In Memoriam: Former Howard University Surgeon, Educator and Civic Leader

Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Jr., M.D. ’52, who was an icon of Howard University and the medical community, died in May 2019. He was a surgeon par excellence, oncologist, medical educator, civic leader and mentor.

Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Jr., M.D.

In 1962, Dr. Leffall began his tenure at Howard University as assistant professor, and only eight years later, became the chairman of the Department of Surgery—a position he held for 25 years.

Throughout his career, he was a trailblazing leader, becoming the first African American to serve in a leadership position at several organizations in the medical field. He was the first African American to serve as president of the American Cancer Society, the Society of

Surgical Oncology, the Society of Surgical Chairmen, and the American College of Surgeons. He lectured at more than 200 medical institutions across the country, taught more than 6,000 medical students and trained more than 300 surgical residents.

Dr. Leffall’s teaching honors at Howard are unmatched as he received the prestigious honored faculty award from the College of Medicine more than 30 times. His academic contributions include articles in more than 150 publications and three books, and he held more 200 visiting professorships internationally.

He held 14 honorary degrees from American universities and honorary fellowships from six international colleges of surgeons




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