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Black History Month: Hear from Clive Callender, MD, FACS

Feb 21, 2024, 17:51 PM by Clive Callender, MD, FACS

Dr. Clive CallenderI am Dr. Clive Callender. I decided to pursue transplant surgery after a short (1970-1971) medical missionary involvement in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. My experience as a medical missionary was very fruitful, but I lost 50 pounds. I then spent 1971-1973 training to become a kidney transplant surgeon under Dr. John Najarian and Dr. Richard Simmons. This was followed by training under Dr. Thomas Starzl in Pittsburgh to become a liver transplant surgeon in 1987. Dr. William E. Matory and Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Jr, and Dr. Jesse Barber at the Howard University College of Medicine were my greatest influences, and their training guides me each and every day. My 50 years as a transplant surgeon have been very rewarding, as I have been able to decrease some of the discrimination and racial inequities that were so rampant when I first entered transplantation as one of the first black transplant surgeons (following Dr. Samuel Kountz and Dr. Joseph Alexander). I was often the only voice of color. Over time, I learned that fighting for right within the system was an effective way to make change. My being a transplant surgeon allowed me to bring hope to patients who had no hope and to help make a transplant system that was grossly inequitable, more equitable. I also developed The National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP), which helped triple the African American organ donor rate and double the minority organ donor rate. My contribution to transplantation lies in the fact that I, as a Black transplant surgeon, have helped us appreciate the power of an educated community, which is one of the most powerful change agents we have.

Watch Dr. Callender's Chimera Chronicles feature to learn more about his story!

Clive Callender, MD, FACS is a Professor of Surgery at the Howard University College of Medicine and the Founder and President of The National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP).