instilling professionalism

clive callender, Ph.D.

November 6, 2012


Who was the first in his graduating class at Meharry Medical College in 1963? Who was the first physician to perform a transplant at Howard University Hospital? Who founded the Howard University Hospital Transplant Center? Who helped establish the first National Organ/Tissue Donor Program in the United States? Who founded the first national organization to increase minority organ and tissue donation rates through prevention and intervention? Who was appointed the first LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr. Professor of Surgery at Howard’s College of Medicine?

Of course, it was Dr. Clive Callender, Howard University Professor of Surgery. Throughout his career, Dr. Callender has distinguished himself as a leader in the campaign to reverse the shortage of transplants among minorities. “More than half of the people waiting for the gift of life are minorities,” Callender says. “Imagine how many more lives could be saved or enhanced, how many families would have more time together, if there were simply more donors from every ethnicity.” Adopting a two-pronged solution, his National Minority Organ/Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP) focuses on “prevention and intervention” by conducting and disseminating research on factors that may lead to renal disease and by increasing minority donation rates. According to his official biography, national Gallup polls suggest that Dr. Callender’s work with the National Organ/Tissue Donor Program contributed to “a tripling of both the number of Blacks signing donor cards and the number of Blacks aware of the highly successful nature of transplantation.” In addition, his work with MOTTEP contributed to “the increase in minority donation rates from 15% in 1990 to 30% in 2008.”

However, many of Dr. Callender’s admirers may not know that this “man of many firsts” was also the first chair of the College of Medicine’s Task Force on Professionalism (TFOP), a task force charged with fostering a culture of professionalism and developing a curriculum to promote professionalism among students, staff, and faculty. It would be difficult to find a better qualified candidate for chair, for Dr. Callender exhibits all of the attributes that he identifies as components of professionalism: courtesy, politeness, respect, responsibility, accountability, excellence, scholarship, honor, integrity, altruism, leadership, cultural competency, confidentiality, caring, and compassion.

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