This June, general surgery residents, faculty and staff gathered for an academic conference at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis featuring a lecture from Bixby Professor and Department of Surgery Chair Timothy Eberlein, MD, and the presentation of the annual General Surgery Residency Awards.
Eberlein’s lecture, which marked his final grand rounds as chair, was titled “A Reflection on the Future.” During the conference, Eberlein outlined accomplishments in each of the four pillars of the Department of Surgery’s mission: clinical care, research excellence, innovative education, and improving diversity and health equity. Eberlein also offered insights into the inner workings of a successful academic surgical department, such as how essential elements of clinical care—including patient experience, quality, fiscal responsibility and measures of success—provide crucial support to research and education programs.
The Department of Surgery today is home to over 30 endowed chairs, surgeons practicing at more than 20 clinical locations, 169 peer reviewed research grants totaling over $37 million, one of the top general surgery residency training programs in the nation, and a Division of Public Health Sciences dedicated to addressing and eliminating health disparities.
Eberlein offered advice to the residents in attendance, encouraging them to pursue the aspects of surgery they were most passionate about as they continue their training and begin their careers.
“I challenge all of us to ask: How do we fundamentally make a difference? Find your niche. It might be doing clinical trials. It might be doing basic science. It might be being the best clinical surgeon in the world. It might be being the best teacher in the world. It might be improving health equity. It might be improving safety and quality. Find your niche, and believe me, you will make a difference,” Eberlein said.
Residents, fellows, faculty and staff in attendance expressed their appreciation for Eberlein, whose leadership over more than two decades has shaped the careers of innumerable leaders in academic surgery at the School of Medicine and across the country.
The General Surgery Education Conference concluded with the presentation of the General Surgery Residency Awards. These awards, given annually by residents, recognize staff and fellows for their commitment to education and training.
The Friend of Surgery Resident Award went to WISE Coordinator Angie DeClue, CST. Nurse practitioner Belinda Henriksen, NP, received the Advanced Care Practitioner Award. Vascular surgery fellow Gayan De Silva, MD, received the Gregario A. Sicard Fellow Teaching Award. De Silva, who completed general surgery residency training at the School of Medicine, also received the Eugene M. Bricker Teaching Award in 2021.
“There are so many individuals who have such a tremendous impact on the residency,” says General Surgery Residency Program Director Paul Wise, MD. “Congratulations to those who work so hard to make our residency successful.”