Dr. McMasters Named the Ephraim McDowell Physician of the Year

Kelly M. McMasters, MD, PhD , will be awarded the Ephraim McDowell Physician of the Year at the 2016 Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation’s Doctors' Ball, which will be held Saturday, Oct. 15 at the Marriott Louisville Downtown.

The Ephraim McDowell Physician of the Year honors a physician who has made significant contributions to the field of medicine, provided humanitarian service, and demonstrated the highest ethical standards. This is typically a physician who has shown long-term service to the community.

Dr. McMasters leads the Department of Surgery with more than 50 full-time faculty members, two residency and six fellowship programs. A prolific researcher, dedicated educator, and seasoned administrator, Dr. McMasters greatly enjoys caring for complex surgical oncology patients. He has a busy clinical practice that spans most of the field of surgical oncology, including melanoma, breast cancer, sarcoma, gastrointestinal malignancies, as well as liver, pancreatic and biliary tumors.

“This field is full of opportunities – to do research, to teach, to provide care – but at the end of the day, there is just something good about cutting someone’s cancer out. It’s that simple. Many more solid tumors have been cured because a surgeon cut out the cancer than by all of the chemotherapy and radiation therapy put together,” he said.

Dr. McMasters graduated with honors from Colgate University. He completed the M.D./Ph.D. program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Rutgers Medical School, with a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Rutgers University. After completing general surgery residency at the University of Louisville, he performed a fellowship in Surgical Oncology at the University of Texas-M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. In 1996, he joined the faculty of the University of Louisville as the Sam and Lolita Weakley Professor of Surgical Oncology. In 2005, he became the Ben A. Reid, Sr., M.D. Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery.

Dr. McMasters is the author and principal investigator of the Sunbelt Melanoma Trial, at the time the world’s largest melanoma study (involving more than 3,600 patients). He also initiated the University of Louisville Breast Cancer Sentinel Lymph Node Study, a 4000+ patient multi-institutional study that helped bring widespread acceptance of this minimally invasive procedure for the staging of breast cancer. His laboratory research interest has been in developing gene therapy approaches for the treatment of cancer, as well as discovery of cancer biomarkers. His research has been funded by the American Cancer Society, the NIH, and other organizations over the past 20 years.

Dr. McMasters has published nearly 400 articles in the peer-reviewed literature, over 20 book chapters, and a book on hepatocellular carcinoma. He has presented his research at a multitude of national and international meetings and has served as a visiting professor at many of the world’s finest institutions. He served as the 2009-2010 President of the Southeastern Surgical Congress. He is currently President-Elect of the Society of Surgical Oncology, Secretary of the Southern Surgical Association, Recorder of the Western Surgical Association, Secretary-Treasurer of the Society of Surgical Chairs, and Deputy Editor of Annals of Surgical Oncology. He is a member of many other professional and scientific societies, including the American Surgical Association, American College of Surgeons, Society of University Surgeons, Association for Academic Surgery, American Association for Cancer Research, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Surgical Biology Club, Halsted Society, and International Surgical Group, among others.