Pitt/UPMC Surgeon-Researcher Awarded Highest Honor by American Surgical Association
Dr. Billiar, who is the George Vance Foster Professor and chair, Pitt Department of Surgery, as well as vice-president and chief academic officer for University of Pittsburgh Physicians, received the accolade last week at the ASA’s annual meeting in San Diego.
“This is a much-deserved and singular honor for a physician-scientist who has excelled in his profession,” said Arthur S. Levine, M.D., Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Medicine. “Dr. Billiar is a stellar researcher who has made invaluable contributions to our understanding of critical molecular pathways in shock, sepsis, cardiovascular disease and much more.”
The Medallion for Scientific Achievement is given periodically to a surgeon who has served in his or her field with unusual distinction. Awarded 27 times in the last 45 years, other recipients include Pitt’s Bernard Fisher (2000) and Thomas Starzl (1990).
“I can imagine no greater thrill in my career than to be honored like this by my peers,” Dr. Billiar said. “It was quite unexpected. I give great credit to the institution that has been my professional home for nurturing research efforts and reaching for excellence.”
Dr. Billiar, who hails originally from South Sioux City, Nebraska, was named chief of the Department of Surgery in 1999. He was appointed the first Samuel P. Harbison Assistant Professor of Surgery at Pitt in 1992, after serving as chief surgical resident for two years and completing three years as a research fellow at Pitt School of Medicine. He began his postgraduate training at University of Minnesota and received his medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
He also holds the title of Distinguished Professor and was elected in 2006 to membership in the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences