As the sixth chair of the department, my goal is to continue the legacy of academic excellence exemplified by its inaugural chair, Dr. C. Barber Mueller, in 1967. At that time, the department’s faculty consisted of four assistant professors; it now encompasses 97 full-time and over 200 part-time and adjunct faculty. Many changes have taken place in the department over the decades, including a change in its executive committee, which now includes an Associate Chair of Education (Dr. Stephen Kelly) and an Associate Chair of Research (Dr. Mohit Bhandari); however, the department’s dedication to the pursuit of high quality clinical service, education, research and clinical scholarship remains the same.
Members of the first Department of Surgery were involved in curriculum development for the medical school, including the development of the first clerkship program. That clerkship program will now rotate approximately 180 core students through surgical programs, for the classes of 2015 and 2016. Surgical faculty contributed in excess of 20,600 hours of teaching activity to the clerkship program in the 2013-14 academic year (and almost 8,000 to date in the 2014-15 academic year).
During the department’s infancy, there was a Royal College authorized two-year residency program sited on the teaching unit of Ward 34 at the Hamilton General Hospital. Within a year, there were 14 surgical residents on the roster. In 2015, we have 188 postgraduate trainees in surgical programs across 11 divisions. Those 11 divisions consist of 9 PGY 1 entry level Royal College residency training programs (Cardiac Surgery, General Surgery, Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Urology and Vascular Surgery), 2 PGY 6 entry level Royal College residency training programs (Pediatric Surgery and Thoracic Surgery), in addition to a Trauma fellowship program.
Dr. Mueller’s focus on research and clinical scholarship has shifted somewhat over the years to accommodate a new focus on evidence-based surgery and the provision of high-quality education for faculty and students in the area of research methodology. Further, the department is increasingly recruiting surgeon-scientists and surgeons with an interest in clinical research. We now have faculty involved in research in basic science, clinical epidemiology, medical/surgical education and biotechnology/innovation. Many are involved in large multi-centre clinical trials with international significance for human healthcare. Publications in high-impact journals and peer-reviewed funding from agencies like the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the National Institute of Health have also increased steadily. At this point in the current academic year, the Department of Surgery holds over $2.3 million in research funding, with 107 publications. Among the department’s many outstanding research initiatives are the SOURCE Evidence-Based Surgery Program, the McMaster Pediatric Surgery Research Collaborative (MPSRC), MacOrtho, the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery, MacHANd, MacTrauma Research and the Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation (CSii). Under the leadership of its CEO and Scientific Director, Dr. Mehran Anvari, the CSii is focused on cutting edge research in medical robotic technologies and techniques and the clinical validation and safe use of new technologies and processes like the Bariatric Registry and IGAR Breast. The department’s Surgeon Scientist Program aims to train the next generation of surgeon scientists under the leadership of its director Dr. Sheila Singh.
The Department of Surgery now fosters a strong global focus with the establishment of its International Surgery Desk (ISD) under the tutelage of Dr. Brian Cameron. The ISD strives to pursue projects in the areas of development, education, service and knowledge, primarily through collaborations in low- and middle-income regions. In June 2014, the ISD hosted the very successful 14th Bethune Round Table.
Once again, welcome to our website. I hope it provides you with a glimpse into the many dedicated people and programs that have contributed to the department's continued legacy of excellence!