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The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Blog Celebrating Our Legends: Diversity Kickoff Event - Dr. Maurice Clifford Portrait Dedication

Dr. Maurice Clifford Portrait Dedication Ceremony - March 2017

April 21, 2017

On March 30, Drexel University College of Medicine celebrated one of our very own legends, Dr. Maurice Clifford, who joined the faculty of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1955.

Dr. Clifford was honored during a portrait dedication ceremony for his contribution and exemplary achievements during his time at the College of Medicine. In 1980, after having served as vice president of clinical affairs, he was elected the 17th president of the Medical College of Pennsylvania. Dr. Clifford's dedication transcended his tenure position; during his leadership, the College became a nationally recognized center for patient care, research and training. In 1986, Dr. Clifford went on to become the commissioner of public health for the City of Philadelphia.

Dr. Maurice Clifford's portrait dedication ceremony attracted nearly 100 guests, including family and friends, students, staff and faculty, who reminisced and shared warm memories of his leadership, fervor for patient care, and compassion.

The ceremony began with an intimate yet pivotal message on diversity and inclusivity. Dr. Daniel Schidlow, dean of the College of Medicine, welcomed guests and focused his message on the significance of diversity in medicine: “We are committed to becoming leaders for the next generation of a diverse workforce.” Dr. Schidlow highlighted our historical contribution to inclusivity, which afforded women, African Americans, Italians and others the ability to receive a medical education at a time when most medical institutions practiced exclusion.

Dr. Ana Núñez, associate dean, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, introduced the newly minted office and outlined its current initiatives, which include addressing the prevailing challenges facing black men in medicine and building a culture of diversity, both academically and in the field of medicine. According to the AAMC report Altering the Course: Black Males in Medicine, there are fewer black male applicants and matriculants to medical school now than in 1978. African Americans are the only ethnic group to show this decline.

Dr. Jay Clifford followed with a warm biography describing his father's dedication to medicine and public health service, and his commitment to the College of Medicine. Dr. Walter Cohen, the College of Medicine's chancellor emeritus, shared his own memories, recollecting Dr. Clifford's relationship with fellow colleagues and students, recognizing him as a “humane and compassionate caregiver.” One of the most memorable moments of the ceremony was the unveiling of Dr. Maurice Clifford's portrait, orchestrated by his sons, Dr. Jay Clifford and Maurice Clifford III, while accompanied by their wives and the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Dr. Clifford.

This event underlined the historical and fundamental values of Drexel University College of Medicine; equally significantly, it served to reinvigorate among various departments and affiliates one of the essential components of our mission: our commitment to diversity and inclusivity.

Philadelphia Sun:

Written by:
Lidyvez Sawyer, MPH

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