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Spring 2024 - Issue 2

Vol. 4 Issue 2

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Letter from Chair | Clinical Spotlight | Awards | Philanthropy | Service Excellence | Education Updates | Department Highlights | Archive

Letter from the Chair

Christine Lau

Christine Lau, MD, MBA

Happy New Year to all, and I am already hoping for an early Spring! Fortunately, Spring is just around the corner now, and one of my favorite times of year for a multitude of reasons. I love the longer days of sunlight, the warmth, and the rebirth of all the trees and flowers.

Reflecting on this past year, I am struck by how dedicated everyone has been, and how we have continued to adapt to the changing tides of healthcare. Notably, we have developed ambulatory strategies, stretched to find financial sustainable solutions for complex problems, grown with our system partners, and maintained our commitment to high quality care. We have continued to expand our footprint by mostly growing off the downtown campus.

As a Department, we have focused on expanding our clinical enterprise throughout Maryland and into surrounding states. Research and education remain essential elements of our core mission, and we continue to find ways to incorporate these into all we do. To do all this we have relied on the power of partnership between the SOM and UMMC, and this has never been stronger. The Department of Surgery is shining brightly.

The Department has forged new relationships in Pennsylvania, allowing the University of Maryland faculty to provide excellent care to a new patient population and enabling its educators to expand their influence in training the next generation of surgeons into new areas. This expansion of services is a testament to the Department's commitment to providing quality healthcare to a diverse patient population.

Along these lines last month, the Department of Surgery opened its third office-based lab and clinic within Prince George's County, adjacent to the University of Maryland Capital Region Health Campus. This project has been an extensive undertaking for the entire Department and will allow for the expansion of critical services within Southern Maryland. This new facility, in conjunction with the efforts of the University of Maryland Capital Region Health team, will also allow for continued expansion of faculty services in the region, including the development of a new cancer care service line.

With plans for a dedicated cancer center to be opened in the Spring of 2024, the Department is committed to expanding cancer services in Prince George's County, led by the recruitment of Dr. Magesh Sundaram and Dr. Benjamin Powers. Their goal is to provide high-level surgical oncology care in a community with a higher-than-average mortality rate due to all malignancies.

The fall of 2023 provided many examples of innovation and education in the Department.  With her connections to the R.H. Smith School of Business, Dr. Kimberly Lumpkins organized for the Department a mini-MBA for faculty, residents, and staff.   This three-day program was a resounding success, and we look forward to continuing this collaboration.  Making national and international headlines, the world’s second swine-to-human cardiac transplant was performed under the leadership of Dr. Muhammad Mohiuddin and Dr. Bartley Griffith.  This work continues to allow us to dream of the day when organ shortage is eliminated, and more individuals can benefit from lifesaving transplantation.  

As we embark on 2024, the Department of Surgery continues its four-prong commitment to teaching, research, innovation, and clinical excellence.  We have significant philanthropic support (showcased in this newsletter), which we will continue to leverage for critical unsupported needs. The Department will continue transforming and growing as an organization with the help of all of you.  With gratitude and unwavering dedication, the Department is poised for team success.

Looking forward to a great and prosperous 2024!

Best wishes,

Christine Lau, MD, MBA

Clinical Spotlight

Dr. Ron Silverman Distinguished Plastic Surgery Faculty Member

 Dr. Ronald Silverman, MD

Plastic surgery faculty member, Dr. Ronald Silverman, was recently named as Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Becton, Dickinson and Company, a global medical technology company. 

Ron graduated in the UMSOM class of 1994 and went on to train in Plastic Surgery at Harvard. He has been here on the faculty since 2000 and was chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery from 2006 to 2010 when he accepted a CMO position at KCI Corporation. That was followed by positions at Acelity Corporation and then 3M Health Care, where he served as senior vice president and chief medical officer since 2021. Ron continues to hold an academic appointment at the University of Maryland and sees patients and operates several days a month.

Ron, how did you get involved in the corporate business world?

“I got involved initially through investigator-initiated research (Lifecell Corporation/KCI).  Ultimately, I was asked to join KCI’s Global Scientific Advisory board and participated in this for about 2 years, getting to know key leadership.  When the Chief Medical Officer left KCI, I was approached by the CEO to take on the role as Chief Medical Officer.  I thought it was such a unique opportunity that I accepted it, so long as I was allowed to continue to operate part time at the University of Maryland (since I still love plastic surgery and the fun of academic surgery/working with residents).  My thinking was I would do it for 3 maybe 4 years and then come back to full time academic surgery – that was in 2010.  Here it is 14 years later.  In that time KCI sold its hospital bed business, sold Lifecell, acquired Systagenix, was bought by private equity and ultimately, after 10 years was acquired by 3M.  I worked at 3M for 4 years as the Chief Medical Officer for their HealthCare business.  About 4 months ago I was approached by Becton Dickinson to take on the role of their Chief Medical Officer.  BD is one of the largest medical device companies in the world and I have a great interest in much of their portfolio and so I accepted.”

What do you like most about your corporate position?

“The role of Chief Medical Officer is to provide medical input/advice to the CEO and really to the entire business.  The Medical/Clinical Department is responsible for medical input into new product development (including input on potential acquisitions), ensuring that products are safe, building clinical and health economic evidence to prove that there is a benefit for the products, and educating clinicians globally about the safe and effective use of the products.  Over the years I have covered other departments such as regulatory affairs, and market access.  Of all of it I like providing input on new products and traveling around the world interacting with doctors and nurses all around the world.”

What major challenges did corporations face during Covid?

“Just like so many companies, the biggest challenge was interruption of the supply chain.  For 3M specifically, having enough N95 respirators.  One of my roles early in the pandemic was to go to congress and lobby individual congressmen to allow emergency use authorization for non FDA approved N95s that are typically used in industry (like for painters, firemen, factory workers that have OSHA approval but not FDA).  We were obviously successful, but it was very interesting to see the inner workings and behind the scenes negotiations that take place on Capitol Hill.” 

How do you evaluate new technology for development or production?

“My job is to think like a doctor (i.e. customer).  What problem is it solving?  What would it take to convince me to use a particular product? Does it make sense medically? What is the evidence now or what evidence would be required for the product to be adapted?  Really its pretty straight forward.  Of course, the finance and commercial teams are thinking about other things like profit margins.”

What are your biggest challenges in your corporate position?

“One of the biggest challenges that I have had is learning the language of business.  There are so many acronyms and abbreviations and terms that I have never heard before.  When I started, I was constantly asking what certain terms meant or using google to look things up.  Something as simple as  GP (which means gross profit), but if you don’t know, you have to ask and not be embarrassed.  I learned that the business folk feel the same way listening to doctors speak as well, not understanding half the things they say.

I feel fortunate to have taken this unusual career path, which really was not in my original plan. It has been a wonderful experience, and I believe that I have been able to play a role in bringing some technologies to market that have made a difference in millions of peoples’ lives around the world (of course, acknowledging that I am one small part of a big team). I hope to continue to do this. 

I would also say to all physicians who are reading this that you should not underestimate the tremendous value that your knowledge and experience bring to the world of industry, and without your help, interaction, and input, these companies cannot continue to innovate.”

Recent Awards

  • Congratulations To Dr. Mary Lin for receiving the AVF-Jobst Research Award. 
  • Dr. Johnathan Bromberg has become a 2024 Elected Member of the Association of American Physicians. 

Transforming the Future Through Philanthropy

Endowment Supports Future Surgeons - Dr. William Baker Hagan

Dr. William Hagan & Cheryl Hagan (Daughter)

University of Maryland School of Medicine alumnus William Baker Hagan, MD’43, was a dedicated and highly regarded general surgeon and community physician with a deep passion for education. To honor the late Dr. Hagan and his unwavering commitment to UMSOM, his daughter, Cheryl Hagan, fulfilled her father's wishes through a generous donation to establish the William Baker Hagan, MD’43 General Surgery Resident Education and Research Endowment.

Cheryl shared that her father held the medical school in high regard. “His passion for education was evident throughout his career,” she said. Dr. Hagan ended his career as an assistant professor of surgery at another medical school, acting director of medical education at Prince George’s General Hospital, and finally, as a consultant for education at the hospital. 

The historian Henry Adams wrote, ‘A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops,’ said Dr. Stephen M. Kavic, The Campbell and Jeanette Plugge Professor of Surgery, Director, Residency in Surgery Program and Vice Chair for Education at UMSOM. “Dr. Hagan was a true educator, and by teaching the surgical craft, he was, in a way, taking care of patients that he never met. This incredibly generous gift from his daughter both honors that legacy and extends it to another generation of surgical trainees. We are honored to be associated with the Hagan family.”

Dr. Hagan’s path to becoming a surgeon was anything but ordinary. His surgical residency was interrupted by World War II, during which he served as a surgical officer and chief of a military hospital in Italy. After the war, he returned to UMSOM and completed his surgical residency in 1949. His dedication to his craft and his patients remained steadfast throughout his career until his retirement in 1982, leaving behind a legacy of excellence and compassion.

The Hagan family endowment to the Department of Surgery, Division of General & Oncologic Surgery is a significant boost to the program's resources. It ensures that future surgical residents receive top-notch education and training, advancing resident education, promoting research, and fostering innovation. This is crucial for shaping the future of surgical leadership through educational and research-related funding. The endowment facilitates residents' participation in professional development programs, covers travel and registration expenses, and provides resources for acquiring essential supplies to enhance their surgical skills, knowledge, and clinical training.

This endowment not only provides ongoing support to the General Surgery Residency Program but also serves as a testament to Dr. Hagan's professional achievements, including leadership roles at Prince George’s General Hospital, president of the Prince George’s County Medical Society, Member of the House of Delegates in the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland and an alternate delegate in the AMA. He was also a fellow of The American College of Surgeons and several other medical societies.

The donation demonstrates Cheryl's unwavering commitment to preserving her father's legacy.

She felt it most appropriate to support surgical residents at UMSOM as her father recounted numerous stories about his residency and as recognition of his loyalty to the University of Maryland and the Medical School.

Service Excellence

What’s New in FY24?

Every year, FPI reviews the current Service Excellence goals to ensure they are still in line with the organization’s focus and what matters most to our patients. Creating positive patient experiences and gaining loyalty to drive the likelihood of recommending our practices to others is what we strive for each day.

As we enter FY24, Likelihood to Recommend will remain our overall goal and we will continue to track Staff Worked Together and Care Provider Concern for Questions/Worries. In lieu of Wait Time, we are now focusing on How Well Staff Protected Safety. This is something that has proven important to our patients and a key driver. We are off to a strong start and have the ability to achieve our goals in FY24. Strive for excellence in all that you do and gain the loyalty of our patients to keep them coming back.

Surgical Education Updates

The University of Maryland Department of Surgery 2024-2025 Intern Class!  Congratulations! 

Department of Surgery Highlights

Congratulations! Our Newest Board-Certified Surgeons

Marco Dal Molin
Marco Dal Molin

Alison Flentje
Alison Flentje

Shannon Larabee
Shannon Larabee

Kerri Lopez
Kerri Lopez