- Welcome to the Department of Surgery
- UTHSCSA and the Department of Surgery historical timeline, including photos
- Dr. Arthur McFee's history of the Department of Surgery
- Dr. Arthur McFee's history of the Health Science Center
- Dr. Arthur McFee's history of the City of San Antonio in relation
to UTHSCSA and the Dept of Surgery
- July 12, 2004 lecture / presentation by Arthur McFee, MD, Professor Emeritus, UTHSCSA Department of Surgery (very large RealVideo file - 103mb)
Historical Biographies - past chairs and distinguished faculty
J. Bradley Aust, MD, MS, PhD, Professor Emeritus and Chair — 1926-2010 (ret. 1996)
Dr. Aust was appointed as the first chair of the Department of Surgery in 1966 at the age of 40. He earned his MD from the University of Buffalo in 1949, interned and trained in surgery, both general and thoracic, at the University of Minnesota under the tutelage of Dr. Owen H. Wangensteen. Dr. Wangensteen was noted for his training of sacademic surgeons as skilled in the research laboratory as in the operating room, and trained over 30 chairs of surgery. Dr. Aust was one of the last trained by Dr. Wangensteen before Dr. Wangensteen's retirement in 1967.
On his acceptance of the position of Chair of the Department of Surgery in 1966, Dr. Aust enticed a cadre of Minnesota surgeons (Drs. Root, McFee, Rogers, Cruz, Story and Pestana[Mayo Clinic]) to join him in the enterprise of developing a Deaprtment of Surgery with teaching responsibilities for both undergraduate and graduate students.
Dr. Aust was the first chair of the Medical School Curriculum Committee. He and his colleagues accepted the commitment to maintain and develop graduate-training programs in general surgery and all major surgical specialties including neurosurgery, urology, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, ENT, plastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and the surgical subspecialties of pediatric cardiac, transplant, vascular, trauma and surgical oncology.
Dr. Aust was President of the American Association for Cancer Education, the Society of Surgical Oncology, the Western Surgical Association, the Association of Program Directors of Surgery, and the Texas Surgical Society. He was the first Vice President of the American Surgical Association, the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, and the American College of Surgeons. He served two years as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American College of Surgeons and was a director of the American Board of Surgery and a member of the Residency Review Committee for Surgery.
Dr. Aust's research interests ranged from technical innovations, cancer chemotherapy, coronary artery bypass, and vascular reconstruction to hemicorporectomy.
J. Bradley Aust, MD, PhD, the Dale H. Dorn Distinguished Professor of Surgery, died in the early morning of March 17, 2010. As founding chairman of the Department of Surgery of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Dr. Aust was critical to the growth and success of the Health Science Center, the University Health System and the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. Please click here to read more about Dr. Aust and his important and historic contributions to the practice of surgery.
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Arthur S. McFee, MD, MS, PhD, Professor Emeritus and Chief, General Surgery (ret. 2001)
Dr. McFee was born in Portland, Maine, in 1932. He was educated in the public schools of Portland, and attended Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. He received graduate surgical education at the University of Minnesota, achieving a Master of Science degree in Biochemistry and a PhD in Surgery. After a two year tour of duty with the United States Navy in Vietnam and Charleston, South Carolina, Dr. McFee came to the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 1967 as one of the founding members of our Department of Surgery. He was named a full professor in 1974, and became the Chief of the Division of General Surgery 1996. His CV includes 123 entries, 82 articles accepted in peer journals, and a unique experience as consultant to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons for the first five editions of Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured. His entire professional life has been spent in the education of surgeons. Dr. McFee is a member of 20 surgical organizations, and has served as the rec order of the Western Surgical Association. He has been vice president, council member, and president of the Texas Surgical Society (1996), and is an active member of the American College of Surgeons and senior member of the American Surgical Association and Southern Surgical Association.
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Carlos Pestana, MD, PhD, Professor, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (ret. 1998)
Dr. Carlos Pestana was born in the Canary Islands, Spain, on June 10, 1936. He grew up in Mexico City, where he graduated from medical school at the National University (UNAM) in April of 1959, ranking first in a class of over 500. He completed a year of rotating internship at St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital in Chicago, and five years of surgical residency at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn., where he was awarded a PhD in Surgery in December 1965. Dr. Pestana moved to Texas in 1968, and achieved the highest score in the licensure examination for that year. He joined the faculty of the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio in January of 1968, and retired in January of 1998 with the rank of Professor of Surgery and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Dr. Pestana is noted for his teaching abilities. During the course of his career in San Antonio, he was recognized by the students as the best teacher on more than 35 occasions, and received teaching awards at the local, state and national levels. These awards included the Presidential Teaching Award, the Gender Equity Award, the Piper Professor Award, the Alpha Omega Alpha Distinguished Professor Award, the Avery Medal, and the National Golden Apple Award. At the time of his retirement, the Alumni Association named a lecture hall and a scholarship in his honor.
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Dr. Witten Booth Russ, MD (1874-1964)
Dr. Russ was born in Louisiana and received his medical education at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1898. He moved to San Antonio where he rapidly established a practice in medicine and surgery. Medical politics held a strong interest for him, and his acitivities as a delegate for the Texas Medical Association to the American Medical Association between 1903 and 1909 ultimately led to his election to the presidency of the TMA at the age of 35. Dr. Russ werved in World War I as a Medical Aide to the Governor of Texas, and during World War II as Senior Surgeon, US Public Health Service, 8th Civilian Defense Region.
Dr. Russ was a founding member of the American Board of Surgery, the Southwestern Surgical Congress, and what is now Baptist Memorial Hospital in San Antonio, as well as being one of 40 original members of the San Antonio Rotary. He was a member of the Southern Surgical Association and President of the Texas Surgical Association in 1932.
Dr. Russ was a proficient letter writer and local and regional speaaker. His writings were both spirited and humorous, speckled with quotations from the Bible and from historical authors. One of his persistent peeves was President Roosevelt's 'New Deal' which he tirelessly ridiculed in his 1952 book, 'A Doctor Looks at Life'.
His brother, Semporious Russ, was an oilman. Sempt admired his older brother and wished to perpetuate his name and contributions to San Antonio surgery. To fulfill this goal, he endowed the Chair of Surgery, which now bears the Witten B. Russ title. Semp himself was a great athlete, winning quarterback on the UT football team around 1900, the champion tennis player of Texas in the 1920s, and a four-ball polo player in the 1940s. He died at the ripe age of 99, one month short of a century, and is remembered in San Antonio by having several buildings named for him because of his philanthropy.
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J. Kent Trinkle, MD, Professor and Head, Division of Thoracic Surgery (ret. 1994)
Dr. Trinkle was born in 1934 in Indiana. Following completion of a bachelor's degree in anatomy at Indiana University, he earened his medical degree from Indiana Univeristy in 1959. He wsas chief resident in surgery at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in 1965-1966, and a faculty member there until 1972 when he moved to San Antonio. For 22 years, Dr. Trinkle headed the UTHSCSA Division of Thoracic Surgery, until stepping down in 1994. From then until his death in 1998, Dr. Trinkle remained an activ e member of the medical school faculty, serving as teacher, mentori, and friend to many on the Health Science Center campus and beyond. During his tenure, he trained more than 25 thoracic surgeons who went on to become board-certified and outstanding members of the thoracic surgery community.
During the 1970s, Dr. Trinkle pioneered techniques for treating trauma patients with injured lungs. He then headed the Health Science Center / University Hospital transplant teams that performed the firest heart (1986), heart-lung (1987) and single-lung (1988) transplants in South Texas. Under his direction, San Antonio became one of the four mosst active centers in the world for lung transplants. In 1995, the J. Kent Trinkle Center for Transplant Sciences was dedicated on the 12th floor of University Hospital. During his long career, Dr. Trinkle served as a board member and as president of many national organizations.