GW Vascular Surgeon Anton Sidawy, M.D., Becomes University’s Fifth Lewis B. Saltz Chair of Surgery
On the 50th anniversary of the installation of the first Lewis B. Saltz Chair of Surgery, the George Washington University medical community turned out to honor Anton Sidawy, M.D., M.P.H. ’99, on the occasion of his installation as the Lewis B. Saltz Chair of Surgery, Sept. 19.
The endowed position was established at GW’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) in 1961 through a bequest from the Lewis B. Saltz estate. With his induction, Sidawy became the fifth GW surgeon to receive the distinction, joining a select group that includes Brian Blades, M.D.; Paul Adkins, M.D.; Ralph DePalma, M.D.; and most recently Joseph Giordano, M.D., well-known as the doctor credited for saving the life of President Ronald Reagan.
“Lewis Saltz was a distinguished Washingtonian, and a philanthropist whose generosity has helped shape the Department of Surgery at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences for more than five decades,” said GW President Steven Knapp in his introductory remarks at the installation. President Knapp presented member of the Saltz family and GW alumna, Ellen Saltz Kolansky, and her husband, Dr. S. Kalman Kolansky, with an engraved medal commemorating the installation of the fifth chair of surgery to bear her uncle’s name.
An internationally renowned vascular surgeon, Sidawy has served on the GW faculty for 25 years, and began his tenure as chair of one of the nation’s top-ranked surgical residency programs in December 2010. In the two years since he took over the leadership of surgery at GW, Sidawy has expanded and reorganized the department, adding a number of talented surgeons to the team and broadening the department’s subspecialties to include vascular surgery, colorectal surgery, trauma, and general surgery, with immediate plans to expand thoracic surgery and various general surgery subspecialities, in addition to a limb salvage program.
“There really could be no better surgeon and new chair of surgery to welcome at a time when I was brought in as the interim dean,” said Jeffrey S. Akman, M.D. ’81, interim vice president for health affairs and dean of SMHS. “Dr. Sidawy’s aspirations for turning the Department of Surgery into a world-class department matched exactly with what the university and SMHS see as their own aspirations.”
On hand for the installation was a physician who played a key roll mentoring Sidawy, Frank LoGerfo, M.D., FACS, a vascular surgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the William V. McDermott Distinguished Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical Center, renown for his research on vascular bypass grafts.
LoGerfo’s relationship as mentor to Sidawy began in 1984 when Sidawy applied for a position at Boston University’s newly accredited vascular surgery training center. “Tony proved himself to be not just a good surgeon, but an outstanding surgeon. He is technically gifted, he keeps his wits about him, he’s always anticipating, he knows how to stay out of trouble. Those qualifications are absolutely essential for leadership in a department of surgery.”
LoGerfo went on to cite some of Sidawy’s “prodigious contributions,” to the surgical profession — including 125 original, peer reviewed publications; 46 book chapters; and five books. He also detailed how Sidawy’s core body of creative work has altered the landscape of vascular surgery. “Through his basic science research,” LoGerfo said Sidawy has, “greatly expanded our understanding of the mechanisms that connect diabetes with vascular disease. In his clinical practice he has made many contributions toward the optimal care of foot problems and the prevention of diabetes-related amputation.”