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History of the Program

Although instruction in the College of Medicine began in 1868, the first orthopaedic activity at Howard University was a clinic started in 1905 at Freedmen's Hospital by Dr. Robert Rayburn, who was dean of the College of Medicine and professor of hygiene. During the next school year, the Clinic was taken over by Dr. William G. Erwing, the first professor of orthopaedics, who initiated a lecture course in fractures and dislocations in 1908. Senior students were assigned to the Clinics in 1916, an assignment that has continued to this time. The orthopaedic section, organizationally, became a Division of the Department of Surgery in 1910.


In 1921 orthopaedics was organized as a Department with Professor Erwin as chief and Dr. John A. Talbot, (M.D. George Washington 1905), 1882-1967, as Assistant. Dr. Talbot received orthopaedic training at the Army Medical School in Washington and at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.(1)


Following the death of Dr. Ewing in 1923, Dr. Talbot became associate professor and chief of the Orthopaedic Department. In 1930 the section again became a Division within the Department of Surgery. The staff was increased with the addition of three clinical assistants. Dr. P. Penhallow (M.D. Howard '06), Dr. Phillip T. Johnson, (M.D. Howard '24), and Dr. Willis C. Johnson (M.D. Howard '20).


Dr. Julius NeviaserIn 1931 Dr. Julius S. Neviaser (M.D. George Washington, '27), who had completed orthopaedic training at the New York Hospital for joint Disease, was appointed to the staff.

During the next several years a number of men were appointed and served for varying periods of time: Drs. James R. Porter (M.D. Howard '29); Smallwood Ackiss (M.D. Howard '25); Richmond S. Lane (M.D. Howard '30); Webster Sewell (M.D. Howard '30); James S. Walker (M.D. Howard '32); Henry S. Robinson, Jr. (M.D. Howard '30); Edward S. Jones (M.D. Howard '29); and Theodore Pinckney (Indiana '29). Drs. Robinson, Jones and Pinckney have continued to play an active role in the Division.


Dr. Phillip T. Johnson became chief of the Division in 1938. Through his efforts the Orthopaedic Clinic increased in volume and rendered an outstanding service, not only to the Washington, D. C. community, but to residents of the neighboring states as well. During this time the separate, but equal doctrine was acceptable and Negro patients were referred to Freedmen's Hospital from adjoining states when separate facilities were not available. Dr. Johnson reorganized the lecture course and developed a series of lectures for student nurses.


In 1941 Dr. Johnson and Dr. Pinckney resigned to serve with the Armed Forces during World War II. Dr. Henry S. Robinson served as acting chief of the Division during the next two years and has continued to render valuable service.


Dr. Julius Neviaser assumed the chair of the Orthopaedic Division in 1943 and advanced the level of residency training. As a result, the program was fully
accredited by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. This made Freedmen's Hospital the only institution in the country where Negroes could routinely obtain approved training. The program provided orthopaedic experience for general surgical residents who rotated through the service, but was primarily designed for the training of orthopaedic residents.


In 1943, an elective course in Podiatry was offered under the direction of Dr. Alex C. Levin (Temple, D.S.C.). Although this course is no longer in the curriculum, a podiatry clinic in Freedmen's Hospital was established under the auspices of Dr. Muriel Osborne (POD.D. Long Island), 1944 and Dr. Emmett Miller (POD.D. M. J. Lewi, 1951). Following Dr. Miller's death in 1965, Dr. Robert L. Cartwright (O.S.C. Temple, 1958), joined the staff. The clinic continues to render valuable service as a subdivision of the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery. For a number of years the Physical Therapy Service also was administratively and professionally supervised by the chairman of the Orthopaedic Division. After the University obtained a physiatrist, Physical Medicine became an autonomous Department in 1962.


Although Dr. Neviaser, Clinical Professor Emeritus, is no longer active, credit is due to his outstanding efforts on behalf of Orthopaedics at Howard University and Freedmen's Hospital. It was he who laid the cornerstone.


Dr. Robert GladdenDr. J. Robert Gladden (M.D., Meharry, 1939), became the first full time orthopaedic resident. Dr. Gladden continued to pioneer in the specialty and in 1949 became the first Negro certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and the first of his race elected to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.


In the years that immediately followed, Drs. John Hume (M.D., Howard 1940), John Manley, (M.D., Howard 1935), E. N. Wiggins (M.D., Howard, 1944), progressed through the training program. Dr. Hume, in 1952 and Dr. Manley, in 1953, gained full certification by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. Today, both serve in responsible positions, Dr. Hume as chief of orthopaedics at Veterans Administration Hospital and John A. Andrew Hospital at Tuskegee, Alabama, and Dr. Manley as chief of orthopaedics at Veterans Administration Hospital, Brooklyn, New York.


In 1950 Dr. J. Robert Gladden was appointed clinical assistant professor and chief of the Division. A number of men received all or part of their training in the program during the next decade. Dr. Laszlo Ormandy (Franz Joseph Medical School, Hungary, 1936), served for a time on the staff as clinical instructor. It was during this period that for the first time residents from Freedmen's Hospital rotated through the District of Columbia General Hospital and Mt. Alto Veterans Administration Hospital. In 1960 the Orthopaedic Service at D.C. General Hospital was divided into three separate divisions and Howard University became a separate service. This was also the period of hospital integration and the volume and variety of patients progressively declined at Freedmen's Hospital. Eventually, the accreditation became more dependent upon the affiliations. Among the residents that completed the
program were the following


Francis L. Smith - M.D., Howard 1951

Elroy Young - M.D., Meharry, 1951

Walter Morris - M.D., Howard, 1952

Charles H. Epps, Jr.- M.D., Howard, 1955

William Russell - M.D., Howard, 1953

Ernest Martin - M.D., Howard, 1956

All of these former residents have completed Part I of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Smith joined teaching staff in 1954 after completing his training and was followed by Drs. Epps and Martin. All of these men are active today.


Dr. Charles EppsDr. Epps was certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery in 1964 and became a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 1966. In 1960 Dr. Russell Anderson (M.D., Pittsburgh, 1954), joined the staff. As the result of construction of a new preclinical building, the medical classes were increased to 100 students. Undergraduate orthopaedic instruction was also shifted to the District of Columbia General Hospital. There, students took an active part in the patient care in the wards, clinics, and operating rooms.


Chairmanship of the Division at Howard was passed to Dr. Epps in 1964. In the next year, the student teaching program was strengthened by including outside conferences at local hospitals including Walter Reed General Hospital, Casualty and the Veterans Administration Hospital. However, the patient load at Freedmen's Hospital continued to decline.


The accreditation for residency training at Freedmen's Hospital was withdrawn in 1966. Plans for rejuvenated training program were drawn by Dr. Epps and submitted to the accrediting agencies. The proposed program was based at the District of Columbia General Hospital and included rotations at the Handicapped and Crippled Children's Unit (also at the District of Columbia General Hospital), and a six month tour at Washington's Veterans Administration Hospital, a new facility completed in 1965. Approval was granted and in July 1967, Howard University assumed the full administrative and professional responsibility of the entire adult orthopaedic service at the District of Columbia General Hospital.


This turn of events has resulted in the creation of a new opportunity for Howard University. There is a shortage of orthopaedic surgeons nationwide, but the shortage among the Negro medical profession is greater. For the first time, unlimited clinical material is available for Undergraduate teaching and residency training. Strong affiliations make it possible to offer complete training in depth in the areas of children's orthopaedics, adult orthopaedics, fractures, and hand surgery. Presently there are five orthopaedic residents and plans are made to increase the number to eight within two years. In this manner it is hoped that the program will produce two fully trained orthopaedists each year by 1972.


To meet the challenge, the staff has been enlarged and presently includes the following:

*Dr. John P. Adams - (Washington University, '45) - Consultant


Lt. Col. George 1. Baker, M.C. U.S.A. - (State University, New, York '54) - Consultant


*Lt. Col. Quinton Becker, M.C. USA - (Louisiana State, '56), Consultant


*Dr. Donald Boelke - (George Washington, '58) Cl. Ass't. Professor


*Capt. Robert Brown, MC, USN (Harvard, '43) - Consultant


*Dr. Bruce Butler - (George Washington, '55) - Clinical Ass't. Prof.


*Dr. Sanford Eisenberg - (Long Island, '42) Cl. Ass't. Professor


*Dr. Charles H. Epps, Jr. - (Howard, '55) - Cl. Ass't. Professor, Chief


*Dr. Francis Fowler - (Georgetown, '54) - Cl. Ass't. Professor


*Dr. J. Robert Gladden - (Meharry, '39) - Cl. Assoc. Professor


Dr. Edward S. Jones - (Howard, '29) - Clinical Assistant


*Dr. Peter 1. Kenmore - (Hahnemann, '47) - Consultant


*Dr. John Lynn - (Jefferson, '53) - Cl. Asst. Professor


Dr. Ernest Martin - (Howard, '56) - Clinical Instructor


*Col. Charles Afetz, MC, USA - (Vanderbilt, '44) - Consultant


*Dr. Francis P. Milone - (Georgetown, '57) - Cl. Ass't. Professor


*Dr. Julius S. Neviaser - (George Washington, '27) Cl. Professor


Dr. Theodore Pinckney - (Indiana, '29) - Clinical Instructor


Dr. Henry S. Robinson - (Howard, '30) - Clinical Instructor


*Dr. George Schonholtz - (State University, New York, '54) - Cl. Ass't. Professor


Dr. Francis L. Smith - (Howard, '47) - Clinical Instructor



*Certified by American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. Thus, the first chapters in the history of orthopaedics at Howard University relate to what must be regarded as only the beginning. As the program improves and expands and sends out trained men into the community and around the world, a part of Howard University will go with each one. While Freedmen's Hospital no longer plays an active role in the training program, its past contribution is a matter of record. Surely the proposed new Howard University Medical Center will play an integral part in the order of things to come. Howard University moves into a new era, mindful and proud of the past and what has been accomplished, but keenly aware of the challenge and responsibilities that are ahead.
(1) John Allan Talbot, M.D., F.A.C.S. - Med. Ann. Dist.of Col. v. 36, P. 383, 1967.
The author gratefully acknowledges the kind assistance gained through interviews with Drs. J. Neviaser, J. R. Gladden, H. S. Robinson, and P. T. Johnson. The diligent efforts of my secretary, Mrs. M. R. Jamison, in researching data made available by the Office of the Dean of the College of Medicine and the Department of Surgery, is appreciated.

November, 1967, Vol. 59, No. 6, pp. 472-474, 476
Copyright, 1967 Journal of the National Medical Association