NYMC Honors the Legacy of Clarence Sumner Janifer Sr., M.D., Class of 1915
New York Medical College (NYMC) hosted a program and unveiling of a plaque honoring the legacy of Clarence Sumner Janifer Sr., M.D., Class of 1915, (1886-1950), on February 27, in recognition of Black History Month.
The College community gathered in Hales Lobby in the Basic Sciences Building to learn more about Dr. Janifer, a groundbreaking physician who, in 1916, became the first African American member of the Medical Society of New Jersey—the oldest professional society in the United States. Graduating from the College amidst the backdrop of World War I, he volunteered for service in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in 1917, and later was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the government of France for his service. In 1948, he was named one of the 42 distinguished citizens honored in the Hall of Fame of the New Jersey Herald Times. The event was co-hosted by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Student National Medical Association.
From left: Mill Etienne, M.D. ’02, M.P.H., clinical assistant professor of neurology, assistant dean for student affairs, and School of Medicine house advisory dean, served as the master of ceremonies; Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A., chancellor and chief executive officer, gave the background of Dr. Janifer and the provided the context of his time in history; Westchester County Deputy County Executive Kenneth W. Jenkins, gave remarks; Robert W. Amler, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the School of Health Sciences and Practice and vice president for government affairs; and Rabbi Moshe D. Krupka, M.S., executive vice president, Touro College and University System, offered reflections.
“The story of Dr. Janifer is yet another demonstration of the extraordinary history of NYMC in serving as a bastion against bigotry in medical education since its founding,” concluded Dr. Halperin after presenting his unique historical perspective on Dr. Janifer. “We take great pride in the fact that if you can make it to the door of our teaching hospitals, we take care of you. For the students and faculty of this College, there is no such thing as poor patients, uninsured patients, non-English speaking patients or illegal immigrant patients. There are only human beings in need of and deserving of our help. There is certainly no such thing as an illegal person. There are only people. This College understood that in every generation there were those who tried to deny their fellow humans medical care and a medical education because of their birth, and we chose to remedy that form of bigotry.”
Be sure to stop by and take a look at the poster honoring Dr. Janifer, on display outside of the Health Sciences Library in the Basic Sciences Building.