As I reflect on the past year in Duke’s Department of Surgery, I’m reminded of one unassailable fact: at the center of all we do are the patients who entrust us with their care. To care for these patients today—and those of tomorrow—requires a multitude of coordinated and collaborative efforts spanning every facet of our clinical, educational, and research missions. Each of the 28,000 clinical cases we performed this year presented an opportunity to use our best clinical skill and the knowledge gained from years of scientific research to positively impact the life of a single patient.
To honor each of those patients, this year we sought new ways to innovate, evolve, and advance our mission. The establishment of our two newest divisions, Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) and Community General Surgery, will allow us to expand our geographic and technical reach. Read more about the new MIS division, comprising faculty from the former Division of Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery along with trauma and surgical oncology, in a patient care feature story in this report.
Our education programs continue to provide enriching experiences for our trainees. New programs launched this year to support underrepresented in medicine students will strengthen our ability to positively shape the future of academic surgery. Our trainees’ investment in their own futures through degree-seeking programs lends credence to our understanding that a good surgeon is one who is willing to learn, ready to adapt, and prepared for change. Read our feature story on Dr. Kevin Southerland, one of many faculty members who trained at Duke and are now giving back to our trainees through skilled mentorship and teaching.
In 2021, Duke Surgery returned to the first place national ranking in research funding from the NIH. A remarkable 25 cancer research projects were launched and funded this year, along with continuing research on SARS-CoV-2 and many more areas of scientific discovery. Read one such example in our feature story on Dr. Georgia Tomaras: an immunologist, mentor, and the new Chief of the Division of Surgical Sciences.
We could not do what we do without the hundreds of faculty, trainees, and staff across the department who remain dedicated to our mission. Investment in our own people is paramount to our success as a department. As shared in our community feature story, this year’s launch of The Akwari Society, in honor of the late Onyekweri E. Akwari, promises to uphold humanism at the center of our surgical practice and in the ways our many teams work with one another.
Finally, we close this year’s report by looking ahead to what’s next for Duke Surgery, with new initiatives and programs that seek to support our vision to be “United, for all patients.”
I would like to personally thank you for your interest, support, and partnership with Duke Surgery. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy new year.
Allan D. Kirk, MD, PhD, FACS
Chair, Department of Surgery
For 2021, Duke Surgery ranked #1 in NIH funding among Surgery Departments according to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research’s annual data for U.S. medical schools. This is an increase from Duke Surgery’s #3 ranking in 2020, and several faculty members were ranked highly on the list of individual principal investigators.
U.S. News & World Report ranks Duke Surgery as the #3 Surgery Program in the country among U.S. medical schools.
Duke University was also ranked #6 in Best Medical Schools for Research. The rankings evaluate schools on faculty resources, academic achievements of entering students, and qualitative assessments by schools and residency directors.
For the sixth year in a row, Duke University Hospital (DUH) achieved meritorious outcomes for surgical patient care by the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP).
These results are indicative of Duke’s commitment to using data to improve quality of surgical patient care.
*Includes primary appointments only
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