Dr. Howard H. Bradshaw was appointed as the first Professor and Chairman of the newly formed Department of Surgery in 1941 and served in that capacity until 1968. Initially consisting of 7 faculties, including anesthesiologists, the department grew in parallel with the expansion of The Medical Center. Dr. Bradshaw was succeeded by Dr. Richard T. Myers as chairman of the Department in 1968. During Dr. Myers' tenure, the faculty grew to 44, and separate sections on cardiothoracic surgery, emergency medicine, neurosurgery, orthopaedic surgery, otolaryngology, plastic surgery, and urology were established. In January of 1987, Dr. Myers retired from his position as chairman of surgery. In recognition of his contributions to both the Department of Surgery and The Medical Center, the faculty of the Department endowed the chair of surgery in his name.
Dr. Richard H. Dean was recruited to be the third chairman of surgery, and assumed those duties in January 1987. Although the Section of Ophthalmology had become a separate department in the early 1980s, it rejoined the parent surgical body when Surgery was reorganized and elevated to divisional status in 1989. Elevation of the respective sections of surgical disciplines to Departmental status and of the Department itself to the Division of Surgical Sciences was undertaken by Dr. Dean in 1989 to reflect the continued maturation of the respective disciplines. The faculty continued to grow, reaching 88 by July 1995.
In 2000 Dr. J. Wayne Meredith took over as Director and also serves as the Richard T. Myers Professor and Chairman, Department of General Surgery; Residency Program Director and Chief of Surgery. Since that time the Division has grown to a faculty of 159 and now includes 9 Departments. The Division supports a robust portfolio of Basic and Clinical Research, 12 accredited residencies and fellowships. Our faculty performed 54,843 surgeries last year and performed 442,903 patient visits.
The history of surgery at The Wake Forest School of Medicine (formerly Bowman Gray) comprises 50 years of excellence in clinical care and education and a broadening excellence in laboratory and clinical research.