L.D. Britt earns rare honor

Published 8:14 pm Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Suffolk native and much-honored physician has been named to what he calls the “hall of fame” for medicine.

Dr. L.D. Britt is now a member of the National Academy of Medicine. He will be formally inducted at a ceremony next year. Only about 2,000 physicians are members of the National Academy of Medicine.

“It’s a very select group,” Britt said. “It’s like the Hall of Fame in sports. There’s people that never got in that probably should have been in.”

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It’s hardly the first honor for Britt, a surgeon and Eastern Virginia Medical School faculty member, though it may be the most prestigious. Britt was the first African-American in the nation to hold an endowed chair of surgery and the first African-American professor of surgery in Virginia.

He received the nation’s highest teaching award in medicine, the Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teaching Award, given by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

He is the Edward J. Brickhouse Chair in Surgery and the Henry Ford Professor of Surgery at EVMS.

And now, he is the first faculty from Eastern Virginia Medical School to be elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

“I’m particularly pleased for the medical school,” Britt said. “I’m pleased for Hampton Roads, and I’m pleased for Suffolk.”

Britt said he’s giving the credit for the honor to his department and to his colleagues — faculty, staff and residents.

The National Academy of Medicine has been at the forefront of groundbreaking advances, policies and practices in medicine, Britt said.

“The institution does make a difference,” he said.

While the academy accepts physicians of all specialties, surgeons are not highly represented, Britt said.

“We don’t have a very robust representation as far as surgeons,” Britt said. He’s hoping to see that change.

Britt also gave credit to his church, East End Baptist Church, and to his mother, who was a schoolteacher.

“I’ve had a lot of honors, but one of my greatest honors is I’m a native of Hampton Roads,” Britt said. “If I hadn’t gotten any awards, I would still be practicing surgery in Hampton Roads.”

Britt said he remains focused on righting racial disparities in health care.

He will be the featured speaker at Healthy Suffolk’s next “The Art of Supper” event, taking place Nov. 13 at the Planters Club.

“I hope I’ll be able to draw a big crowd,” Britt joked. “It will be an A+ lecture.”

For more information, visit www.artofsupper.org.