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Surgeon Dr. L.D. Britt was born on June 28, 1951 in Suffolk, Virginia to Claretta White Britt and Vandious Britt. He graduated as valedictorian of his class at Booker T. Washington High School in 1968, and received his B.A. degree in experimental psychology from the University of Virginia in 1972. He went on to earn his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School and his M.P.H. degree in public health from Harvard School of Public Health in 1977. The following year, Britt completed his medical internship and assistant residency in the department of surgery at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri with further studies at the W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center in Lake Placid, New York.
In 1979, Britt accepted a two-year research fellowship in the department of surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. After his residency at the University Hospital and Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Britt completed a clinical fellowship from 1985 to 1986 at the Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services Systems. From 1987 to 1997, Britt was Chief of the Trauma Division at Eastern Virginia Medical School and worked as the medical director of the Shock Trauma Center at the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. He was also a member of the surgical staff at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. In 1994, Britt was appointed as the Henry Ford endowed chair of the department of surgery at the Eastern Virginia Medical School, becoming the first African American in the country to be awarded an endowed chair in surgery at a major American medical school. From 1997 to 2000, Britt served as both chairman of the Surgical Services Committee for Sentara Hospitals and surgical chief of staff at Sentara Hospital Norfolk. Britt went on to serve as president of the American College of Surgeons from 2010 to 2011. In addition to his roles as editor and reviewer for numerous medical journals, Britt authored 290 scientific publications and three books including a recent edition of Acute Care Surgery. He also participated in over 200 visiting professorships and distinguished lectureships throughout the world, including the A. Clifford Barger-Hinton Wright Lecture at Harvard Medical School and the Balfour Visiting Professorship at the Mayo Clinic.
Britt earned numerous awards as an educator including the Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teaching Award, the nation’s highest teaching award in medicine given by the American Association of Medical Colleges in conjunction with the national medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha. Britt received The Outstanding Faculty Award, Virginia’s most prestigious educator award presented by the Governor and State Council of Higher Education for excellence in teaching, research and public service. In addition, Britt was honored with an Emmy Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his contribution to the television special, Youth / Violence: A Call To Disarm. President George W. Bush nominated Britt to the Board of Regents of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
Dr. L.D. Britt was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 17, 2018.