Memoriam: Clarence G. Robinson, MD
Herman Rosen, M.D.
was fortunate to have been closely associated with Dr. Robinson
for many years, working with him on many of his endeavors. I
recall fondly spending time with him at New York Police Department
events at Rodman’s Neck and seeing his delighted face at a surprise
75th birthday party his family planned for
him. Dr. Robinson had a smile and a friendly hello for everyone
and everyone responded in kind.
Dr. Clarence Robinson was born in Chicago on September 19, 1920,
the son of a physician, Clarence, Sr., and Mary, a teacher in
the Chicago Public Schools System. He attended public elementary
and high schools and graduated from the University of Chicago.
He received a medical degree from Meharry Medical College in 1945,
where he met his wife, Dr. Thelma Lennard. Following graduation,
they both came to Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn for internships.
After their internships, Dr. Lennard, who later became a psychiatrist,
withdrew to raise their family, while Dr. Robinson stayed on at
the hospital to complete residency training in internal medicine.
He subsequently opened an office for the practice of medicine
There were many “firsts” during his illustrious career. He was
the first black physician in Brooklyn to be certified by the American
Board of Internal Medicine. Later he became a Fellow of the American
College of Physicians. He was the first black to be appointed
to the Medical Board of Coney Island Hospital and subsequently
was elected president of the body. He also was the first black
physician to head a department there, Ambulatory Care Services.
In 1973, the hospital dedicated the “Clarence G. Robinson, M.D.
Self Teaching Room” which remains an information source to medical
students and physicians at Coney Island Hospital. Dr. Robinson
was the second black physician to be appointed as Police Surgeon
with the NY Police Department. His predecessor was the renowned
Dr. Louis T. Wright, Former Chief of Surgery at Harlem Hospital.
Later, Dr. Robinson became Supervising Chief Surgeon of the NYPD,
the first on a full-time basis. He devoted much time to police
medicine, becoming Chairman of the Police Physicians Section of
the International Association of Chiefs of Police. During his
later years, Dr. Robinson served on the Medical Board of the NYC
Employees’ Retirement System, eventually becoming its chairman.
Clarence and Thelma, we will always remember you.#
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