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In Memoriam: Longtime NYAM Fellow Dr. John Cordice

  John W.V. Cordice, MD

The New York Academy of Medicine mourns the passing of our esteemed longtime Fellow and friend, John W.V. Cordice, MD. Dr. Cordice touched thousands of lives through his decades of medical leadership and clinical practice in Harlem.

“When I was based at Harlem Hospital and when I started my practice in Harlem, I became a member of The New York Academy of Medicine and I was rather active because I was in the area and it was easy for me to get from Harlem down there,” Dr. Cordice recalled in an interview with NYAM in January 2013. “I wrote a number of papers and the Library was quite valuable to me. I’m happy to be identified with the Academy.”

In recent years, he continued to be involved with NYAM and to inspire the next generation of health professionals as a mentor in NYAM's Junior Fellows Program. Dr. Cordice was honored at NYAM’s 2012 Gala. One of his three daughters, Dr. Jocelyn Cordice Basnett, who also been involved with NYAM, accepted the award on his behalf.

Dr. Cordice was perhaps best known as being part of the surgical team that saved Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life in 1958 after Dr. King was stabbed at a book signing event in Harlem.

“We will remember Dr. Cordice as an extraordinary physician, mentor, and individual who cared deeply about each of his patients and was forthright about the continuing need to address the health disparities about which he cared so passionately until the end of his life,” said NYAM President Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford. “NYAM was incredibly fortunate to count him as a longtime and active member of our professional community.”

A native of Durham, N.C., Dr. Cordice moved to New York City in 1936. He earned his medical degree at New York University in 1943 and went on to serve as an Attending Surgeon and Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Harlem Hospital. Dr. Cordice was inducted as a NYAM Fellow in 1955.

Dr. Cordice passed away on December 29, 2013 at the age of 94 in Sioux City, Iowa, where he had moved in November to be near his family.

View a video of Dr. Cordice receiving an award from the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation in 2012 and recounting his experience saving Dr. King’s life.

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Posted on January 16, 2014

Gina Ravosa
Director of Marketing & Communications
The New York Academy of Medicine
1216 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10029
(212) 822-7285


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