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Year in Review: 2012

Fiscal Year 2012 was marked by growth and significant accomplishments for the Department of Surgery. One of the most extraordinary accomplishments for University of Maryland Medicine occurred in March, 2012, when a multi-disciplinary team of faculty physicians and a team of over 150 nurses and professional staff completed the most extensive full face transplant to date. This successful 36 hour operation followed a decade of research into the immune system’s response to vascular composite allograft transplants in our laboratories. Using innovative surgical practices and computerized techniques, the face transplant team precisely transplanted all facial soft tissue and underlying tissue from the scalp to the neck, mid-face, maxilla and mandible including jaws, teeth and a portion of tongue. Composite tissue transplant research is continuing and future face transplants are planned.  

The department welcomed Dr. John Olson, Jr., a nationally respected surgeon-scientist specializing in endocrine and oncologic surgery, as chief of General and Oncologic Surgery and vice chair of the Department of Surgery. James S. Gammie, M.D., professor of surgery, was appointed as chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery, and Sheri Slezak, M.D., professor of surgery, was named chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Cardiopulmonary transplant surgeon and scientist Dr. Robin Pierson III was appointed as the senior associate dean for academic affairs to oversee the academic and research enterprise of the School of Medicine. In addition to current responsibilities, Dr. Stephen Bartlett was named senior vice president, System Program Integration, University of Maryland Medical System. In this role, he works closely with UMMS CEO Bob Chrencik and Dean E. Albert Reece to evaluate current and future system wide affiliation, partnership and alignment opportunities.  

Case volumes and admissions increased by 8% compared to last fiscal year, with volumes at 8,275 and admissions at 5,800 at University of Maryland Medical Center. There were 28 new research awards and the department is currently ranked eighth in NIH research funding out of more than 130 academic departments of surgery in the country. Research applications included 14 NIH grant applications for $28 million, 10 NIH sub-contract applications, 15 corporate sponsored research applications and 17 foundation sponsored applications for fellowships and research.  

Sixty-six residents are in training in general, urologic and cardiac surgery and each is pursuing basic or clinical question for two full years. Residents benefit from state of the art surgical training in traditional operating room settings and in the Maryland Advanced Simulation, Training, Research and Innovation center. Twelve surgical residents presented their research at national and international conferences and forums.  

Philanthropy plays an important role in the department’s distinction as a first-rate center of excellence and this year a record $6 million in gifts and pledges were recorded between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012. Special note must be made of two estate gifts completed this year from School of Medicine alumni: Dr. Alston Lanham ’13 in honor of Dr. C. Reid Edwards ‘31, chair of the department from 1948 to 1955 and Frederick W. Plugge, IV, M.D. ‘57 honoring Robert Buxton M.D., department chair from 1955-1970. A gift from Joseph and Corinne Schwartz directed from UMMC, funded J.Y. Wang, M.D. as the first Schwartz Professor in Surgery. The department is grateful for the generosity of nearly 100 friends, grateful patients, alumni and former trainees whose gifts fuel each accomplishment.