Advancing the Next Generation of Plastic Surgeons
Plastic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has been granted department status, completing its evolution from a division under the Department of Surgery. The new department will be led by J. Peter Rubin, MD, UPMC Professor of Plastic Surgery and McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member.
“The medical school’s executive committee readily supported the transition, noting the atmosphere of collaborative research and educational rigor needed to succeed as an independent department,” said Arthur S. Levine, MD, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean, School of Medicine. “It will immediately become one of the largest plastic surgery departments in the nation, with around two dozen faculty members and more to come,” he said. “And it already boasts one of the nation’s largest and most competitive plastic surgery residency programs, including highly regarded fellowship training opportunities in subspecialties such as hand surgery and craniofacial surgery.”
“Being named a department represents the growth of plastic surgery as an independent discipline, both in scope of practice and educational process, as well as in the prominent role that the University of Pittsburgh has played in advancing the frontiers of this specialty,” said Dr. Rubin, founding chair of the department. “As we move forward with plastic surgery’s mission to restore form and function throughout the body, our department will maintain its commitment to excellent clinical care, service, and education as well as to cutting-edge research.”
The first full-time plastic surgeon arrived to start the division in 1940 and recruited its first resident in 1948. Under the leadership of five chiefs, there have been approximately 310 plastic surgery residents trained at Pitt. At last count, 22 alumni of the residency program have served as division chiefs for nearly a quarter of the nation’s 90 plastic surgery programs.
“For departments of academic medicine and surgery, the educational mission of training future physicians and surgeons remains one of the primary responsibilities,” said Joseph Losee, MD, executive vice chair of the department and program director. “Our program offers fellowship training in hand surgery, pediatric plastic/craniofacial surgery, body contouring surgery, and reconstructive microsurgery. Looking forward, we are excited by the challenge of training plastic surgeons who will become the next generation of program directors, chairs, and presidents of national societies.”
At the forefront of National Institutes of Health-funded research in the department is innovative work in adipose stem cells, wound healing, composite tissue Allotransplantation, and craniofacial biology.
The Department of Plastic Surgery includes 26 full-time faculty members and 27 volunteer, adjunct, and affiliated faculty. Under the direction of Dr. Losee and Vu Nguyen, MD, the residency program is one of the largest combined independent and integrated programs in the country.