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Dr. Marvin Shelton

In a family of medical doctors, Dr. Marvin L. Shelton has helped patients walk pain-free for more than thirty years. Born in Pittsburgh on July 25, 1931, Shelton has made a reputation for himself with his many discoveries and advances in his work as an orthopedic surgeon in treating ankle fractures.

Educated at Howard University, Shelton received his B.A. in 1951, an M.A. in chemistry the following year, and his M.D. in 1956. After completing his internship, he did his residency in Honolulu, Hawaii. Shelton then served as chief of the Orthopedic Section at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, until 1964. From 1966 to 1994, Shelton headed the Residency Training Program at Harlem Hospital Center in New York. While at Harlem Hospital, Shelton saw a large number of unstable ankle fractures, leading him to further investigate the causes of such injuries. In 1967, he pioneered a new surgical technique that dramatically improved the prognosis for patients with this type of ankle injury. Shelton also helped to engineer a contoured plate system for fractures. This plate gained increasingly wide usage in the orthopedic field.

His discoveries and advances have made Shelton a highly sought-after speaker. Shelton has delivered more than two dozen lectures around the world; presented numerous papers and exhibits; and held visiting professorships at Yale University, the University of Minnesota and the University of Oregon. He also served as chairman of the Orthopedic Section of the National Medical Association and has been an active member and leader in many other professional associations and boards. In 1992, Shelton brought his trailblazing techniques to Presbyterian Hospital in New York, where he worked as an attending surgeon. Shelton and his wife, Arden Buckner, had four children.

Marvin Shelton passed away on July 07, 2004.

Accession Number

A2003.190

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/14/2003

Last Name

Shelton

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

L.

Occupation
Schools

Peabody Elementary School

Williston Middle School of Math, Science & Technology

Howard University College of Medicine

Howard University

First Name

Marvin

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

SHE02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/25/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Sushi

Death Date

7/7/2004

Short Description

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Marvin Shelton (1931 - 2004 ) developed new technique for treating unstable ankle fractures.

Employment

Fort Jackson

Harlem Hospital

Yale University

University of Minnesota

University of Oregon

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Marvin Shelton's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Marvin Shelton lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about how his parent met and what subjects they each taught in school

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Marvin Shelton describes his maternal and paternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Marvin Shelton describes his earliest childhood memory in Wilmington, North Carolina and his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Marvin Shelton remembers his family life and where they lived in Wilmington, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Marvin Shelton recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Wilmington, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about the African American community in Wilmington, North Carolina and being the youngest child in his family

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about attending Peabody Elementary School and Williston Industrial High School in Wilmington, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Marvin Shelton describes what he was like as a student

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about his personality as a young man and what was expected of him in school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Marvin Shelton describes preparing to go to college at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about going to Howard University with HistoryMakers, the Honorable Andrew Young and the Honorable David N. Dinkins

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about the World War II veterans returning to Howard University and his roommate, HistoryMaker Andrew Young

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about his professors at Howard University in Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about his professors at Howard University in Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Marvin Shelton describes joining ROTC as a senior at Howard University and how being in the U.S. Army helped pay for medical school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Marvin Shelton recalls his classmates and the learning environment at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Marvin Shelton reflects upon his academic success as a high school and his privilege

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about his medical internship and applying for a neurosurgery residency, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about his orthopedic surgery residency in Hawaii

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Marvin Shelton explains the sequence of events leading up to getting his M.D. degree in 195

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about his professors in medical school at Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Marvin Shelton Dr. William Montague Cobb, one of his professor at Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about the limited medical school options African Americans had during the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about his medical internship and applying for a neurosurgery residency, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. Marvin Shelton describes the advantages he received in his medical career as a result being in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Marvin Shelton recalls his time in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Marvin Shelton explains how he was recruited to be the head of the orthopedics residency program at Harlem Hospital in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Marvin Shelton describes the issues with Columbia University's in New York, New York affiliation with Harlem Hospital Center, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Marvin Shelton describes the steps he took to get his independent residency program at Harlem Hospital Center in New York, New York approved

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Marvin Shelton describes the issues with Columbia University's in New York, New York affiliation with Harlem Hospital Center, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about the other doctors at Harlem Hospital Center in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about the end of his independent orthopedic residency program at Harlem Hospital

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about the other residency programs that were available in orthopedics

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Marvin Shelton describes how Harlem Hospital Center in New York, New York and residency programs have changed since the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Marvin Shelton describes some of the medical devices he invented for use in orthopedic surgeries

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Marvin Shelton describes the process of getting a medical device approved for use

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about his work on trimalleolar ankle fractures

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about his visiting professorships

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Marvin Shelton describes how the orthopedic field has changed over his forty-seven year career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Marvin Shelton explains why orthopedics is the most exciting field in medicine

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about his involvement in professional organizations and the history of the National Medical Association

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about HistoryMaker Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about his and his children's success

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. Marvin Shelton describes the importance of African American doctors

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. Marvin Shelton describes what it means to be a good doctor

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about the challenges of finding good care for African Americans

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dr. Marvin Shelton describes his hopes for his future

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dr. Marvin Shelton reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

4$4

DATitle
Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about going to Howard University with HistoryMakers, the Honorable Andrew Young and the Honorable David N. Dinkins
Dr. Marvin Shelton talks about his orthopedic surgery residency in Hawaii
Transcript
And, and so when you left and you're going to Howard [University, Washington, D.C.], you're going to, not to unfamiliar territory--$$Right.$$--because your brothers [Lee Raymond Shelton and Thomas Gerard Shelton] are there.$$And a lot of the students who were there with them remembered me and there are people now who were there that were in my older brother's class who like adopted me as the, as the mascot so to speak and you know, helped and made sure that everything I needed to know and do, they would get me through.$$So, but in many ways Howard, whether you know, you knew it through your brothers is opening up a world?$$Um-hmm.$$It's fun. You know, it's not small like the environment you've been in, in Wilmington, right?$$Right.$$Okay, and so are--you declare pre-med immediately?$$Yes.$$Okay, and so can you talk about your experience in Howard and you know, some of the, you know the teachers and some of the other you know, people who were in your class?$$Well it was an exciting experience because for the first time I'm meeting and interacting with people from literally all over the world. There was a large number of students from the Caribbean and from Africa as well as many other countries and all of the states in the union. My freshman roommate was [HM the Honorable] Andrew Young from Atlanta [Georgia]. Classmates like [HM the Honorable] David [N.] Dinkins were there. And we lived in the dorm and did all the things that boys do in the dorm. The teachers were interesting because there were so many students that they literally had more students than they had classrooms or seats. So they--the mood of the faculty was to consider students as pretty dispensable so that if they set an exam and 30 percent of the students didn't pass it they would just flunk them. And it used to be a standard and indoctrination when you go in a class they would tell you to look to the left and to the right because at the end of the second semester, half of you know, one of them wouldn't be there. And so it was a big joke when they would punch people out of college, say you'll, you look around and the bags would be--folks would be coming out of the dormitory you know in March at the end of the second semester. It's sort of a joke. You know, you didn't get to see the grass grow green. So I really wasn't thrilled with the teaching approach and attitude at Howard at that time on the part of most of the faculty. I thought they were rather indifferent. Very little tutoring went on or counseling about you know, what the children ought to be doing because there were just so many students and so little organization. But there were a lot of bright children, a lot of bright students there who you know could master any system (laughter) and that, that basically was what--is what was happening at Howard at that time. They just had this tremendous number of bright students from all over the country and most of us you know, could find a way to get through.$But in the meantime I had no job for you know, for that year so I started working in orthopedics as a duty officer because while I was interning I had an opportunity to scrub on an orthopedic case. I thought I was very interesting to deal with the kinds of injuries that this fella had. And they also found out that I had probably some talent because I recall a surgeon who was in charge of the case who happened to be a lieutenant colonel and he was trying to figure out how to apply a plate to a bone that was broken and place some screws in such a fashion that the ends of the bone could slide together rather than be held apart. And he was consistently trying to put the screw at the wrong end of the slot (laughter) and I was, you know, finally able to convince that you if this is going to work the way the author has designed it then we had to put the screw at the other end. So I figured that maybe orthopedics would be a field that I could enjoy and have some success in. So when they offered me a residency in orthopedics I decided that I was just going to forego that foray into neurosurgery and I stayed on at that same hospital for another four years as a resident in orthopedics. It also allowed me to--they gave me credit for that year in between the internship and when the program was approved toward my residency. I worked--see, if I had not done that then I--that would have been a lost year and I would have had to start again in neurosurgery without the benefit of that year. Whereas going into orthopedics, I didn't lose any time and you know ended up finishing my residency after five years and five years out of medical school. And all that happened in Hawaii. I got married the--a few days after graduating from Howard [University, Washington, D.C.] and traveled to Hawaii with my new wife [Arden Buckner]. And while there we found that the weather and everything was just perfect so we had three children and enjoyed you know the beauty and the environment of Hawaii which was multi-racial, not many black people but a lot of people from the islands and Japan and Saipan. The hospital was a general hospital that served the entire Far East so we actually took care of all the casualties, the--everywhere from Japan down through the Philippines and then on to the Vietnam area. And it afforded me just a tremendous opportunity to become expert in the management of injuries of all sorts and taking care of all the things that happen to young people either in the course of [U.S.] military life or the activities that they participate in, you know, off duty.