Alumnus Alvin Crawford, MD, honored for his life of mentoring others

Alvin H. Crawford, MD, FAOA, an alumnus of the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center College of Medicine, has received numerous awards and honors during his illustrious, decades-long career as an orthopedic surgeon pediatric.

Dr. Alvin H. Crawford (Photo courtesy of AOA)

The latest is the American Orthopedic Association (AOA) Pillar of the Orthopedic Profession Award, presented June 16 at the AOA’s annual meeting in Providence, Rhode Island.

Dr. Crawford, Professor Emeritus of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, was the first African American to graduate from the UTHSC College of Medicine in 1964. He is recognized as one of the leading national authorities in video-assisted thoracoscopy. surgery, which allows surgeons to insert rods through small incisions to straighten the spine. Moreover, he is praised by the many doctors he has trained.

It is this recognition by those he has mentored over the course of his career that perhaps means most to him, he said. AOA award recipients are nominated by individuals who have been mentored and trained by the recipient, in order to honor contributions to the profession.

“This may be the first objective award I’ve received,” Dr. Crawford said. “I’ve received many awards for speaking out, for surgeries, for all kinds of things, but it has nothing to do with what I do or say, it has to do with the recipient. This is based on people who have, in some way, benefited from the things I’ve tried to do over the years, and it means much, much more to me. It shows the residual effect of what they thought, based on their exposure and experience with me over the past 40 years.

Dr. Crawford grew up in the Orange Mound area of ​​Memphis in the 1950s. He inspired countless students and trainees in his profession and continues his relationship with UTHSC. He returned for meetings, graduation, and he and his wife established the Alvin H. and Alva J. Crawford Medical Scholarship to support UTHSC medical students.

Dr. Crawford is pictured at the 2019 College of Medicine African-American Alumni Reunion with Kiyah Anderson, MD, one of the original recipients of the scholarship he and his wife established for medical students at the UTHSC.

He is no longer operating, however, he continues to inspire and guide the next generation of physicians. He is the founder and sponsor of Black Men in Medicine Cincinnati (BMIMC), a mentorship organization aimed at increasing awareness of the need for black men in medicine.

“This is an effort to promote the recruitment and retention of African American men in medicine, which is a very decreasing number now, and I want to do what I can to see if we can increase that number. “, said Dr. Crawford. “So that’s where most of my energy goes. I still teach fellows in pediatric orthopedics, but I stopped operating, and that’s where my focus is right now.

After many firsts and considerable professional accomplishments, Dr. Crawford has some advice for those who will follow in his footsteps: don’t be discouraged by obstacles.

“Where you were born, maybe in poor circumstances, discrimination, whatever it is, go for it,” he said. “Put in the effort, hitch your wagon to a star, hopefully a mentor or mentors, and then chase your dream regardless. If you try hard enough to achieve your dreams, you can achieve them.

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