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The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Blog Remembering Maurice Clifford

May 10, 2017

Thank you for joining us in celebrating one of our very own legends in medicine. We have provided a special compilation of reflections from our attendees.

My very clear and fond memories of Dr. Maurice Clifford date back to my days as a third-year medical student on my Ob-Gyn clerkship. I happened to be pregnant with my first child at the time, and more than a bit apprehensive! In addition to being a wonderful, kind and attentive teacher, Dr. Clifford was a superb, thoughtful and patient clinician who provided outstanding care to his patients, at all times demonstrating excellent communication skills.

He was uniformly respected by the faculty and staff and his patients loved him. I was sometimes puzzled by his occasional comments about stopping his obstetrical practice when his children graduated from college, as he seemed to enjoy delivering babies so much. Little did I know at the time that major leadership positions were on his agenda.

All those magnificent traits that he demonstrated on the maternity floor and in the classroom were ones that he carried with him into his senior administrative roles, both for the City of Philadelphia and in the medical school. He was one of my very important role models and I would frequently ask myself in tough situations, "What would Maury do?" I feel very blessed to have known and learned so much from him. May his memory be forever a blessing.

Barbara A. Schindler, MD
Vice Dean Emerita, Educational and Academic Affairs
Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics
Department of Psychiatry

Dr. Maurice C. Clifford joined the faculty of the Woman's Medical College in 1955. During his distinguished career as a physician, Dr. Clifford earned the highest respect from his colleagues and students as an educator, leader, role model and as a humane and compassionate caregiver. In 1980, he was elected the 17th president of the Medical College of Pennsylvania. During his presidency, he brought a stabilizing effect to the Medical College of Pennsylvania. At his retirement from the presidency in 1986, his friends and colleagues honored him by establishing the Maurice C. Clifford Leadership Award to be given annually to an outstanding graduating student at Commencement. Following his presidency at MCP, Dr. Clifford became the first African American to serve as commissioner of health for the City of Philadelphia. We mourned his passing in November 2002.

D. Walter Cohen, DDS
Chancellor Emeritus
Drexel University College of Medicine

Remembrances of President Maurice C. Clifford, MD, bring to mind a bright, energetic, compassionate, humanistic individual who was a tremendous leader with forward looking insight and excellence in character. He believed in giving back to one's community and was very charitable. I recall meeting his beautiful wife, Patricia, at their home, where I purchased several art pieces from them and they even donated a few to me. He knew both sides of the doctor-patient relationship and valued each, as he knew that to treasure it is to facilitate healing.

I missed him when they moved out of the Philadelphia area and much more now that he has gone to his spiritual home. His compassion and leadership qualities should be memorialized and his enduring impact on the University appreciated and cherished. Forever remembered for all the right reasons.

John M. Fontaine MD, MBA, FACC, FHRS
Professor of Medicine
Director Arrhythmia Services
Drexel University College of Medicine

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