National Institute on Aging

In Memoriam: Mitchell Wright Spellman, 1919-2013

spellmanMitchell W. Spellman, a pioneer in African American medical education, died at his home on November 11 at the age of 93. He suffered from a rare neurodegenerative disease.

Dr. Spellman, the son of a medical doctor, was a native of Alexandria, Louisiana. He was the valedictorian of the Class of 1940 at Dillard University in New Orleans and went on to earn a medical degree at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he was second in his class. He then underwent 11 years of training in surgery,

Dr. Spellman joined the faculty at the Howard University College of Medicine in 1954. In 1969 he was named the founding dean and professor of surgery at the Charles R. Drew medical school in Los Angeles. He also taught at the medical schools at the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Southern California. From 1978 to 204, Dr. Spellman was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and served as dean for medical services, director of international medical programs, and executive vice president of the Harvard Medical Center.


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