Friday, February 3, 2012

Rattner named first incumbent to Warshaw Family Professorship


COUNTLESS BENEFITS: From left, Slavin, Warshaw, Rattner, Flier and Lillemoe


An endowed Harvard professorship offers countless benefits to its recipients, to the MGH and to the field of medicine. On Jan. 20, Harvard Medical School (HMS) Dean Jeffrey Flier, MD, and MGH President Peter L.
Slavin, MD, welcomed guests to a celebration of the new Warshaw Family Professorship in Surgery. The chair was established to honor former MGH surgeon-in-chief Andrew L. Warshaw, MD, and his wife, Brenda, a former MGH nurse. The first incumbent is David Rattner, MD, chief of the Division of General and Gastrointestinal Surgery.

Warshaw, who practiced at the MGH for more than four decades, served as chief of the Department of Surgery from 1997 to 2011. He remains on staff as a senior physician consultant for the Partners and MGH International Programs and for MGH/MGPO Network and Center Development.

“It is truly unique that this professorship unites two individuals who have shared a mutually beneficial relationship for more than 30 years as a mentor-mentee and as close personal friends,” said Keith D. Lillemoe, MD, current surgeon-in-chief, who introduced Warshaw. “Together, they have advanced general and gastrointestinal surgery at the MGH and throughout the United States.”

In his remarks, Warshaw expressed the value of endowed professorships: as surgeon-in-chief, he was the first incumbent to the chair created in honor of his predecessor, W. Gerald Austen, MD, chair of the MGH Chiefs’ Council, who also was present at the Jan. 20 event. “An endowed chair is so much more than an inanimate honorific,” said Warshaw. “Funding supports and enables one’s life work, facilitating the path to acquiring new knowledge and improving the care of our patients, which is the charge of academic leadership.”

Warshaw described how Rattner has already proven to be a leader in his field. Among his numerous accomplishments are facilitating the team that performed the first transanal resection of the rectum for cancer; founding the Natural Orifice Surgery Consortium for Assessment and Research; co-founding the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology; and serving as the first surgeon elected president of the world’s two leading gastrointestinal surgical societies.

“It is a tremendous honor to be the first Warshaw Family Professor of Surgery,” said Rattner. “My thanks to those patients, colleagues and friends of Andy whose gifts made the establishment of this endowed professorship possible. I will do my best to carry the torch that you helped light.” 

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