Honoring an Icon
On October 6, 2021, National Medical Fellowships held the Inaugural Daniel Denis Laroche, Sr., MD Scholarship in Anesthesiology Lecture and Awards Reception. Dr. Laroche, Sr. was born in Jacmel, Haiti in 1932 and became one of the first Black residents in the anesthesiology residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He worked at Jamaica Hospital in New York City for 25 years as an anesthesiologist. He was on the front lines addressing health disparities and saving lives and will be remembered for his commitment to clinical and academic excellence, integrity, humor, patience, and class.
Tribute to Dr. Daniel Denis Laroche, Sr., MD (1932-2020)
Dr. Daniel D. Laroche was born on February 7, 1932 in Jacmel, Haiti. He was the son of Pauline Denis and Clautere Laroche. He was the youngest of the children that included brothers Andre, Leon, Elie and Aristide Laroche and sisters Genese and Sylvie Laroche. His father died before he was born, and he grew up in a large family with a single mom. There were many financial struggles at home and in a country with a challenged economy, high unemployment, and limited economic opportunities. He would often work hard at the local coffee businesses and other odd jobs.
During his early school years, Daniel learned about Napoleon Bonaparte who stated, “My decision to destroy the authority of the blacks in Saint Dominque (Haiti) is not so much based on considerations of commerce and money, as on the need to block forever the march of the blacks in the world”. He also learned about Tousaint L’overture a national hero of Haiti who defeated Napoleon but was subsequently kidnapped deceitfully and stated. “In overthrowing me, you have cut only the trunk of the tree of liberty. It will spring up again for its roots are numerous and deep”. This education always stuck with Daniel and motivated him to achieve success despite historical obstacles. He was very bright and studious and graduated from Université d’État d’Haïti (UEH) medical school in Haiti.
In pursuit of better opportunities, he migrated to Montreal, Canada and did his residency in Internal Medicine at the hospital Notre Dame. While training he met and fell in love with Lise Beaulieu and got married. Despite his intelligence and becoming chief resident at the hospital since he was not a Canadian citizen to practice in Canada, he was told he would have to work as a Chief resident for five additional years. He was not happy about this and felt he was being taken advantage of and exploited. Learning about the shortage and need for anesthesiologists in the U.S. he learned English and moved to New York City and to pursue fairer opportunities and started another residency in anesthesiology at Mount Sinai Hospital. He was one of the first Blacks in the anesthesiology residency at Mount Sinai. He then became board certified in anesthesiology. After he left Canada the residency at L’Hopital Notre Dame changed their policy of differential treatment of foreign doctors with extended residencies.
Daniel worked at Jamaica Hospital in New York City for 25 years as an anesthesiologist, a profession he loved. He was on the front lines addressing health disparities and saving lives from gunshot wounds, drug abuse and domestic violence and health disparities during the turbulent times of the 70s, 80s and 90s in Queens, New York. He further observed ongoing racial health care disparities in the Caribbean, Africa and around the world. He supported addressing this by delivering excellent care, via remittances, charitable causes, and mentoring. He loved classical music, reading, finance and was inspired by Toussaint L’Overture and Martin Luther King, Jr. and was always trying to make the world a better place.
He then retired and moved to Dania Beach where he called home for over 23 years. Throughout his life he achieved his childhood dream of traveling around the world. Daniel also invested in owning his own home and the stock market with a diversified portfolio with monthly contributions and dollar cost averaging. He believed in saving for a rainy day, “save each penny and the dollars will take care of themselves”, creating generational wealth and legacy. He was married 55 years with his beloved wife Lise. Daniel will be remembered for his commitment to academic excellence, integrity, humor, patience, and class. They had three children. Daniel, Josee, and Manon all became successful professionals with his guidance and emphasis on higher education.
Daniel Denis Laroche, Sr., MD Scholarship
2021 Committee Members
Dr. Matthew Thompson
Dr. Fregens Dulvalsaint
Dr. Chantal Pyram Vincent
Dr. Claude D. Brunson
Dr. Cheryl Gooden
Dr. Andrea Clarke-Moore