Friday, May 13, 2011

A new chapter begins

Andrew L. Warshaw, MD, steps down as chief


On April 26, Andrew L. Warshaw, MD, stepped into the operating room to perform his last procedure after four decades of practice and nearly 14 years as surgeon-in-chief and chair of the MGH Department of Surgery. Warshaw, who has been on staff at the hospital since 1972, announced two years ago that he would step down once a new chief was selected. His successor, Keith D. Lillemoe, MD, began his tenure May 1. See story at left.


"During this transition period, we offer our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Warshaw for leading the Department of Surgery with tremendous dedication, skill and passion,"says Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president. "We also extend our warmest welcome to Dr. Lillemoe, who is joining a long line of MGH surgical greats, from Dr. Warshaw back to MGH's first surgeon, Dr. John Collins Warren. This department has a longstanding tradition of excellence, and we are confident it will continue to thrive under Dr. Lillemoe's leadership."

The Department of Surgery experienced significant growth in its volume, services and staff during Warshaw's tenure. From 1998 to 2010, he guided the department through a 42.5 percent increase in inpatient admissions and a 22 percent increase in operating room case volume. As part of this growth, Warshaw helped create many new subspecialty programs, enhanced the department's structure to support the trend toward subspecialization and oversaw a 119 percent increase in the department's clinical physician staff from 1997 to 2010. For his support of equality and fairness in all aspects of the department, Warshaw was recognized with an honorary fellowship from the Society of Black Academic Surgeons in 2005 and the HMS Joseph B. Martin Dean's Award for the Advancement of Women Faculty in 2008.

Warshaw additionally led significant efforts in the realm of quality, spearheading the creation of the Ernest A. Codman Center for Clinical Effectiveness in Surgery, a national leader in patient safety and quality initiatives. He has nurtured the development of the department's educational offerings, and over the past decade, has guided substantial growth in its research program, funding for which increased from $16.7 million in 1997 to $55 million in 2010. In 2008, a specialized research center, the Andrew L. Warshaw Institute for Pancreatic Cancer Research at MGH, opened in his honor through the generosity of a patient's family.

Warshaw has had a significant impact on pancreatic surgery worldwide, and many of the thousands of lifesaving operations he performed were procedures he developed and refined. In recognition of his leadership, he has received honors including the James Ewing Medal from the Society of Surgical Oncology, the Boston Medical Journal Lifetime Achievement Award and the Arthur Ellenberger Award for Excellence in State Advocacy from the American College of Surgeons (ACS). This year, the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT) established the Andrew L. Warshaw Master Educator Award in his honor, and on May 4, Warshaw received the Rudolf Nissen Medallion, the most prestigious prize given by the German Society of General and Gastrointestinal Surgery.

Throughout his career, Warshaw has been active in many of the top organizations in his field. His past positions have included chair of the American Board of Surgery, president of the SSAT and president of the New England Surgical Society. He continues to serve as treasurer of the ACS and chair of the ACS Health Policy and Advocacy Group and has served as editor-in-chief of Surgery since 1997. Warshaw has been an HMS professor since 1987 and the W. Gerald Austen Professor of Surgery since 1997.

"Dr. Warshaw has done an absolutely superb job for the past almost 14 years as chair of the MGH Department of Surgery and has taken the department to new highs of excellence,"says W. Gerald Austen, MD, MGH surgeon-in-chief emeritus and chair of the Chiefs' Council. "I am extremely pleased with Dr. Keith Lillemoe's appointment as Dr. Warshaw's successor, and I am confident he will continue to enhance this department's high standards, accomplishments and reputation."

While Warshaw's surgical practice has come to a close, he will remain at the MGH as a senior physician consultant, assisting with oversight of the Partners and MGH International Programs and the MGH/MGPO Network and Center Development program.

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