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Dr. Floyd Malveaux

Allergist and Immunologist, physician and academic administrator Dr. Floyd J. Malveaux was born on January 11, 1940 in Opelousas, Louisiana to Inez Lemelle and Delton Malveaux. His mother was a math and science teacher and both parents supported his interest in science and aspirations for higher education. Malveaux did well in school, placing first in a state-wide math competition for minority high school students. He received degrees in biological sciences: his B.S. degree from Creighton University in 1961 and his M.S. degree from Loyola University, New Orleans in 1964. Malveaux went on to Michigan State University where he obtained his Ph.D. degree in microbiology and public health in 1968.

He then served as associate professor of microbiology for Howard University College of Medicine (HUCM), coordinator of the Science Program from District of Columbia Public Schools and coordinator of microbiology for Howard University College of Dentistry. Malveaux received his M.D. degree from Howard University College of Medicine in 1974 where he became interested in immunology, specifically allergic reactions and asthma. Malveaux continued specializing in these areas during his postgraduate studies at Washington Hospital Center and Johns Hopkins University. In 1978, he rejoined the faculty of Howard University College of Medicine serving as an associate professor of medicine. At HUCM, Malveaux created a training program for allergists/immunologists based on his work in allergies and immunology. In 1986, Malveaux was invited to join the faculty at Johns Hopkins University and also founded the Urban Asthma and Allergy Center in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1989, he returned to HUCM as Chair of the Microbiology Department. His work led to the Community Outreach for Asthma Care, a new treatment program at HUCM. In 1995, Malveaux became the dean of HUCM, forcing him to give up his clinical practice. In 1996, Malveaux was named interim vice president for health affairs at HUCM and served as the principal investigator for a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for HUCM to establish a major Clinical Research Center. He co-authored a study in 1997 that demonstrated a strong correlation between cockroaches and an increase of asthma in inner city children. Malveaux retired from HUCM in 2005 and joined the Merck Childhood Asthma Network, Inc. as its head.

Malveaux is the recipient of several awards including election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies; the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Research Service Award; the Outstanding Faculty Research Award from Howard University and the Legacy of Leadership Award from Howard University Hospital. He has served as a member of many professional organizations including on the board of directors for the American Lung Association; the National Allergy and Infectious Diseases Advisory Council and the American Academy of Allergy. He worked extensively with the National Medical Association holding a number of positions including member of the board of trustees and first chair of the Allergy/Immunology Section. Malveaux is a member of the Alpha Omega Honor Medical Society. He and his wife have four adult children: Suzette, Suzanne, Courtney and Gregory.

Dr. Floyd Malveaux was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 6, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.053

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/27/2012

Last Name

Malveaux

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

J.

Schools

Creighton University

Loyola University New Orleans

Michigan State University

Howard University College of Medicine

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Floyd

Birth City, State, Country

Opelousas

HM ID

MAL05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Town, South Africa, Paris, France

Favorite Quote

That's cool.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

1/11/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo (Creole)

Short Description

Allergist and immunologist, physician, and academic administrator Dr. Floyd Malveaux (1940 - ) was dean of the Howard University College of Medicine from 1995 to 2005. He is an expert on immunology, specifically asthma and allergies and became head of the Merck Childhood Asthma Network, Inc. in 2005.

Employment

Merck Childhood Asthma Network, Inc. (MCAN)

Howard University

Howard University Hospital

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Howard University College of Dentistry

District of Columbia Public Schools

Michigan State University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Floyd Malveaux's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Floyd Malveaux lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Floyd Malveaux describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Floyd Malveaux discusses the history of the Creoles

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Floyd Malveaux shares stories from his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Floyd Malveaux describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Floyd Malveaux describes the origin of his maternal grandmother's name

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his grandfather's military service

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his grandfather and the state of medical education in the 1800s

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his grandfather's use of herbal medicine

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his father's work experience

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Floyd Malveaux describes his early life

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Floyd Malveaux describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his sister

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Floyd Malveaux describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Floyd Malveaux describes the neighborhood where he grew up

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Floyd Malveaux describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his asthma and its effects on his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Floyd Malveaux describes his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his favorite subjects

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Floyd Malveaux describes his experience at Immaculata Minor Seminary

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his return to Holy Ghost Catholic School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Floyd Malveaux describes the racial climate of Opelousas, Louisiana in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Floyd Malveaux describes his decision to attend Creighton University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Floyd Malveaux describes his first impressions of Creighton and Nebraska

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Floyd Malveaux describes his experience at Creighton, University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his extracurricular activities at Creighton University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Floyd Malveaux describes his experience at Loyola University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Floyd Malveaux describes his experience at Michigan State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Floyd Malveaux describes his doctoral research and his move to Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Floyd Malveaux talks about going to medical school

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Floyd Malveaux describes his decision to specialize in allergy and immunology

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his return to Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Floyd Malveaux talks about asthmatic allergic reactions among minorities

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his role as Dean of Howard University's School of Medicine

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Floyd Malveaux talks about the Urban Asthma and Allergy Center

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Floyd Malveaux talks about the African American Health Summit

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Floyd Malveaux talks about commercial products to mask odors

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his work with Merck and Co.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Floyd Malveaux talks about dealing with chronic diseases

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Floyd Malveaux talks about the National Human Genome Center

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his work and his work ethic

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Floyd Malveaux talks about efforts to combat childhood asthma

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Floyd Malveaux reflects on his life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Floyd Malveaux shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Floyd Malveaux talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Floyd Malveaux tells how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

4$4

DATitle
Floyd Malveaux talks about his grandfather's use of herbal medicine
Floyd Malveaux describes his doctoral research and his move to Howard University
Transcript
Do you know if he was a part of any association or any--$$I'm not aware that he was a part of any association, and, as you know, for African-Americans at that period of time there were very few medical schools that they could actually go to. Howard was probably one of the first ones that opened its doors after the Civil War. And well, Freedman's Hospital actually here in Washington, D.C. opened after, right after the Civil War in order to treat the freed slaves and people who were coming into the Washington, D.C. area, and the medical school started about a year or so after that. So, actually, there were very, very few opportunities for African-Americans to get a degree in medicine. And none of my family, until my mother, actually went to college, got a college degree. So, it's her generation who were the first ones to actually finish college, and that's true on both sides of the family.$$Okay, okay. So, now, did, oh--then one more question about your grandfather. You know, one of the figures out of Louisiana history, and then celebrated as Dr. John, of whom the musician got the name--but I think that Dr. John, a Creole--Dr. John is maybe just the one name that kind of typifies a kind of hoo-doo doctor, in that sort of, that sense.$$Uh huh, right.$$With the herbs and things--I guess there are different versions of that, but would you describe your grandfather as being, having that kind of reputation on any level?$$Yeah, I think so, but I also think he had the reputation of being very effective in terms of what he did. And again, I've--in his journals, I can see, you know, that he took certain chemicals and mixed them together, things I'm sure that you could get at a pharmacy or so, and put them together, castor oil being a part of it, and so on. So, I think he, it wasn't witchcraft so to speak, it wasn't voo-doo, I mean. I think there was, there was some signs to that. He used certain things that worked, didn't know why they worked and didn't know what the active ingredient was, of course, in those things, but it worked. And I think he built his reputation on that.$$Okay, alright.$Let me ask you this before we move on. What was your focus, what was the focus of your dissertation, and can you explain it in layman's terms?$$Sure. Yeah, I, well, of course, it was in microbiology. And I had a strong interest in biochemistry as well. So, I did my doctoral thesis on the physiology and the biochemistry of a micro-organism, a bacterium of Staphylococcus aureus. When you hear about staph infections and so on, it was this particular organism. And my interest was really learning more about how this organism invades tissues and how it causes inflammation. So I chose to study in great detail, an enzyme, a protein that was made by this organism, called acid phosphatase. So the organism produces this protein, this acid phosphatase, in acidic conditions and tends to break down everything around it. So, I was trying to learn more about the characteristics of this particular molecule and how it behaves, and perhaps at some point someone could maybe find another molecule that would neutralize it, so to speak, and prevent it from causing the local inflammation and damage that it does. So, I studied the biochemistry of acid phosphatase, characterized it, and purified it very well. You have to purify it. And then I did all of the biochemistry on it, and so on. So, that was my contribution. I finished that work in '68' [1968]. So, I was a, I was a microbial physiologist. That was my field, microbial physiology. So, I was interested in the physiology of micro-organisms, how they behaved and what made them survive in certain types of environments. I came to Washington [District of Columbia], I interviewed in the department of microbiology in the College of Medicine. I was recruited by an individual there named Charles Buggs, B-U-G-G-S, an interesting name for a guy who heads up a department of microbiology, obviously. So Charlie Buggs recruited me to Howard in the department of microbiology. I was young, very young for the faculty at that point in time. It was very interesting, because he also recruited a man from the University of Michigan at the same time. His name was Rubin Kahn, K-A-H-N. Rubin was in his eighties (laughter). I was twenty eight, Rubin was in his eighties. And Rubin Kahn was in, he had developed, he had had a career in microbiology at the University of Michigan and developed a test for syphilis, to detect syphilis, called the Kahn Syphilis Test, actually. So he and I came together, interestingly, at the same time, to the microbiology department. I taught microbiology there to the medical students, to the dental students, medical and dental students, primarily. And it was during that time that Howard had it's, a lot of the student disruptions and so on. I came to Washington right after the riots. Martin Luther King was assassinated in '68' [1968], the spring of '68' [1968], and I came in the aftermath to Washington after the riots in Washington and so on in the fall of '68' [1968].$$Okay.$$That was quite a sight, obviously, to drive through Washington, to drive down U Street to see the destruction and so on. And there was student unrest on Howard's campus at the time, in the medical school. And in fact, some of the individuals who were in the, who had, who were responsible for the disruption as undergraduates went to medical school. They were activists and, of course, decided to, not replicate, but at least start to create some disruption within the College of Medicine, and bring forth I think some legitimate issues that needed to be addressed in the College of Medicine.$$For instance?$$Well, for example, they felt that student aid could be distributed on a more even basis. They felt that the curriculum was a bit antiquated at the time. And these were students who by their very nature--because they had had that success in terms of really changing the undergraduate, some of the undergraduate programs. And so they felt that, you know, this could be done at another level. So, it was almost in their DNA, so to speak, to do these types of things. So, as a result we had a dean at that time who resigned as a result of that, a department chairman who resigned as a result of that. A number of changes went on. I was placed on committees at that time to look at financial aid. That was one of the sensitive areas, and I think I was chosen because I was relatively young and had just come out of school, and the students identified with me as being close to their age, so to speak. Most of them were in their twenties when they went to medical school. So I really got to know, you know, the university, the medical school very well as a result of the work, and that I sat on the curriculum committee. And then after my first, after my first year or so there, a couple of the faculty in the College of Medicine encouraged me to consider going to medical school. At that time also there were programs being established in medical schools called the Ph.D. M.D. programs because there was a shortage of physicians during that time. So, some schools established a two-year program for individuals with Ph.D.'s and put them through a very rigorous course and training so that they got their M.D.'s in two years. And I thought about that at some time, because actually the faculty members who spoke to me felt that it would be a good idea for me to pursue an M.D. degree. They said if you're going to be in a medical school, if you're really going to make a difference, and if you expect to really rise in the ranks, you need an M.D. degree. I took that to heart. And also, the type of research that I was doing was primarily bench research with micro-organisms. I felt I wanted to do more clinical type of research, and I thought an M.D. would be a way to, would be an avenue to pursue that. So, I could not afford the two-year medical programs that were being offered at other institutions. I had a family. By this time we had three children. My son was born right after we got to Washington, in that February. So I inquired, actually, about attending medical school at Howard.