A fitting recognition

Published 10:23 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2018

When it comes to accomplishments in the health care field, one would be hard pressed to locate a Suffolk native with a longer curriculum vitae than Dr. L.D. Britt.

Britt’s introduction to the health care field came when he, as a young African-American growing up in Suffolk, recalls families packing lunch and dinner when they went to see the doctor, because they had to wait six hours or more.

“I knew something was wrong,” he said last year.

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He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and a Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Since then, Britt has made a name for himself not only as a skilled surgeon but also as a leader in the medical field and crusader against health care inequities, such as those that affect racial minorities, low-income residents and rural residents.

He is a member of a mouthful of professional organizations and has authored so many articles, book chapters and books and been recognized with so many distinctions that even the list would be too long for this space.

However, he recently received one more distinction of which we would like to make special note: the city of Suffolk honored him with a plaque that will hang in the city’s Health and Human Services Building on Hall Avenue.

The plaque, while beautiful, suffers from the same inadequacy we now face: it just doesn’t have the space to list all of Britt’s many accomplishments.

It does, however, note that Britt is the Henry Ford Professor and Edward J. Brickhouse Chairman at the Eastern Virginia Medical School, a former president of the American College of Surgeons and the first African-American in the United States to receive an endowed chair in surgery.

It also notes one last fact that Britt tells folks everywhere he goes — he is a proud, lifelong citizen of Suffolk.

We can hardly think of a more appropriate way to honor this Suffolk native who has accomplished so much in the health care field than to recognize him in a building that helps care for his fellow citizens. We are pleased that the city of Suffolk saw fit to honor him in this way, and we thank Dr. Britt for his lifelong devotion to his altruistic career — and to the city of his birth.