Claude H. Organ was born in Marshall, Texas on October 16,1928. He was the second of the three children born to Claude H. Organ Sr. and Ottolena Pemberton Organ. He attended public schools in Denison, Texas. Claude was a well-rounded student that was academically successful and participated in sports. Because both of Claude’s parents attained College degrees, they both stressed education to Claude and his siblings. Claude became the valedictorian of his high school. Claude Attended Xavier University in New Orleans with an interest in Medicine that was sparked by his two maternal uncles. Claude’s experience with racism led him to want to change the system.
Claude Attended Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska. He spent his internship and his Residency at the Predominately white institution. Working his way up in the ladder of Creighton University’s medical school, he became the first black chairman of the surgery department at a PWI in 1971. Some of his other notable accomplishments in the field of medicine were that he eventually became tenure professor at Creighton in 1971. He then became the Professor of surgery at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in 1982. He then served as the Chair of the surgical residency program University of California/Davis-University of California, San Francisco East Bay Surgery Department from 1989 to 2003.
In 1989 Dr. Organ, along with other Black physicians, founded the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, which till this day stills continue. He was the senior author of a two-volume book called A Century of Black Surgeons: The U.S.A. Experience, and he served as the first African American editor of the Archives of Surgery. Dr. Claude H. Organ demonstrates in exemplary fashion the meaning of overcoming obstacles. He did not see the color of his skin as a means to an end but as a means to a better future for all potential black physicians.
- First Black Professor and Chairman of Surgery at Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha
- Senior Author of the book A Century of Black Surgeons: The U.S.A. Experience