George F. Sheldon honored with ACS 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award

On Oct. 1, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) presented George F. Sheldon, MD, Zack D. Owens Distinguished Professor of Surgery, Professor of Social Medicine, with its 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award during Convocation Ceremonies that preceded the official opening of the ACS Annual Clinical Congress in Chicago.

George F. Sheldon honored with ACS 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award click to enlarge George F. Sheldon, MD

The award, only the second given in ACS history, honors Dr. Sheldon’s lifetime contribution to the art of medicine and surgery, and his service to the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Sheldon received his medical degree from Kansas University Medical School in 1961, where he earned the L. L. Marcell Award for Highest Academic Standing in Medicine and was elected vice-president of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.  After completing an internship at Kansas University Medical Center, Dr. Sheldon served in the United States Public Health Service Marine Hospital System where he was senior assistant surgeon (Lieutenant), 1962–1963, and surgeon (Lieutenant Commander), 1963–1964.  Following his military service, Dr. Sheldon undertook a fellowship in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic from 1964 to 1965.  He went on to complete a residency in surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center (1965–1969), during which he received the Helmut Fesca Award for Outstanding Resident.

After his residency, Dr. Sheldon became a research fellow in surgical biology at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital at Harvard University (1969–1971) and then became an assistant professor (1971–1975), associate professor (1975–1980), and professor (1980–1984) in the department of surgery at the University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco. At San Francisco General Hospital, he was chief of trauma and hyperalimentation services (1972–1984), a program that trained both resident and military surgeons prior to the latter groups’ deployments to Vietnam.

In 1984, he was named professor and chairman of the department of surgery at UNC and the Zack D. Owens Distinguished Professor of Surgery.  In 2001, Dr. Sheldon stepped down from those positions and accepted the position of professor of social medicine and surgery, allowing him to continue teaching a popular history of medicine course and conducting health policy research.  Eventually, UNC named two distinguished lectureships in his name, and the Surgical Interest Group at UNC, for medical students who are interested in surgery, is also named in his honor.  In 2011, Dr. Sheldon received the UNC Thomas Jefferson Award, which embodies Thomas Jefferson’s ideals, objectives and vision of higher education.

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