Dr. David M. French ’41, Master Public Health

After graduation from West, Dr. French attended Case Western Reserve in Cleveland before entering the Army.

After being discharged, he received his medical degree from Howard University. His Internship was at the Cleveland City Hospital, and he was a Surgery Resident at Howard University’s Freedmen’s Hospital.

French then entered practice in Detroit, Michigan, and after three years there was asked to teach surgery at Howard. His specialty was Pediatric Cardio-Vascular surgery, and he assisted in setting up a pediatric surgery division at both Howard and DC General Hospital. He became Dean of the Medical School at Howard and was charted with supervision of all teaching at Howard and DC General. Dr. French joined the faculty of the Boston University School of Medicine as the first Professor of Community Medicine and subsequently
became the founding chairman of that newly created department.

Becoming involved in the Civil Rights Movement, French became the National President. He was asked to serve on the United States Senate’s Fact-Finding Missions in southeast Asia at the request of Senator Edward Kennedy. Later, he was asked by the United States Agency for International Development to direct a 20-country health delivery system in west and central Africa. French moved there with his wife and eight children, and they lived there for over 10 years. They returned to the U.S. in 1986.

Following his retirement from Boston University, French became involved with the Helen Keller Institute as their Medical Director. He now resides with his wife, Carolyn, on a farm in Barboursville, Virginia, which has been in her family for four generations.

Update: Dr. French died May 31, 2011 at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville. He was predeceased by his wife, Carolyn. He had still been living in Barboursville. He is survived by their eight children, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was 87 when he died.