Latest News
Dr. Richardson to be 46th William T. Fitts Orator
Dr. J. David Richardson Dr. J. David Richardson has been invited to give the Fitts Oration on Thursday, September 30 at the 80th Annual American Association for the Surgery of Trauma meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. He will the 46th William T. Fitts Orator, and his presentation title will be, “Trauma and Acute Care Surgery: The Evolution of a Specialty."
Dr. Jones Encourages Local Community to Donate Blood
Dr. Christopher Jones

Department of Surgery's Dr. Christopher Jones, Division Director, Division of Transplantation, appeared on local TV and radio to encourage blood donations since they are so vital to organ transplantation.

WAVE 3-TV
WFPL-Radio
WLKY-TV
WDRB-TV
WHAS-TV
iHeart Radio
WYMT-TV

Department of Surgery Welcomes New Interns on Match Day 2021
2021 Interns

The Department of Surgery is thrilled to announce our new class of categorical general surgery residents. Congratulations and welcome to the family!

  • Pooja Avula - Western Michigan
  • Toyokazu Endo - U of Nevada
  • Leslie Fogwe - U of Missouri
  • Victoria Hammond - U of Louisville
  • Mohammed Ranavaya - Marshall U
  • Brandon Ryvkin - St. Louis Univ
  • Brittany Sims - U of Louisville
  • Kyle Stephens - U of New Mexico
  • Alan Sumski - Ohio State U
  • David Wang - U of Iowa
'Resident Mom' Molly Burke-Poole To Retire
'Resident Mom' Molly Burke-Poole To Retire

'Resident Mom' Molly Burke-Poole will retire March 19, 2021. Graduate Medical Education Administrator for the Department of Surgery, Molly has coordinated the Department of Surgery Residency Program for more than two decades. Molly has worked closely with each resident to ensure they are successful during their training.

She is every resident's best friend, confidant, life coach, counselor, cheerleader and chaplain. She laughs with them, cries with them, and shares their joys and sorrows.

"Although we have 50 residents at any given time, she knows all of their spouses and children not only by name but knows all about their lives. She is the most empathetic person I have ever known. She always has a smile on her face and a kind word on her lips," said Kelly McMasters, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Surgery.

Molly joined the Department in February 1990, after 5 years in the Department of Psychiatry, as an Administrative Assistant to William Cheadle, M.D. When he became Program Director of the residency program in 1995, Molly worked behind the scenes with Angela Jones, former Residency Coordinator.

In 2019, Molly received the UofL School of Medicine's 2019 Dean's Lifetime Achievement Award.

For decades, Molly has given her heart and soul to the Department of Surgery. Never has there been anyone who has been more loyal, dedicated, devoted, and committed to the Department of Surgery. We will always be grateful for her lifetime of selfless service.

Molly has requested we do not do any type of retirement celebration—even virtual. We will respect her wishes. Please feel free to email Molly to thank and congratulate her at her UofL email address.

Pam Schmidt Wins UofL School of Medicine Heart of the School Award
Pam Schmidt

Congratulations to Pamela Schmidt for receiving the UofL School of Medicine Heart of the School Award. Pam is the backbone, heart and soul of the Department of Surgery. She has worked for the University of Louisville for 31 years, more than 20 of those in the Department of Surgery.

Pam is reliable, conscientious, trustworthy and friendly. She is a consummate professional who efficiently and effectively manages many complex tasks and projects simultaneously. She handles all of these duties with grace and poise. Pam is invaluable to the Department of Surgery and the University of Louisville. Her professionalism sets the standard of excellence for every employee at UofL.

Beloved Department Ambassador Debbie Krause Retires
Debbie Krause

Debbie Krause, cherished Department of Surgery senior coordinator for the past 47 years, retires today, January 8th. During her tenure with the Department, Debbie has completed a broad range of tasks in service to the University of Louisville with the greatest loyalty, professionalism, competence and grace.

The heart and soul of the Department, Debbie exemplifies the excellence we strive to achieve in the Department. Throughout the course of her career, Debbie has always paid meticulous attention to detail and planned well in advance for every possible contingency. She has been the consummate ambassador for the University, as she has been our liaison with countless other institutions and leaders in American Medicine and Surgery.

Debbie joined the Department of Surgery in 1974 as a receptionist. Her role grew over the years. Debbie coordinated Grand Rounds, visiting lectureships, the annual Chief Residents' Graduation Dinner, retirement celebrations, and memorial services. She also organized the Louisville Surgical Society and the Hiram C. Polk, Jr., MD, Surgical Society and always helped out anywhere else she is needed.

Debbie exudes warmth for our medical students and residents, as well as faculty and co-workers. She remembers the names of their spouses and children, as well as special details about each and every one of them. For her role in coordinating our visiting lectureships and Grand Rounds programs, Debbie was the perfect host and continually receives letters of praise from visiting professors and their staff.

In 2018, Debbie received the inaugural University of Louisville School of Medicine Dean's Lifetime Achievement Award, which was created by School of Medicine Dean Toni Ganzel, MD, as a special recognition for employees who have served the school with excellence for many years.

A heartfelt congratulations to Debbie on your retirement. We will miss you tremendously and wish you all the best in this next chapter of your life.

Dr. Jason Smith Leads UofL Health COVID-19 Pandemic Response
Dr. Smith holds vaccine

Dr. Smith Holds Vaccine

Jason Smith, MD, PhD, knows how to think quickly on his feet and mobilize others into action. After all, as a busy trauma surgeon and Chief of the Division of General Surgery, he does it daily. So it comes as no surprise that Dr. Smith, who also serves as UofL Health’s Chief Medical Officer, has been leading UofL Health’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

"Dr. Smith has dedicated countless hours to adeptly leading our COVID-19 response," says Kelly McMasters, MD, PhD, Chair, Department of Surgery. "He has led from the front lines as a trauma surgeon during the pandemic, all the while going above and beyond the call of duty to keep us all safe."

Here is a sampling of all Dr. Smith has done since the pandemic began:

  • Under Dr. Smith’s leadership, UofL Health adopted early mandatory universal masking policy that has helped keep our employees safe.
  • He utilized both his medical expertise and talent as a communicator to lead information sharing in our system. It was his voice that became the voice of reason and truth for hundreds across out system as he led COVID update conference calls. At the height of changing protocols these were done three times a week with more than 200 people participants. They still continue weekly.
  • He coordinated efforts between UofL Health, Baptist and Norton hospitals so that all our community hospital systems were able to be uniform in most COVID-19 practices and protocols.
  • He led the process to implement early drive-thru testing sites, leading to UofL Health opening the first drive-thru site in the state.
  • He coordinated with area long-term care facilities to help with their testing needs.
  • He advocated for early adoption of technology and lab equipment to expand our testing.
  • As the flu season neared, he helped establish the FREE flu vaccination process in underserved parts of the county. UofL Health is now making 10,000 FREE flu vaccines available.
  • He has worked to continually improve quality and safety by integrating all of our new facilities. He has ensured they had the required resources to move the needle on key safety initiatives despite being in the middle of a pandemic. Quality numbers are rising.
  • He has made more than 150 media appearances during the pandemic. Indeed, he has become a nationally respected medical expert and media presence.
  • He is leading the Covid-19 vaccination effort across UofL Health.

"Dr. Smith has instilled a sense of confidence and competence that has been reassuring to all at UofL, as well as the public," Dr. McMasters says. "He has stepped up in a time of crisis and selflessly devoted untold hours to make sure we have been as prepared as possible to meet this global pandemic."

Department of Surgery Welcomes New Faculty Member to the Division of Vascular Surgery
Nancy S. Clark, MD, JD

Nancy S. Clark, MD, JD, joined the Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapeutics in the Department of Surgery on Jan. 4. Dr. Clark attended medical school at University of Kentucky College of Medicine, completed her residency in General Surgery at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, MD and a fellowship in Vascular Surgery at the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, NJ. She also holds a Juris Doctor from University of Maryland. Dr. Clark’s expertise includes limb salvage and wound care, abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and endovascular interventions for treatment of peripheral vascular disease. Welcome, Dr. Clark!

Anna Booker Wins Clinical Staff Award
Anna Booker

Congratulations to Anna Booker for receiving the ULP Clinical Staff Award for Performance Excellence in a Clinical Department. Anna exudes a warmth and empathy for our patients and staff that can’t be taught. She is devoted to our patients on a daily basis. She goes above and beyond when it comes to patient care. She handles patient concerns with grace and compassion and when they arise always treats patients as family.

As a supervisor, Ms. Booker is revered by all of her staff, as well as her peers and practice providers. She often trains new staff members, works with other physicians as needed, and is an enthusiastic cheerleader for our staff. Her patients and our staff adore her and often share about their personal relationship with Anna during their medical journey.

Department Immunologist Discovers Biomarker Warning that Could Save Lives in Fight Against COVID-19
Jun Yan, M.D., Ph.D.

Jun Yan, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Division of Immunology in the Department of Surgery and professor of surgery and microbiology and immunology at the University of Louisville, led a team of researchers in the discovery of an important biomarker that predicts a crisis in COVID-19 patients that could lead to death.

Yan, an immunologist, along with UofL Professor of Anesthesiology Jiapeng Huang, M.D., Ph.D., and M.D./Ph.D. student Samantha Morrissey, Ph.D., conducted a patient study to better understand the most severe cases of COVID-19.

Approximately 20 percent of COVID-19 patients experience severe disease, including pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). In some of these patients, the rapid influx of immune cells to the lungs to fight the infection leads to complications in the lung and blood coagulation disorders, resulting in heart attack, pulmonary embolism, stroke or deep vein thrombosis.

To better understand these serious complications, Yan’s team evaluated levels of various immune cells in blood samples of COVID-19 patients and compared those levels with those of healthy individuals. They discovered that one type of immune cells, low-density inflammatory neutrophils, became highly elevated in some patients whose condition became very severe. This elevation signaled a point of clinical crisis and increased likelihood of death within a few days. Neutrophils are one type of immune cells that serve as the first line of defense in the body. When an individual acquires an infection, neutrophils rush to the site to clear the pathogen causing the infection. However, if their presence is persistent or there is a very high volume of cells at the site of infection, in this case the lungs, they can cause unwanted adverse effects. In the case of patients with severe COVID-19, a blood clotting disorder known as coagulopathy occurred, that can manifest as pulmonary embolism, heart attack or stroke.

The study, published online as a preprint, details shifting levels of these neutrophils and other immune cells through repeated blood samples from study participants, correlated with improvement or worsening of the patients’ condition. If clinicians could detect a rise in these cells, they may be able to provide therapy to prevent the potential life-threatening conditions associated with them.

"Based on this study, we believe that the low-density inflammatory band neutrophil population contributes to COVID-19-associated coagulopathy (CAC) and could be used as a clinical marker to monitor disease status and progression," Yan said. "Identifying patients who are trending toward a cellular crisis and then implementing early, appropriate treatment could improve mortality rates for severe COVID-19 patients."

To provide additional clinical options for physicians in addressing these crises, Yan is now working with other researchers at UofL to test potential therapies.

Dr. Richardson Wins University-Wide Service Award
Dr. Richardson

Dr. J. David Richardson was selected for the UofL Distinguished Faculty Award in the category of Distinguished Service. Dr. Richardson has enjoyed a distinguished career as a surgeon and educator in the Department of Surgery at University of Louisville School of Medicine for more than 40 years and served as Vice Chair of the Department for more than two decades. Dr. Richardson will receive his award at the UofL Celebration of Faculty and Staff Excellence, which has been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Department of Surgery Welcomes New Faculty
New faculty

The Department of Surgery welcomed two new faculty members Sept. 1. Sandra L. Kavalukas, M.D. joins the section of Colorectal Surgery and Stewart R. Carter, MD joins the Division of Pediatric Surgery.

Dr. Kavalukas attended medical school at Pennsylvania State University, completed her residency in General Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a fellowship in Colorectal Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Florida. She also trained as a Physician Assistant prior to attending medical school. Dr. Kavalukas' expertise includes inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer, diverticulitis, laparoscopic and robotic surgery and anorectal disorders.

Dr. Carter attended medical school at University of Louisville School of Medicine, completed his residency in General Surgery at Loyola University of Chicago and fellowships in Pediatric Surgery and Pediatric Endosurgery at University of Alabama Birmingham/Children's of Alabama and Pediatric Surgical Critical Care at Northwestern University/Lurie Children's Hospital Chicago. His expertise includes minimally invasive surgery, single incision laparoscopy, surgical critical care and pediatric trauma, and his research interests include non-invasive monitoring in critically ill infants and children, pulmonary inflammation in the surgical patient, neonatal Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, surgical education with a focus on pediatric and neonatal laparoscopy.

Dr. Downard named Director of Division of Pediatric Surgery
Cynthia D. Downard, MD, MMSc

Cynthia D. Downard, MD, MMSc, was named division chief of the Division of Pediatric Surgery in July. Dr. Downard is a professor of Surgery, the Hirikati S. Nagaraj, MD Chair of Pediatric Surgery, Program Director of the Pediatric Surgery Fellowship and Surgeon-in-Chief, Norton Children’s Hospital.

She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and fellow of the American College of Surgeons. A graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Dr. Downard completed her general surgery residency at Oregon Health & Science University and a fellowship in Surgical Critical Care at Children’s Hospital Boston, where she also was a Clinical Research Fellow in Surgery. She has a Masters in Medical Science in Translational Research from Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. Dr. Downard also completed a Fellowship in Pediatric Surgery at Emory University – Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Dr. Cynthia Downard began practicing Pediatric Surgery in 2007.

Department to Offer Vascular Surgery Fellowship
Vascular 3D image

The Division of Vascular Surgery in the Department of Surgery at University of Louisville School of Medicine is proud to announce that we will offer a fellowship in Vascular Surgery in the very near future. The Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapeutics is a dynamic academic division of the Department of Surgery. It has a tripartite mission that includes the provision of clinical care and services, conduct of clinical and translational research, and education, which includes undergraduate medical, graduate, and continuing medical education.

Pediatric Surgeon Mary Fallat, MD to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Fallat

Dr. Mary Fallat, the Hirikati S. Nagaraj Professor and Chief of Pediatric Surgery in the Department of Surgery at UofL School of Medicine, will receive the Pediatric Trauma Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Fallat will be awarded during the 6th annual meeting of the Pediatric Trauma Society Nov. 13 – 16 in San Diego. She will be the fourth recipient of this award.

Dr. Fallat has been selected for this honor because of her longstanding commitment to improving the care of injured children through system development, research and advocacy. She has promoted a focus on injured children in national pediatric and trauma professional organizations. She has served as a role model locally, nationally, and regionally for those with a career focus in pediatric trauma.

Department Holds Virtual Graduation
Virtual Graduation

The Department of Surgery held its annual Chief Residents Dinner virtually this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is a link to the presentation of this year’s department recognitions and awards.

Dr. Miller Named 2020 Faculty Inductee in the Gold Humanism Honor Society
Keith Miller, M.D.

Keith Miller, M.D., assistant professor of surgery in the Department of Surgery, has been named as the 2020 Faculty Inductee in the Gold Humanism Honor Society at the University of Louisville School of Medicne. He presented the keynote address at ceremony, which took place March 2. The mission of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) is to recognize individuals who are exemplars of humanistic patient care and who can serve as role models, mentors, and leaders in medicine. The society is a national cohort of physicians, fellows, residents and medical students who strive to inspire and cultivate humanism within themselves, their peers and their patients.

Keith Miller, MD embodies humanism in medicine. He treats everyone with a level of sincerity, respect and genuine kindness. It doesn’t matter whether you are the president of the hospital or the person cleaning the floors, Dr. Keith Miller knows the names of everyone who works there. He stops and talks to everyone he passes in the hallway to ask how they are doing and about their families.

Dr. Miller’s bedside manner is incredible. He sits and talks with patients and their families as long as needed to put their minds at ease and help them make an informed decisions that he genuinely feels is in their best interest, as well as the most up-to-date, relevant medical options. He has laughed with them; he has cried with them.

Dr. Miller is beloved by his colleagues throughout the hospital. He won our department’s most coveted resident teaching award last year, which is the pinnacle achievement for our teaching faculty. Dr. Miller is very involved in medical education, serving in many roles, including as an academic advisory dean and associate program director for the general surgery residency program. He mentors medical students, residents and fellows on a multitude of research projects. He teaches medical knowledge, judgment, and science. What he teaches that is more important, however, is humanism. Through word, deed, and example, Dr. Keith Miller is the consummate role model for physicians in the care of patients and their families.

Department Faculty Awarded at School of Medicine Awards Ceremony
Department Faculty Awarded

The Department of Surgery once again swept a School of Medicine awards competition - this time it was the faculty bringing in the awards. Congratulations to Dr. J. David Richardson for receiving the Service to Profession Award, Dr. Bradon Wilhelmi for winning the Outstanding Educator Award and Dr. Mohan Rao for receiving the Gratis Faculty Teaching Award. They received their awards at the inaugural UofL School of Medicine's Celebration of Faculty Excellence Awards Ceremony.

Department Creates Division of Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy graphic

Department of Surgery is proud to announce the Division of Immunotherapy, which is leading the way to improve our understanding of the role of immunotherapy in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Our team of researchers is engaged in pioneering research designed to trigger our bodies’ own immune system to fight disease.

Dr. Mohan Rao Receives Faculty Excellence Award
Faculty Excellence Award

Dr. Mohan Rao is the recipient of UofL School of Medicine's 2019 Faculty Excellence Award for Outstanding Education by Gratis Faculty.

Dr. Rao completed his General Surgery residency at the University of Louisville and has enjoyed a distinguished career as a general and critical care surgeon. He is a master surgeon with the heart of a teacher and has demonstrated exceptional loyalty and commitment to the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

For decades, Dr. Rao has been the most popular and effective educator in our student teaching program—all as a gratis faculty member. Our general surgery residents also rotate at Madisonville under Dr. Rao’s mentorship, and he has truly influenced many to enter into careers in rural general surgery.

Dr. Rao puts forth extraordinary effort to make our student and resident teaching programs better in every way and is truly deserving of this award.

Dr. Tobin To Receive KMA 2019 Distinguished Service Award
Dr. Gordon Tobin

Dr. Gordon Tobin, professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery, will receive Kentucky Medical Association's 2019 Distinguished Service Award on Sept. 21, 2019. Dr. Tobin is recognized for his significant contributions to the field of medicine.

Dr. Tobin's career encompasses surgical education, pioneering medial research, care for the underserved at home and abroad and physician leadership in local, state and national organizations. Professor of Surgery and former Plastic Surgery Director, he founded a robust research laboratory that developed many new reconstructive techniques and pioneered hand and face transplantation. He is Director of Craniofacial Transplantation at UofL and an original member of the team that laid essential research foundations and performed the world’s first successful hand transplant in 1999.

Gunshot Victims Thank Trauma Team for Saving Their Lives
Photo of Gunshot Victim Embracing UofL Trauma Surgeon

Read More...

Nine Department Faculty Members Voted Top Docs In Their Specialty
Louisville Magazine Top Docs

Congrats to the following physicians named Louisville Magazine's Top Docs in their respective categories:

GENERAL SURGERY
  • Matthew V. Benns, M.D.
  • Keith Miller, M.D.
PLASTIC SURGERY
  • Terry M. McCurry, M.D.
  • Jarrod A. Little, M.D.
SURGICAL ONCOLOGY
  • Michael E. Egger, M.D.
  • Robert C.G. Martin II, M.D.
  • Kelly M. McMasters, M.D.
  • Charles R. Scoggins, M.D.
VASCULAR SURGERY
  • Amit J. Dwivedi, M.D.

View the full list of Top Docs on Louisville Magazine's website.

Tyler Ellis, M.D., MSCR Joins Colon & Rectal Surgery Faculty
Tyler Ellis, M.D., MSCR

The Department of Surgery is excited to welcome Tyler Ellis, MD, MSCR, to the Colon and Rectal Surgery Section of the Division of General Surgery. Dr. Ellis attended medical school at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. He then completed his general surgery residency at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a fellowship in colorectal surgery at University of Massachusetts in Worchester, MA. He also has a fellowship in clinical research from Medical University of South Carolina.

Dr. Dylan Adamson Joins Division of Transplantation
Dr. Dylan Adamson

The Department of Surgery is excited to welcome alumni Dylan Adamson, M.D., Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Transplantation. Dr. Adamson attended medical school at University of Toledo College of Medicine. He then completed his general surgery residency at University of Louisville and a fellowship in Abdominal Organ Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

UofL Department of Surgery Announces First Patient Enrolled in NanoKnife® DIRECT Clinical Study for the Treatment of Stage III Pancreatic Cancer
Dr. Robert C.G. Martin, Co-Principal Investigator of the DIRECT Study

University of Louisville Department of Surgery recently announced enrollment of the first patient in AngioDynamics’ NanoKnife® Irreversible Electroporation (IRE) "Data IRECancer Treatment” clinical study (DIRECT).

Read more about the DIRECT Study.

Chair of Department Named President of the Southern Surgical Association
Dr. McMasters

Dr. Kelly McMasters has been named president of the Southern Surgical Association, one of the nation's leading surgical societies dedicated to furthering the study and practice of surgery. Dr. McMasters previously served a five-year term as secretary of the Southern Surgical Association.

View photos from the Southern Surgical Society event.

Department Coordinator Debbie Krause Wins Lifetime Achievement Award
Debbie Krause

Debbie Krause, Department of Surgery coordinator, received the inaugural Dean’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the UofL School of Medicine Dean’s Appreciation Reception, Nov. 13. The Dean’s Lifetime Achievement Award was created by School of Medicine Dean Toni Ganzel, MD, as a special recognition for employees who have served the school with excellence for many years. Debbie has worked for the Department of Surgery for nearly 45 years. During her tenure, she has completed a variety of tasks in service to UofL with the greatest loyalty, professionalism, competence and grace.

“Debbie exemplifies the excellence we strive to achieve in the department. Throughout the course of her career, Debbie has always paid meticulous attention to detail and plans well in advance for every possible contingency. She is the consummate ambassador for the University, as she is our liaison with countless other institutions and leaders in American medicine and surgery,” said Kelly McMasters, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Surgery. “She exudes warmth for our medical students and residents, as well as new and veteran faculty and co-workers. She remembers the names of their spouses and children, as well as special details about each and every one of them. For her role in coordinating our visiting lectureships and grand rounds programs, Debbie is the perfect host and continually receives letters of praise from visiting professors and their staff.”

ULH Operating Suites Renamed the Frank B. Miller, MD Operating Suites
Frank B. Miller, M.D. Surgical Suite

On July 18, the operating suites at University of Louisville Hospital were officially renamed the Frank B. Miller, MD Operating Suites in honor of the venerable Dr. Frank Miller, dedicated teacher, surgeon and humanitarian who committed much of his life to giving back through teaching and medical mission work. An accomplished surgeon and academician, Dr. Miller's kindness toward others shined bright throughout his life.

Dr. Frank Miller was an Indiana native and graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine. He served a tour of duty in Vietnam, where he was a captain, prior to general surgery residency at the University of Louisville. He joined the University of Louisville Department of Surgery faculty in 1984.

Dr. Miller rose to the rank of Professor of Surgery, where he enjoyed a distinguished career as a surgeon and educator, and served as Chief of Surgery at University of Louisville Hospital for more than a decade. He was Chief of General Surgery, Director of Surgical Education and Director of Trauma.

Dr. Miller was a highly respected surgeon who was a member of several prestigious surgical societies. He had numerous leadership roles on a local, state and national level and lectured throughout the world. He published more than 100 scientific articles and book chapters and received innumerable teaching awards—so many that one such award was subsequently named in his honor. Dr. Miller had a long history of international medical service in third-world countries on three continents.

Dr. Miller was the safety net for a generation of surgical residents, who always called upon him to help with the most difficult situations. He practiced general, vascular and trauma surgery with the greatest skill and compassion imaginable. He improved or saved the lives of innumerable patients. He was adored by an entire generation of medical students, residents, fellows, nurses and other healthcare professionals for his teaching skill and compassion. His service to University of Louisville Hospital was unrivaled.

Department Celebrates Retirement of Dedicated Cancer Researchers
H. Sam Zhou, Ph.D., Kelly M. McMasters, M.D., Ph.D. and X. Mei Rao, M.D.

The Department of Surgery celebrated the retirement of research faculty members H. Sam Zhou, Ph.D. and X. Mei Rao, MD on June 7, 2019. In 2002, they joined the research team of Dr. Kelly McMasters and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center to conduct research in the field of cancer gene therapy. Working closely with his wife, X. Mei Rao, MD, Dr. Zhou has had continuous research funding throughout his career in the Department of Surgery at UofL, including his work as Principal Investigator on a $1 million NIH R01 grant funded from 2009-2014. Together, their work on oncolytic virus replication and cancer gene therapy resulted in multiple high-quality publications and major contributions to science.

"Dr. Zhou and Dr. Rao have dedicated their careers to the fight against cancer and have made significant contributions to the field," said Dr. McMasters. "It is our honor to celebrate their careers."

Dr. Bradon Wilhelmi Receives KMA Educational Achievement Award
Dr. Bradon Wilhelmi at the KMA Annual Meeting

The Kentucky Medical Association presented its Educational Achievement Award to Bradon Wilhelmi, MD at the 2018 KMA Annual Meeting on Aug. 25.

The award is presented to individuals who have made outstanding contributions and achievements in the area of continuing medical education. Dr. Wilhelmi is a Chair of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

He was recognized for his efforts to revitalize UofL’s Plastic Surgery Residency program. Since joining the faculty in 2007, Dr. Wilhelmi worked to revamp the program, and since his changes were implemented, the program’s annual in-service scores have improved by 200 percent, and the board pass rate has been 100 percent since he came to the Department. His mentorship of students involved in research projects has culminated in 100 scientific research publications and 25 textbook chapters. He was lauded by colleagues for having a passion and dedication to teaching and has mentored more than 25 residents and 75 medical students.

“Dr. Wilhelmi carries substantial teaching responsibilities, which he fulfills in an outstanding manner,” said colleague and KMA past-president Gordin Tobin, MD. “The formal teaching programs and quizzes he organizes are most effective in keeping our residents broadly informed and up-to-date, as demonstrated by our residents’ high performance level on in-service and Board examinations, as well as in clinical skill evaluations.”

Dr. Kelly McMasters Named New Editor-in-Chief for Annals of Surgical Oncology
Annals of Surgical Oncology Cover

The Society of Surgical Oncology announced Kelly M. McMasters, MD, PhD as the new Editor-in-Chief of Annals of Surgical Oncology (ASO) effective March 2018. Dr. McMasters becomes only the second Editor in the journal’s nearly 25-year history to assume the role. He will oversee the print and online editions of ASO and with Mark Roh, MD, Executive Editor, will lead a prestigious editor roster of expert leaders in surgical oncology, including more than 20 section editors and associate section editors from around the world, as well as U.S.-based associate and deputy editors. Dr. McMasters begins his position on March 23, 2018 in conjunction with the journal’s 25th anniversary and the retirement of Charles M. Balch, MD, who established the prominence of the publication in the field of surgical oncology. Dr. McMasters will report directly to the SSO Executive Council and will carry out editorial responsibilities from his office in Louisville, KY.

"Annals of Surgical Oncology has a rich heritage as the premier source of clinical and translational science related to cancer surgery and multidisciplinary care. It is an honor and a privilege to lead an outstanding editorial board into the future," said Dr. McMasters.

ASO is the worldwide journal of choice of surgical oncologists and is the official journal of the Society of Surgical Oncology and the American Society of Breast Surgeons. According to Thompson-Reuters, in the 2016 impact factor ranking among all surgical oncology scholarly periodicals, ASO has the most citations of all surgical journals in the world, the highest number of source items, and a current impact factor of 4.041. The journal promotes clinical and translational cancer research, with an emphasis on clinical trials. Leading subject areas of ASO include Gastrointestinal Oncology, Breast Oncology, Hepatobiliary Tumors, Colorectal Cancer, Thoracic Oncology, and Translational Research. ASO strives to enhance the quality of life and survival of the surgical patient with cancer and to improve the practice environment in which high-quality surgical oncology care is delivered. ASO also facilitates the career development of surgical trainees and their transition into academic and community-based practice and publishes timely articles about public policy and patient advocacy issues related to the surgical patient with cancer.

Department Bids Farewell to Faithful Employee
John Edward McKiernan

Beloved former Department of Surgery employee John Edward McKiernan, Jr. passed away Friday, March 1, 2019. He was 78.

A graduate of Flaget High School class of 1958 and Western Kentucky University, John was a proud U.S. Navy veteran and long-time member of St. Barnabas parish.

In the late 1960s John taught commercial business at Seneca, Fairdale, Western and Southern high Schools. He was employed for 20 years at the L&N Railroad and later at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts Broadway Series. He retired from the University of Louisville Department of Surgery in 2009 after 12 years of service.

A seasoned world traveler, he was loved and remembered for his passion for dancing, Frank Sinatra music, his larger-than-life personality and generous heart. He possessed a natural gift for conversation and was interested in everyone who crossed his path. In his Flaget days he was the jitterbug king at just about every Catholic teen club in Louisville. He was especially proud of his Irish Catholic heritage and was admired and adored by everyone.

At John's request, expressions of sympathy may be made to Presentation Academy Development Office, 861 South Fourth Street, Louisville, KY 40202.

Surgery Chair Addresses Diversity and Sexual Harassment at National Meeting
Dr. McMasters at Society of Surgical Chairs meeting

This year's Society of Surgical Chairs meeting focused on two important topics: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Sexual Harassment & Misconduct. Department of Surgery Chair Dr. Kelly McMasters served as president of the Society of Surgical Chairs and organized this year's meeting.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion don’t happen by accident; a deliberate approach is needed. Similarly, creating an environment that diminishes the likelihood of sexual harassment and misconduct requires leadership, education and communication," Dr. McMasters said. "As the leaders in American surgery, it is important for the Society of Surgical Chairs to engage in ongoing conversations about these issues.”

Dr. Falcone Recognized for His Commitment to Medical Education
Dr. John L. Falcone

A champion of medical education and a patient advocate, clinical faculty member John L. Falcone, MD, MS, was recently recognized for his tremendous contributions as a surgical educator with the Association for Surgical Education Linnea Hauge, PhD Promising Educational Scholar Award. In addition, he has been selected to receive a University of Louisville Gratis Faculty Teaching Award.

At the University of Louisville Department of Surgery, Dr. Falcone has been an integral part of our teaching faculty in the community rotation at Owensboro, KY. The hospital in Owensboro has a regular rotation of general surgical residents who are actively mentored and trained in a comprehensive, community surgical experience. As many academic institutions now lack a meaningful community hospital rotation, Dr. Falcone’s leadership of that program has been invaluable to the education of our surgical residents. His teaching evaluations from both the medical students who participate in that rotation as well as our surgical residents are always excellent.

Transplant Team Has Banner Year
Dr. Christopher Jones

On Dec. 1, 2017, the Transplant Team at Jewish Hospital Transplant Center performed its 175th transplant of the year - breaking the record for number of transplants done in a year (with 30 days remaining to build on this record)!

In addition, earlier this year, the Transplant Team reached three other milestones. It completed 5,000 organ transplants, including its 900th liver transplant and 3,000th kidney transplant. The Division of Transplantation is in the UofL Department of Surgery and is led by Dr. Christopher Jones. It is an integral part of the Transplant Team at the Jewish Hospital Transplant Center.

Department Holds Inaugural R. Neal Garrison MD Lectureship
Drs. Charles M. MIller and R. Neal Garrison

The Department of Surgery held the inaugural R. Neal Garrison MD Lectureship Feb. 15 and 16, 2018. The speaker was Charles M. Miller, MD, program director for liver transplantation at the Cleveland Clinic.

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Society of Surgical Oncology 2018 Presidential Address
Dr. Kelly McMasters

Dr. Kelly McMasters , UofL Department of Surgery Chair, delivered a powerful and inspirational Presidential Address at the Society of Surgical Oncology 2018 Annual Cancer Symposium, which has now been published in Annals of Surgical Oncology. Read the Annals of Surgical Oncology article.

Watch the video of the Presidential Address.

Dr. Kelly McMasters Delivered a Touching Tribute to Dr. Frank Miller
Dr. Frank Miller

Chair of the Department of Surgery, Dr. Kelly McMasters, delivered a touching tribute to Dr. Frank Miller at a memorial service in honor of Dr. Miller, Jan. 20. View Dr. McMasters' tribute.

First-Year Medical Students Attend Surgery Club Dinner
Freshman-Sophomore Surgery Club Dinner

First-year medical students attend the Freshman-Sophomore Surgery Club Dinner on March 26, 2018 at The Olmsted. Dr. Matt Bozeman was the guest speaker.

Chair of Department Named President of Society of Surgical Chairs
Dr. Kelly McMasters

Dr. Kelly McMasters has been named president of the Society of Surgical Chairs (SSC), an international organization comprised of chairs of departments of surgery and surgical specialty departments of medical schools, academic medical centers and teaching hospitals of the United States and Canada. The purpose of the SSC is to cultivate and enhance academic surgery. The SSC is a managed program of the American College of Surgeons.

Gordon Tobin, MD, Named 2017 Ephraim McDowell Physician of the Year
Dr. Gordon Tobin at Doctors' Ball

Gordon Tobin, MD, was awarded the Ephraim McDowell Physician of the Year at the 2017 Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation Doctors’ Ball.

The Ephraim McDowell Physician of the Year honors a physician who has made significant contributions to the field of medicine, provided humanitarian service, and demonstrated the highest ethical standards. This is typically a physician who has shown long-term service to the community.

Born and raised in Idaho, Dr. Tobin completed his undergraduate degree at Whitman College in Washington and his medical degree at the University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco. He completed residencies and General Surgery and Plastic Surgery at the University of Arizona before coming to Louisville.

Dr. Tobin career encompasses surgical education, pioneering medial research, care for the underserved at home and abroad and physician leadership in local, state and national organizations. Professor of Surgery and former Plastic Surgery Director, he founded a robust research laboratory that developed many new reconstructive techniques and pioneered hand and face transplantation. He is Director of Craniofacial Transplantation at UofL and an original member of the team that laid essential research foundations and performed the world’s first successful hand transplant in 1999.

Dr. Tobin is a member of the Jewish Hospital and UofL Cardiac Innovation Institute Pancreatic Islet Transplantation Team, which seeks a cure for diabetes. He also studies and writes extensively on medical ethics and medical history. He has written more than 300 scientific and medical papers, book chapters and books.

As founder of the UofL Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory, Dr. Tobin’s early research provided many breakthroughs in reconstructive surgery for cancer, burns and trauma. His technique of pelvic and vaginal reconstruction after radical pelvic cancer has become the preferred method worldwide. He pioneered reconstruction of cardiac and thoracic surgery defects, as well as early excision and coverage of burns. He also developed methods of vital organ coverage in separation of conjoined (Siamese) twins, working with UofL Pediatric and Cardiac Surgery teams.

Throughout his career, Dr. Tobin has embraced medical missions abroad and at home. In 1991, he co-founded the Vietnam Burn Care Mission to bring modern burn care to Southeast Asia. The mission team made repeated medical care and teaching visits to Vietnam burn centers over the subsequent decade, leading to vastly improved burn survival. He is a care provider and Board Member of Healing the Children, and he supports the volunteer efforts of Surgery On Sunday. His long-standing support of The Healing Place has helped the recovery program reach beyond alcohol-dependency recovery to address the current opioid and heroin epidemic.

Dr. Tobin is also a long-standing supporter of Kentucky’s Supplies Over Seas (SOS) organization. He led the 2005 SOS effort for Afghanistan and is involved in current relief effort for Syrian refugee camps. In 2015, he obtained a grant from the Kentucky Medical Association Foundation to test and refurbish costly, high-tech equipment. This effort recycles sophisticated equipment worth millions of dollars for impoverished overseas hospitals while keeping tons of metal and toxic electronics out of U.S. landfills. He has received multiple humanitarian service awards and election to humanitarian honor societies.

Dr. Tobin has served in local, state and national roles in various medical societies. He is Past President of both the Greater Louisville Medical Society (GLMS) and the Kentucky Medical Association (KMA) and continues service on the KMA Foundation Board. His key advocacies are promoting health-enhancing behavior, protecting a health-sustaining environment and finding consensus solutions to fully insure health care for all citizens.

Dr. Kelly McMasters Contributes to Major Report that Sets Out to Accelerate Cancer Care and Research
Dr. Kelly McMasters

A fundamental shift in how cancer research is conducted and how cancer care is delivered in the United State is required in order to deliver on the US Cancer Moonshot initiative, according to a major new report published today in The Lancet Oncology journal.

The report sets out a detailed roadmap to deliver on the Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations, including a focus on prevention, a new model for drug discovery and development, a vast expansion of patient access to clinical trials, and an emphasis on targeted interventions to improve cancer care for underserved groups, specifically children, cancer survivors and minority groups. The report emphasizes the importance of addressing health disparities in all recommendations.

The Lancet Oncology Commission on Future Research Priorities in the USA is authored by more than 50 leading oncologists in the United States, including Dr. Kelly M. McMasters and other members of leading US cancer organizations, and sets out 13 key priority areas, each with measurable goals, to focus the $2 billion of funding released to the National Cancer Institute as part of the 21st Century Cures Act.

It highlights how technological advances, including understanding and mapping pre-cancer biology and the rapid adoption of big data, as well as new collaborations across industry, patient groups, academia, government and clinical practice will be critical to advancing research, and ultimately improving patient care.

"Among the thousands of technical details necessary for the success of an actual Moonshot, some fundamental principles remained the same; chief among them was the necessity of reaching the moon. The Commission brought together experts from across the spectrum of oncology research to help define the proper trajectory for the mission ahead," says McMasters, President, Society of Surgical Oncology and Ben A. Reid, Sr., MD Professor and Chair, The Hiram C. Polk, Jr., MD Department of Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine.

The Commission was launched on Nov. 1 at an event on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC and will be presented on Nov. 3 at the United Nations Association of New York Humanitarian Awards, where former Vice President Joe Biden is being honored for his work on improving cancer outcomes as part of the US Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

For access to the report, please visit: www.thelancet.com/commissions/usa-oncology

Price Institute of Surgical Research Celebrates 60 Years, Holds Reunion
Reunion

The Price Institute of Surgical Research held a reunion Sept. 7 - 9 in honor of its 60th Anniversary. More than 30 people attended, including former Price fellows from all over the world. Additionally, a former Fulbright scholar returned from Moldova. Attendees gave scientific presentations and talks about the benefits of having done research at the Price Institute.

Visit here to see photos from the event.

UofL: Buildings don’t perform organ transplants – surgeons do
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Surgery faculty perform First islet cell auto-transplantation In Kentucky
Surgery faculty perform First islet cell auto-transplantation In Kentucky

Faculty members from the UofL School of Medicine performed the first Total Pancreatectomy and Islet Auto-Transplantation (TP-IAT) procedure in the Commonwealth of Kentucky at Jewish Hospital, a part of KentuckyOne Health.

Click here for more information.

Dr. Kelly McMasters Delivers Powerful Commencement Address at UofL School of Medicine Graduation
2017 Commencement Address

Chair of the UofL Department of Surgery Dr. Kelly McMasters delivered the commencement address at the 2017 School of Medicine graduation. Click here to read the address, which is titled "Reflections from the Other Side" and describes Dr. McMasters' experience as both a physician and a loved one of a patient. His son Owen died February 15, 2016 following a courageous four-year battle with leukemia. To donate to the Owen’s Wish Fund for Cancer Immunotherapy Research of the J. Graham Brown Cancer Center, click here.