Surgeon, oncologist, medical educator, professional and civic leader Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr. is the Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery at Howard University College of Medicine. Now in his 44th year on the school's faculty, he has taught approximately 4,500 medical students (of 7,500 graduates since the medical school's founding in 1868) and helped train 260 of 296 general surgery residents.
Dr. Leffall received his B.S. with high honors from Florida A&M College and his M.D. from Howard University College of Medicine, ranking first in his class. He was an intern at Homer G. Phillips Hospital; assistant resident in surgery and later chief resident in surgery at Freedmen's Hospital; assistant resident in surgery at D.C. General Hospital; and senior fellow in cancer surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Dr. Leffall began his military career at the rank of captain, M.C., serving as chief of general surgery, U.S. Army Hospital in Munich. His membership on Howard University College of Medicine's faculty began in 1962 as assistant
professor; and continued through appointments as professor, acting dean and, in 1970, chairman of the Department of Surgery, a position he held for 25 years. In 1992, he was named the Charles R. Drew Professor, the first
endowed chair in the school's Department of Surgery.
As national president of the American Cancer Society in 1979, Dr. Leffall launched a groundbreaking program to draw attention to the increasing incidence and mortality of cancer among African Americans, and its implications for similar studies for other racial and ethnic minorities. His major areas of interest are soft-part sarcomas; and cancer of the breast, colorectum, and head and neck.
In 1998, Dr. Leffall became chairman of the steering committee of the National Dialogue on Cancer (now named C Change), a committee co-chaired by former President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush. The Dialogue represents a group of 140 partners from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors who are dedicated to eradicating cancer as a major health problem at the earliest possible time. In 2002, President George W. Bush named Dr. Leffall chairman of the President's Cancer Panel, a three-member group that oversees the national cancer program and reports directly to the president.
Dr. Leffall is a diplomate of the American Board of Surgery, and a fellow of both the American College of Surgeons and the American College of Gastroenterology (he was named Honorary Lifetime member in 1998 to the latter). Dr. Leffall has served as visiting professor and guest lecturer at more than 200 medical institutions worldwide. In 2005, Howard University Press published his memoirs, No Boundaries -- A Cancer Surgeon's Odyssey.