In Memoriam: Onyekwere E. Akwari, 1942-2019

Onyekwere (Onye) E. Akwari, the first African American faculty member in the department of surgery at Duke University, passed away on April 14, 2019. He was 76 years old.

Dr. Akwari was recruited to Duke in 1978 after the university desegregated its hospital. He joined the faculty as an associate professor, making him the second African American tenure-track faculty member in the School of Medicine. His research focused on gastrointestinal motility and he served the university for 17 years.

In addition to his faculty roles, Dr. Akwari served on the School of Medicine’s admissions committee for 15 years and on Duke’s Academic Council for 12 years. Dr. Akwari helped found the Society of Black Academic Surgeons. He also served as chair of the surgical section and as an executive committee member of the National Medical Association.

Dr. Akwari was a graduate of the University of Washington. He held a medical doctorate from the University of Southern California.

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