Leffall Returns to Chair World’s Largest Cancer Organization

WASHINGTON (April 5) ­­­– Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, one of the world’s pre-eminent and highly regarded surgical oncologists and a Howard University icon, will chair of the board of directors of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, for a second term.

Leffall, the Charles R. Drew professor of Surgery at Howard University College of Medicine and former chair of the Department of Surgery at Howard University Hospital and the College of Medicine, held the position previously from 2002 to 2007. He succeeds Alexine Clement Jackson as board chair and will serve for two years.

Leffall, who in his many years of service has taught two-thirds of all graduates from the College of Medicine, is one of the world’s leading medical educators and leader in professional and civic organizations.   He is the current chair of the President’s Cancer Panel, a position he also held under former President George W. Bush.

Nancy G. Brinker, founder and CEO of Komen for the Cure and former U.S. ambassador to Hungary, praised Leffall for his skills and his leadership.

“Dr. Leffall is highly respected as an extraordinary surgeon, oncologist and educator who demonstrates each day his passion to end suffering from this disease,” Brinker said. “We value his demonstrated leadership ability in guiding our family of staff, volunteers, grantees, partners and advocates around the world, and we know that under his leadership once again, Komen will move closer to discovering and delivering the cures for breast cancer.”

Leffall said one of the greatest gifts that Komen gives people around the world facing breast cancer is hope.

 “When you grant patients hope, you grant them one of the greatest of all human joys, and that’s the joy of anticipation that perhaps, just maybe, there’s something that can be done to help them,” Leffall said at a Komen event last October.

Leffall’s professional life has been devoted to the study of cancer, particularly among African Americans. In his former position as national president of the American Cancer Society, he launched a program focusing on the increasing incidence and mortality of cancer in this community and the implications for other racial and ethnic groups.

In 2006, Susan G. Komen for the Cure established the LaSalle D. Leffall Jr. Komen Fellowship in Health Disparities to support the participation of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in the field of breast cancer.

Leffall has received 14 honorary degrees from American universities, including Howard, Georgetown and Princeton universities. He is an Honorary Fellow of several organizations, including the West African College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He has inspired students and faculty as a visiting professor and guest lecturer at more than 200 medical institutions in the United States and has authored or coauthored more than 150 articles and book chapters. Leffall is also a member of the board of trustees for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Leffall received is medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine, where he ranked first in his class. He completed his surgical training at Freedmen’s Hospital, now Howard University Hospital, and then took a surgical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.


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