospital, and then took a surgical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He was the first African-American president of the American Cancer Society, Society of Surgical Oncology, Society of Surgical Chairmen, the Washington Academy of Surgery and the American College of Surgeons. In 1992, he was named the Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery, a position that he still holds.


Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at

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