Remembering Dr. Charles Hammond

Dr. Charles HammondThe Duke Community was saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Charles Hammond last week.

Dr. Hammond joined the faculty of Duke University School of Medicine faculty in 1968 and served as chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology from 1970 to 1980. In 1980 he became chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, where he served until his retirement in 2002. As the E. C. Hamblen Professor of Reproductive Biology and Family Planning, his emphases were primarily in reproductive endocrinology and infertility as well as placental malignancy, choriocarcinoma, and other diseases.

The Duke Medical Center Archives is fortunate to have an oral history interview with Dr. Hammond from 2004. In honor of his memory, we would like to share a couple of highlights from this interview. Dr. Hammond was recognized a great mentor and educator. In 2003, he received the Leonard Palumbo, Jr., MD, Faculty Achievement Award for compassionate patient care and excellence in the mentoring of young physicians. When asked what he hoped that others learned from him, he gave the following answer:

“I would hope people that I've taught believe that I cared and you should care about patients in the full breadth of it and not just as a uterus or an operation or a baby, but as a person, a human, a mother, a wife, all the pieces that go into describing us… I would hope people have trained here would also believe that we have an obligation to the next generation. I.e., that they should want to teach, themselves, whether it's a in community practice to nurses, nursing students, whether it's in a medical school faculty, the medical students or residents, whether it's a subspecialist teaching fellows and residents. It doesn't really matter. I think you’ve got to give back. And the best way to give back is to get involved in educating efforts.”

He then goes on to say:

“I've always loved patient care. And people have laughed and said, Why do you keep running clinics when you, you know, you're a department chair? And during some of the years I was head of the private clinic, or whatever. And I said, Well, you know, that's really why I went to medical school was the pleasure of practicing medicine. I would strongly recommend to anybody regardless of what they do academically or administratively that they somehow keep in touch with medicine. It's pretty hard to teach it if you're not practicing it. And it's pretty hard to administer if you’re not practicing it. The hard part is to practice a little, you know, not a lot.”

To learn more about Dr. Hammond’s life and legacy, please visit MEDSpace to download a full transcript of his oral history. In addition to this oral history interview, the Medical Center Archives also preserves the Charles and Peggy Hammond Papers. Contact the Archives to access the contents of this collection or an audio recording of the oral history interview.