Ira Kodner, MD

Ira Kodner, MD



Ira J. Kodner, MD, is a major figure in the development of the specialty of colon and rectal surgery and in ethics education–both nationally and within Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Kodner is the founder and first chief of the Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Washington University and also held the Solon and Bettie Gershman Endowed Chair in Colon and Rectal Surgery from the Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital from 1985 until his retirement in 2013.

His acclaimed medical career started in the 1960s as a medical student at Washington University. He joined the U.S. Army in 1967 and served as a battalion surgeon in Germany for two years, ended up on the Surgical Service of the U.S. Army Hospital Berlin, and rose to the rank of Major.

After completing his Army service and completing his general surgery residency at The Jewish Hospital of St. Louis (now Barnes-Jewish Hospital) and received fellowship training at the Cleveland Clinic. He returned to St. Louis and became one of the first board-certified colon and rectal surgeons in St. Louis.

His interest in colon and rectal surgery developed in response to the need to help patients with colostomies, ileostomies, or urinary conduits who were not being well served by other medical professionals. He was recruited to return to Washington University to start his full-time academic practice and to start and head the Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery.


Areas of Research Interest

  • Colon and rectal cancers: Early detection, risk factors, surgical and pharmacological management of the diseases
  • Ethical management of genetically predisposed colon and rectal cancers
  • Surgical ethics
  • Surgical education


News and Stories

Ira Kodner: A Surgical Trailblazer – The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital