Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, the William K. Bixby Professor of Surgery and chairman of the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has joined the likes of Lord Lister, the father of modern surgery.
Eberlein was inducted last month as an honorary fellow into the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, in the U.K., one of the world’s oldest organizations dedicated to advances in surgery.
Established in 1505 by the Town Council of Edinburgh, the College began conferring honorary fellowships in 1670. Fewer than 400 people have been so honored. Among them was Lister, in 1855.
“The college, then and now, is dedicated to promoting the highest standards of surgical education, training and clinical practice,” Eberlein said at the induction ceremony in Edinburgh. “That an organization as old and prestigious as the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh remains relevant is based on its willingness to embrace change and grow stronger through innovation in clinical practice and training.”
Eberlein, who also is director of the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, said surgeons traditionally have been independent practitioners. However, today they increasingly are members of multidisciplinary teams. This is true of surgeons in such disciplines as cardiothoracic, vascular and oncology surgery, he said.
“In order to advance the profession of surgery, each of us needs to embrace the more complex nature of clinical practice, research and teaching,” he said during his induction speech. “Clinical care is increasingly multidisciplinary, with advances in other disciplines greatly influencing how we treat our patients.”
During his visit, Eberlein toured the College’s museum and library, which include physician’s notes, books and other artifacts of surgical history from the past 500 years.
“It was a privilege to learn more about the history of the organization and the impact that it’s had worldwide in surgery,” he said.
Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.