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Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick Appointed as Charles R. Drew Endowed Chair of Surgery

Collage of headshots of Dr. Charles R. Drew, Dr Lesalle Leffall and Dr. Wayne Frederick

WASHINGTON – The Howard University Board of Trustees has selected President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA to serve as the distinguished Charles R. Drew Endowed Chair of Surgery.  Dr. Frederick succeeds the late Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr. as the second person appointed to the prestigious position.

“It is my distinct pleasure as newly elected board chair to have guided this nomination through our approval process,” said Board Chairman Dr. Laurence C. Morse. “Dr. Frederick has done an outstanding job in his role as university president and he continues to make a difference in the medical arena through his work as a surgical oncologist and mentor to many young physicians training in the College of Medicine. Dr. Frederick’s public stature will also enhance the University’s substantial strength in surgery as well as stimulate retention of highly qualified black surgeons and scholars. We look forward to his continued role of service through this chair appointment.”

The Charles R. Drew Endowed Chair of Surgery was established in the Howard University College of Medicine in the early 1990’s as a memorial to one of the most prominent African Americans in medicine, Dr. Charles R. Drew.  Dr. Drew was a faculty member and head of the Department of Surgery at Howard University and Chief of Surgery at Freedman’s Hospital, now Howard University Hospital, before his tragic death in a car accident on April 1, 1950 at the age of 46 years old.  During the course of his short life, Dr. Drew logged many “firsts.”  He attended Columbia University on a Rockefeller Fellowship and was the first African American to earn a doctorate degree from Columbia in 1940, following his award of both Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery degrees from McGill University in 1933.  Dr. Drew was a medical research pioneer whom history recognizes for his invention of techniques to process and store blood plasma making the establishment of blood banks possible for the first time in the U.S. and Great Britain under his leadership, saving thousands of lives during World War II, and many millions since.  Dr. Drew was awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal and was the first African American surgeon selected to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery. 

“The family of Dr. Drew takes pride that Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, son of Howard University, will now be named as the Charles R. Drew Endowed Chair of Surgery at the Howard University College of Medicine,” said Charlene Drew Jarvis, daughter of Dr. Drew.“My father’s mantra was, ‘Excellence of performance will transcend any artificial barriers created by man.’  Dr. Frederick has displayed that excellence of performance throughout his career and has exhibited an extraordinary reach of his intellect, as did Dr. Drew in his tragically very short life.”

“It is indeed a great honor to be selected as the Charles R. Drew Endowed Chair of Surgery, to follow in the footsteps of my mentor and friend, the late Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Jr., the first appointee to this chair position who was trained by Dr. Drew, and to keep the legacy of Dr. Drew alive for present and future generations,” saidDr. Frederick. “Like Dr. Drew, Dr. Leffall’s contributions to Howard University and to the medical field at large are unmatched.  I am grateful for the trailblazing path they created for surgeons like myself and others to follow. ”

Howard University surgeon-in-chief, Dr. Edward Cornwell, said he sees many parallels in the careers of Dr. Drew, Dr. Leffall and Dr. Frederick through their dedication to their trainees. Dr. Drew trained Dr. Leffall; Dr. Leffall trained Dr. Frederick and their passion for training Black doctors will continue for generations to come. As a former College of Medicine student himself, Dr. Cornwell recalls vividly how Dr. Leffall kept the memory of his mentor, Dr. Charles R. Drew, alive through every presentation delivered to young students aspiring to become surgeons. 

 “Each of us has a working, inspirational knowledge about Dr. Drew’s mantra because of Dr. Leffall, who kept him alive through every student rotation for 60 years. You could not have graduated Howard University College of Medicine without hearing Dr. Leffall’s inspirational message of Dr. Drew’s mantra,” said Cornwell. “Today, Dr. Frederick could easily be described, as Dr. Drew was described, as ‘someone with a biologic clock of untold energy and personality marked by charm and wit.’ The torch has been passed and the baton could not be in better hands than Wayne Frederick.”

Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick was appointed the 17thpresident of Howard University in 2014. He previously served as provost and chief academic officer. A distinguished scholar and administrator, Dr. Frederick has advanced Howard University’s commitment to student opportunity, academic innovation, public service, and fiscal stability. Following his post-doctoral research and surgical oncology fellowships at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Frederick began his academic career as associate director of the Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut. Upon his return to Howard University, his academic positions included associate dean in the College of Medicine, division chief in the Department of Surgery, director of the Cancer Center and deputy provost for Health Sciences. 

Dr. Frederick has received various awards honoring his scholarship and service. In April 2020, he was chosen as the first-ever recipient of the Educator Award by the Lowell F. Hawthorne Foundation, Inc. Last year, Dr. Frederick was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for his contributions to the medical field.  In January 2020, the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors elected him to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Most recently, Dr. Frederick was appointed to the Board of Directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Humana Inc. He is a member of surgical and medical associations, including the American Surgical Association and the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Frederick resides in Maryland with his wife, Simone, and their two children, Kirie and Wayne, II.

“Given Dr. Frederick’s relentless determination to foster excellence in the Department of Surgery, the community, and the University, it is a distinct honor to have Dr. Frederick serve as the Drew Chair, following in the footsteps of  his mentor Dr. Lefall.” said Dean of the College of Medicine Hugh E. Mighty, M.D.“Dr. Frederick’s public stature will also enhance the University’s overall healthcare mission as well as stimulate retention of highly qualified black surgeons and scholars.”

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