As the year winds down, I am pleased to share with you our fall edition of the Department of Surgery newsletter. We continue to gain ground among our research efforts, and we have much to celebrate throughout our department.
As we’ve become aware, the over prescription and subsequent abuse of opiates has become a priority in health care. Dr. Jennifer Waljee and Dr. Michael Englesbe have compiled compelling data on surgery as a component of the opiate epidemic in the United States, and a plan to make changes. Their partnerships with local and statewide agencies are helping to track excess, unused quantities of medications, and overages that have proven deadly to our communities. We are incredibly proud of their efforts to not only present this issue to the appropriate audiences, but to also offer meaningful solutions.
As scientists and surgeons, we rely on skill and instinct to solve complex problems; however, creativity often sheds light on particularly difficult questions. Inspired by studies of chemicals in ground cherries, Dr. Mark Cohen has developed a number of novel compounds and other methods to deliver anti-cancer drugs to cancer cells. In collaboration with Dr. Peter White — a surgical resident — they have worked to explore their theories with favorable results. I am certain you will enjoy reading about their developments as much I have.
One of the many elements of our program that really sets us apart is our commitment to a team approach. This year, that was acknowledged with recognition of Drs. Kevin Chung and Stewart Wang by the Dean’s office. Dr. Chung received the Outstanding Clinician Award and Dr. Wang was honored with the Community Service Award. Each of these esteemed faculty members expressed how this highly regarded acknowledgement was only possible because of their respective teams and a pledge to excellence in which every person delivers the best possible care to our patients and community.
And, finally, it is with a heavy heart that we honor the work and life of a dear colleague and friend, Dr. Daniel H. Teitelbaum. For 33 years, Dr. Teitelbaum dedicated his career to improving outcomes for pediatric patients harboring some of the most challenging and disruptive gastrointestinal disorders. His passion for excellence in teaching has left a legacy of care that will continue to make a difference in the lives of children through surgical intervention and profound research. We should all be inspired by his contributions to the Department of Surgery and his love for healing.
It is the diverse talents of our residents, fellows, nurses, professionals and faculty — past and present — that make us the one of the best programs in the country. I hope you will read the following stories knowing that you are an integral part of this team. Let’s all take some time to reflect on the great work we’re doing, and enjoy our family and friends as the holidays approach.
See you in the new year!