Frank A. Spellman, M.D., who retired from RGW in 2020 after providing eight years of exceptional patient care, was inducted into The Indispensable Role of Blacks (IRB) at Johns Hopkins University on June 17, 2021. A joint project between the Black Faculty and Staff Association and the Office of the President, IRB highlights the important ways in which people of color have helped shape Johns Hopkins, considered the first research university in the United States, and the institution’s vibrant multicultural background. Dr. Spellman was inducted into IRB as a Pioneering Retinal Surgeon and Gracious Mentor, one of 79 Black men and women honored since 2012 from all the schools within the university.
“I am honored and humbled to be inducted into Indispensable Role of Blacks at JHU project. Hopkins appeared to be part of my destiny at a very early age. At age 5, I received my first pet, a puppy named Halstead. My parents informed me that it was named after the first surgeon at Hopkins, because they anticipated that I would one day graduate from Hopkins and become a surgeon,” said Dr. Spellman, “Today, I hope to continue mentoring young doctors. My dream is to help establish a mentoring program which will link African American pre-meds at JHU, with African American medical students, residents, and faculty at Johns Hopkins Medical School.”
The son and grandson of physicians, Dr. Spellman attended Johns Hopkins as an undergraduate, secured his medical degree at the University of California San Francisco, served a residency in ophthalmology at Harvard, and completed a fellowship in retinal surgery at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. Upon his return to Washington, D.C., Dr. Spellman opened a private practice focusing on retinal diseases and surgery. He was the first African American in the country to initiate and sustain this type of practice.
This fall, RGW is proud to initiate the first annual “Frank A. Spellman, M.D. Lecture” as part of RGW’s annual Retinal Symposium.