Convocation 2020

Join us for the 145th Convocation virtual event


The 145th Fall Convocation was a virtual celebration, Monday, October 5, 2020 at 9 a.m. CDT



Clive O. Callender, M.D. ’63, is professor of surgery at Howard University College of Medicine. A native of New York, he was the top-ranking medical student in his graduating class at Meharry Medical College.
Completing his surgical training at Howard University’s Freedmen’s Hospital in 1969, Dr. Callender worked as a medical missionary in Nigeria from 1970-71. He returned to the U.S. for organ transplantation training at two premier programs—the University of Minnesota (kidney) from 1971-73, and the University of Pittsburgh (liver) from 1986-87. Returning in 1973 to Howard, Dr. Callender helped develop the first minority directed dialysis and transplant center and histocompatibility and immunogenetic laboratory in the country.

In 1991, the New England Journal of Medicine chronicled the first National Organ and Tissue Donor Program in America spanning 10 years and originated by Dr. Callender at Howard University Hospital (HUH) with the National Kidney Foundation of the National Capital Area (1982-88) and the support of the DOW Chemical Company (1986-92). The article said Gallup Polls from 1985 and 1990 demonstrated a tripling of the number of Blacks signing donor cards and aware of the successful nature of transplantation. In 1991, Dr. Callender founded the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP) utilizing successful efforts targeting the Black community and applying the methodologies to all ethnic minority populations.

National MOTTEP is the first nationwide organization to identify a two-fold donor shortage solution: disease prevention and increasing donation rates. Minority donation rates grew nationwide from 15 percent in 1990 to 30 percent in 2008. A review of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) database between 1990 and 2010 concluded Blacks have risen from the bottom to the top, exceeding Whites and other ethnic minority populations in donors per million—from eight in 1982 to 35 in 2010, with a high of 38.1 in 2017.


National MOTTEP also established a MOTTEP-Export Research Center of Excellence focusing on eliminating minority renal health disparities via telehealth in hypertension and diabetes. The Center also examined psycho-neuro-immunological issues that led to renal disease and the development of a model for overcoming the effect of institutionalized and environmental racism in end-stage renal disease. In 2016, National MOTTEP celebrated 25 years of saving lives through education and organ and tissue donation and transplantation.


From 1995 until 2008, Dr. Callender served as Department of Surgery chair. In 1996, he was appointed the first LaSalle D. Leffall Jr. Professor of Surgery at Howard University College of Medicine. He has received honorary degrees from Hunter College in 1994, Meharry in 2008 and Howard in 2014.


Dr. Callender’s media appearances include “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” CNN, and “CBS Evening News.” He has spoken to professional and lay audiences at more than 1,000 meetings and forums and has authored over 140 scientific publications. He is a member of numerous professional societies and serves as referee for various scientific journals. Dr. Callender is an advisor or member of numerous boards, committees and task forces involved with transplantation issues. He has received many honors in recognition of his significant contributions.


The Axel C. Hansen, M.D. ’44 Distinguished Physician Award is named for the outstanding School of Medicine alumnus who was one of the first African Americans to become a diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology. Dr. Hansen, Meharry’s first Distinguished Service Professor, chaired the Department of Ophthalmology at Meharry and served as medical director of Meharry’s George W. Hubbard Hospital. The award is given to an alumnus of the School of Medicine who has demonstrated leadership and personal commitment to our mission of service through the exemplary practice of medicine.

Dr. Jacqueline Butler Mitchell D.D.S. '95

Dr. Jacqueline Butler Mitchell obtained her D.D.S. degree in 1995 from the Meharry School of Dentistry. Afterward, she returned to her home town of Dallas, Texas where she became assistant clinical professor at Baylor College of Dentistry and taught for more than six years. Dr. Mitchell moved back to Nashville in 2002 to work as the lead dentist at the Dickson County Health Department before opening her first dental practice, Integrity Dental Care, in 2004 in Smyrna Tennessee. Dr. Mitchell added three locations over 14 years across the Nashville area while continuing to practice in her Tri Star Southern Hills location. Dr. Mitchell is the first Black female dentist to have three general practices at the same time in the state of Tennessee. On March 12, 2018, she became acting clinical dean (part time) at Meharry Medical College and continued there for almost two years before returning to her practice full time.
Dr. Mitchell’s career in dentistry has ranged from teaching, to practicing, to serving in the military as a major in the 118th Air National Guard. She is a board member for the Metro Action Head Start Program, and serves on the Board of Directors of Mount Zion Baptist Church. She is a published writer of “Tooth Talk” for The Tennessee Tribune, and has a radio public announcement on “Tooth Talk Tips” for educating the community. Dr. Mitchell is active in community charitable events, including her own backpack program (300 backpacks given away yearly). She assists in community Thanksgiving and Christmas programs, and recently started her own Blessing Bags for Helping the Homeless. She has been a member of Mount Zion Baptist church for 18 years.
She is a member of the American Dental Association, the National Dental Association and the Tennessee Dental Association. She has received several awards and proclamations, and has been recognized by many community organizations including the National Black Police Association (NBPA) and the State of Tennessee House of Representatives. She is the 2020 “Hidden Figure Award” recipient for outstanding impact on the community from Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
Dr. Mitchell enjoys walking in her purpose and providing quality cosmetic and family dentistry to patients from all walks of life in her private practice as well as mentoring young adults. She is part of a “Shark Tank” program at Mt. Zion to provide guidance and leadership, inspiring young entrepreneurs. Dr. Mitchell’s strong belief in God makes her aware that God has ordered her steps. She is grateful to be in the field of dentistry where her knowledge, skill and ability can be put to good use.
The Fred C. Fielder, D.D.S. ’60 Distinguished Dentist Award is named for an outstanding alumnus who served Meharry Medical College as the chairman of the Department of Operative Dentistry and Dean of the School of Dentistry. The award is presented to a Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry alumnus who has demonstrated leadership and personal commitment to our mission of service and excellence through the exemplary practice of dentistry.

Josiah J. Sampson III, Ph.D. ’11

Josiah J. Sampson III, Ph.D. ’11, is provost and vice president of academic affairs at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

In 1997, Dr. Sampson obtained a bachelor’s degree in biology from Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi where his father was an orchestra director and music professor. Sampson was active in marching band, woodwind ensemble and symphonic band—also the NAACP and Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity. A dean’s list scholar, he tutored and mentored others.
Sampson began his teaching career assisting students in the Mississippi Baptist Medical Center’s medical technologist program. A high school biology instructor, he taught and revised science department standards at one school, serving as assistant band director for both marching and concert bands. Moving to Nashville in 1998, he was responsible at an alternative school for high school science and math disciplines, developing the science curriculum and a computer lab while serving as principle-designee and public relations correspondent.
In 1999, Sampson taught high school chemistry and physical science, upgrading the science department to meet OSHA standards. He wrote the chemistry curriculum for the school’s international baccalaureate program and worked on the Mission and Beliefs Committee for the school’s SACS accreditation. He sponsored student extracurricular clubs, tutoring and mentoring before and after school. Completing his Master’s of Education in Administration and Supervision at Tennessee State University in 2002, he was inducted into Phi Delta Kappa Honor Society. He also trained in public administration at the University of Alabama.

Working toward his doctorate at Meharry Medical College in 2002, he was a microbiology teaching assistant and biochemistry tutor. He was also a Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance representative and Graduate School Association president and parliamentarian, twice receiving the Dr. Larry Herring and Frank Royal awards. Dr. Sampson received the Martin Luther King Jr. award and was a co-winner of the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship Award of Nashville. He also received the George Howard Memorial Scholarship and a scholarship from the United Methodist Church General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Dr. Sampson has held memberships in several professional organizations.
Dr. Sampson became assistant professor of biological sciences at Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, North Carolina in August of 2007 and chaired and worked on multiple university committees including UNC Campus Security Initiative, SACS and NCATE. He was chair of the Joint Council (disciplinary appeals) and Academic Appeals and Re-entry Committees, and a member of the General Studies Advisory Board. Sampson was also assistant band director and student groups advisor. In 2018, he became School of Arts and Sciences dean at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and, in 2020, Dr. Sampson became provost and vice-president of academic affairs at Saint Augustine’s University, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Dr. Sampson has been a troop scoutmaster, Board of Trustees member, couples’ ministry teacher at Nashville’s Clark Memorial United Methodist Church and served in several capacities, including master of a Masonic lodge. He was chapter president of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. serving on numerous committees, and was deacon and vice-chair of the Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church diaconate ministry in Elizabeth City.

Dr. Sampson is married to Daphny M. Sampson. Together, they have a combined six children.

The Harold D. West, Ph.D. Distinguished Biomedical Scientist Award is named after the fifth—and first African-American— president of Meharry Medical College. This award is presented to an alumnus of the Meharry Medical College School of Graduate Studies and Research in recognition of outstanding long-term contributions in biomedical science research. Recipients of this accolade have not only demonstrated reputable accomplishments scientifically, but have made significant and meaningful progress in the highest ethical principles of biomedical conduct.

Dr. Jacinta Leavell

Jacinta P. Leavell, Ph.D., MS

Chair and Professor, Department of Dental Public Health

School of Dentistry

Patrice A. Harris, M.D., MA, a psychiatrist from Atlanta, was the 174th president of the American Medical Association, and the organization’s first African-American woman to hold this position. Dr. Harris has diverse experience as a private practicing physician, public health administrator, patient advocate and medical society lobbyist.

Dr. Harris currently spearheads the AMA’s efforts to end the opioid epidemic and has been chair of the AMA Opioid Task Force since its inception in 2014. Dr. Harris continues to lead the task force as it works across every state to eliminate barriers to treatment, provide patients with access to affordable, non-opioid pain care and fight the stigma faced by those with substance use-disorders.

Having served on the AMA Board of Trustees since 2011, and as chair from 2016 to 2017, she has long been a mentor, a role model and an advocate. Prior to serving on the board, Dr. Harris honed her broad knowledge and deep understanding of health care issues through various leadership roles. At the AMA these included having served for many years on the AMA Council on Legislation—including a term as chair—and on multiple AMA task forces on topics such as health information technology, payment and delivery reform, and private contracting. Beyond the AMA she has held positions of leadership with the American Psychiatric Association, the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association, the Medical Association of Georgia, and The Big Cities Health Coalition, where she chaired this forum composed of leaders from America’s largest metropolitan health departments.

Growing up in Bluefield, West Virginia, Dr. Harris dreamt of entering medicine at a time when few women of color were encouraged to become physicians. Dr. Harris spent her formative years at West Virginia University, earning a B.A. in psychology, an M.A. in counseling psychology and, ultimately, a medical degree in 1992.

It was during this time that her passion for helping children emerged, and she completed her psychiatry residency and fellowships in child and adolescent psychiatry and forensic psychiatry at the Emory University School of Medicine.


Two themes that govern Dr. Harris’s professional life are a passion to improve the lives of children and service to others. A recognized expert in children’s mental health and childhood trauma, Dr. Harris has led efforts on both local and national levels to integrate public health, behavioral health and primary care services with supports for employment, housing and education.

A fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Harris continues in private practice and currently consults with both public and private organizations on health service delivery and emerging trends in practice and health policy. She is an adjunct assistant professor in the Emory Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and an adjunct clinical assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Morehouse School of Medicine.

This year’s Convocation will be a virtual presentation.

Patricia Matthews-Juarez, Chair

Sandra A. Williams, Co-Chair

Produced by 1Joshua Group, Atlanta, Georgia
Meharry Production

Lucius Patenaude, Visual Communications Generalist

Ken Morris, Director of Communications and Marketing