Floyd Joseph Malveaux

January 11, 1940January 9, 2020
Obituary of Floyd Joseph Malveaux
Floyd Joseph Malveaux passed away peacefully on Thursday, January 9, 2020. He was the devoted and loving husband of Myrna Ruiz Malveaux, whose passing preceded him on April 13, 2018. He is survived by his sister, Deltinez Benjamin. Floyd was a caring and inspirational father of Suzette, Suzanne, Courtney and Gregory Malveaux; a proud grandfather of Nailah, Bennett, Jacob, Richard, Gabriel, and Soleil; and a generous friend, compassionate physician, respected colleague, and dedicated mentor to many. Floyd had a modest upbringing in Opelousas, Louisiana, and was the son of Delton and Inez Malveaux. As a youth, he enjoyed spending many days with his grandparents on their farm, and swimming with cousins in the nearby bayou. At age thirteen, he left for boarding school to attend Immaculata Minor Seminary School in Lafayette, Louisiana; he departed from seminary school and returned to his hometown to attend Holy Ghost Catholic School during his senior year of high school. Floyd joined the faculty at Howard University in 1968 as an assistant professor of Microbiology after having completed Bachelor of Science (1961) and Master of Science (1964) degrees in Biological Sciences at Creighton University (Omaha, NE) and Loyola University (New Orleans, LA), respectively. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology (1968) at Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI). Two years later, he attended the Howard University College of Medicine to pursue a Doctor of Medicine while maintaining his faculty status. Professionally, his impact was far-reaching and unparalleled. All of his life, Floyd had asthma, and was the child and grandchild of asthmatics. This influenced his career path as he sought to help others who were similarly challenged. He honed his clinical skills in internal medicine as a resident at the Washington Hospital Center in the District of Columbia prior to completing his subspecialty fellowship training (1976-78) in Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Johns Hopkins University. His fellowship encompassed patient care, as well as basic and clinical research. His research findings led to the groundbreaking development of Omalizumab, an important drug that is effective in treating individuals with relatively severe asthma. As a MD/PhD, Floyd returned to the Howard University medical faculty in 1978, garnering a number of research grants from the National Institutes of Health to continue his research and patient care. He was appointed Dean of the College of Medicine (1995-2005) and Vice Provost for Health Affairs (2000-2003). In the spring of 2001, Floyd oversaw the establishment of the National Human Genome Center at Howard University. The Center concentrates on genetic variations and their relationships to the causes, preventions and treatments of disease among African Americans. He established a thriving, medical practice in which he tended to asthma and allergy patients with offices in Washington DC, Baltimore and Columbia, Maryland. In 2005, he retired from Howard University and embarked on a ten-year science initiative as the Executive Vice President and Executive Director of the Merck Childhood Asthma Network, Inc. (MCAN), a non-profit organization of the Merck Foundation. Under his direction, MCAN led efforts to implement innovative, evidence-based childhood asthma intervention programs in diverse, impoverished communities in the US (including Puerto Rico). Of note, one program was carried out in New Orleans in partnership with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the NIH and the deLaski Family Foundation in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Floyd has always made it his mission to help underserved and at-risk communities get better access to medical care and increase awareness about public health. For example, early in his career, he coordinated the Schools without Walls Science Program for District of Columbia public schools, and later founded The Urban Asthma and Allergy Center in Baltimore. His impact is celebrated every year by the National Medical Association’s Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Section with a symposium in his name. Floyd was extremely appreciative of the “Floyd J. Malveaux, MD, PhD Endowed Chair in Public Health,” created by Howard University. The Chair will recruit a highly talented individual to lead the Master of Public Health program. The fund itself will be used to support the teaching, research, service, and other activities of the chair holder. This Chair was near and dear to his heart, noting “What I have learned through the years is there needs to be good research and evidence to manage health problems, but it is just as important to address the environment and conditions in the community.” Floyd was also a prolific scholar and speaker, and published his work in peer-reviewed scientific journals, presented findings at scientific meetings, and shared asthma and health-related information with lay audiences in newspapers and magazines. He served on numerous boards and received many awards and commendations for this work. He recently completed a personal memoir that recounts his life-long journey as an African American male who overcame segregation to achieve great educational, career, and professional distinction. In addition, his memoir showcases the loving adventures of a doting husband and attentive father. Floyd had a great love for family. In his later years, he immensely enjoyed being with his children and grandchildren, attending their school activities, taking long walks in the neighborhood, and playing their favorite game—charades. Floyd also loved to work out at the gym, meeting with a personal trainer three times a week. He often challenged and encouraged friends and family to join him. In Myrna’s final years, Floyd lovingly took on the role of her personal caregiver for more than five years, as she bravely battled Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). With his generosity, hard work, and great value for education, he also put his four children through college. The funeral service for Dr. Floyd Joseph Malveaux will be held Friday, January 31, 2020 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm at The Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20016. Parking is available in the Cathedral’s underground parking (regular weekday rates apply). The repast program will be held immediately following the funeral service at the Howard University College of Medicine in the NUMA P.G. Adams Building, 520 W Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20059 (corner of W St, NW & 5th St, NW). Everyone is invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Floyd J. Malveaux, MD, PhD. Endowed Chair in the Public Health established at Howard University in Dr. Malveaux’s honor. Donations may be sent to: Kenneth R. Ashworth Howard University Development Office 1851 9th Street, NW Room 311 Washington, D.C. 20001 Gifts may also be made online at: Updated funeral information, further details and guest book may be found at the Witzke Funeral Home website (Please select the Columbia, MD funeral home.)

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Friday, January 31, 2020

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