The American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) recently bestowed Howard University transplant surgeon Dr. Clive O. Callender with the 2021 Pioneer Award.
Throughout his career, Callender established a minority-directed dialysis and transplant center at Howard University hospital—the first in the nation—and founded the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program to grow the number of minority donations.
Currently, Black transplant candidates experience longer wait times to receive heart, lung and kidney transplants compared to non-Black candidates. To bring attention to existing health disparities, August was designated as National Minority Donor Awareness Month, Howard University reported.
“One of things I learned early on [in my career] was that there was a shortage of donors and a complexity in this shortage of donors, and that minorities and African-Americans were rarely donors,” said Callender. “This then became the quest for me because I had a rich experience as a church person, and I thought that this was something I should try to do. Yes, it was an impossible dream. But then, in my life, the impossible often became possible. So, this became the challenge that I took up.”