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Life Stories: Breaking Ground in Minority Donation

Clive O. Callender, MD Clive O. Callender, MD

Donation Professional: Washington, DC

Professor of Surgery, Howard University
Founder, National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP)
Founder, National Minority Donor Awareness Day, Aug. 1

Throughout his career as a surgeon and professor, Dr. Callender has been a passionate donation advocate, encouraging and educating minority communities about the critical need for organ, eye, and tissue donation, and promoting better health among minorities to help reduce the need for transplantation.

His interest began when he received his transplant surgical training in 1969. Four years later, Dr. Callender founded the Howard University Hospital Transplant Center, the first minority-operated center in the United States.

In 1991, Dr. Callender helped to found National MOTTEP to increase the number of minority donors. Five years later, he created National Minority Donor Awareness Day, a yearly observance on August 1st, to raise awareness of the urgent need for organ, eye, and tissue donors from minority populations.

Over the last 15 years, the number of minority donors has doubled, which Dr. Callender finds gratifying.

Over the last 15 years, the number of minority donors has doubled, which Dr. Callender finds gratifying. "When we started this effort, we were told that minorities don't donate organs—we've proven that wrong," he notes. "Instead, we've learned that by overcoming common misconceptions and creating awareness about organ donation, communities come together and help take care of each other."

Today, as a leading African American transplant surgeon, Professor of Surgery at Howard University, and an expert in donation and transplantation among minorities, Dr. Callender has received many honors and awards. But it is his dream to be remembered as a God-fearing surgeon who reached the "unreachable stars."

 


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