TALLAHASSEE — Florida State’s MLK Week celebration got much more personal for the College of Medicine on Jan. 16 when Associate Professor Kendall Campbell received the university’s prestigious Dr. Martin Luther King Distinguished Service Award.
“I am deeply humbled to receive such an award honoring a man with such vision, compassion and sacrifice,” Campbell, from the Department of Family Medicine and Rural Health, said of the surprise announcement. “His focus, peacefulness and tenacity for a cause are to be admired and emulated.”
The award is given each year to a member of the FSU community who exemplifies King’s ideals and the university’s commitment to diversity. Only seven have been given out, and now two of them have gone to faculty members at the medical school. In 2008, Dr. José Rodríguez was honored.
College of Medicine Dean John P. Fogarty was delighted by Campbell’s selection.
“As a physician and champion for the underserved, Dr. Campbell has walked the walk, serving as a clinician and director of clinics that serve the poor and underserved in both Gainesville and Tallahassee,” he wrote in an email to the faculty, students and staff. “He has done the same within his local faith communities, providing weekly patient education conferences in local congregations.”
Campbell graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in chemistry from Florida A&M University; got his first year of medical education at Florida State through PIMS (Program in Medical Sciences); and earned his M.D. at the University of Florida in 2001. He served as a faculty member at UF for several years before returning as a faculty member in the College of Medicine.
Campbell is a 1992 graduate of Chipley High School and founder of the Degree Seekers Program, an outreach program for minority youth in Washington County. He is the son of Marvin Campbell and the late Eva Harmon Campbell, a longtime educator for the Washington County School System.
Senior Associate Dean Myra Hurt has watched him blossom.
“Dr. Campbell embodied the principles and ideals of Dr. King from the day I met him in 1994,” she wrote in a letter supporting his nomination. “In the intervening 18 years, he has matured from a young undergraduate dedicated to service into a man who lives for service, both in his profession and in his life.
“An examination of his curriculum vita demonstrates the range and the depth of his activities in service. Impressively, his dedication to the principles and ideals Dr. King embodied crosses all of the domains of an academic physician—scholarship, education, committee service and clinical service. And in his private life, this service ethic is apparent in his work in his community and in his church.
“From 1994 to 1996, Dr. Campbell was a role model for middle and high school students in our SSTRIDE program (Science Students Together Reaching Instructional Diversity and Excellence). He was a shining light for kids, showing them the way to achievement and daring them to dream big, as he did. Today, among all of his inspiring activities, he is a mentor for graduate students from medically underserved backgrounds in our Bridge to Clinical Sciences M.S. program … and a sterling example of the success that is ahead for them if they work hard towards their dream of becoming a physician. It is awe-inspiring to see his work come full circle here.”
In addition to his faculty role, Campbell serves on the Student National Medical Association and the Christian Medical Association, while also serving on the Diversity and Inclusion Council at FSU. He has also published on topics ranging from hypertension and cardiovascular disease to health in minority populations to curriculum redesign. He participates in the Degree Seekers Outreach Program, where he talks with children about school and life success in Washington County.
Here is an excerpt from a talk Campbell gave in late 2011 to an auditorium full of young, brand-new SSTRIDE inductees wearing their fresh white coats: “One of the things a white coat can bring is anxiety. ‘Oh, man, what am I going to do? I’m going into this new world of health care. I’m going to learn all these new things.’ ‘How do I do this?’ ‘How do I do that?’ ‘Who do I talk to?’ ‘Where do I go?’ ‘What’s supposed to happen?’ Well, I’m going to share with you today some things that you can do to help keep that fear away, so you can be excited about moving forward. Even though you may not be able to see the end of the road, I want you to know that we are here to assist you and to help relieve some of that anxiety.”
Said Dean Fogarty: “Dr. Campbell is a gifted teacher, as evidenced by his teaching evaluations and student feedback. I’m very pleased and proud to have him as part of our College of Medicine family.”