End of an Era: Dr. R. Neal Garrison Retires

End of an Era: Dr. R. Neal Garrison Retires

One of the Department of Surgery’s most beloved faculty members, Dr. R. Neal Garrison , will retire at the end of this year.

Professor of Surgery and Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and a member of the Graduate Faculty, Dr. Garrison completed his entire surgical residency at the University of Louisville, serving as the first surgical resident to train all five years under Hiram C. Polk, Jr., MD. After a Clinical Fellowship in Oncology, Dr. Garrison went on to serve two years as Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy. In 1980 Dr. Garrison joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in Surgery and was appointed to full Professor in 1990.

During his distinguished career, Dr. Garrison served as Chief of Surgery for 12 years, Associate Dean for Veterans Affairs and Acting Chief of Staff at the Veterans Administration Medical Center. In addition he directed the Department of Surgery Undergraduate Surgical Education curriculum for eight years. In the eighties, he was instrumental in developing the abdominal organ transplant program for the Department of Surgery. He was the co-founder of the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates in 1987 and continued as its Medical Director. The United States Department of Health and Human Services awarded the University of Louisville Hospital with the HHS Medal of Honor for the organ donation for achieving and maintaining a 75 percent conversion rate in organ donation during this time. ULH also received additional national recognition for meeting or exceeding 3.75 organs per donor over a period of 12 months and 10 percent of donations occurring after cardiac arrest.

Throughout his career, Dr. Garrison has been an active clinical surgeon in the fields of general, vascular and trauma surgery. In addition, he maintained an active bench research laboratory focused on organ blood flow during shock and infection. He received multiple peer-reviewed grants from the NIH, American Heart Association, Surgical Infection Society, Department of Defense, and VA Merit Review since 1983. In the laboratory he mentored more than 40 research fellows, surgical residents and doctoral candidates. Throughout his career Dr. Garrison published more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific articles, abstracts and book chapters and has served on the Editorial Board or as reviewer for 12 scientific journals.

Dr. Garrison is a member of 28 medical/surgical professional organizations and has been an officer of more than half of them. He was President of the Association for Academic Surgeons and served as Chair or Vice Chair of committees for virtually all of these groups. He completed a 6-year term as Governor of Kentucky to the American College of Surgeons. He received multiple honors and awards including the Hiram C. Polk Jr. Award for Resident Teaching Excellence on three occasions and was selected by the Louisville Surgical Society as the 2006 Yandell Lecturer and Medal recipient.

Dr. Garrison has made extraordinary scientific contributions and is widely recognized as one of the top surgical scientists in the world.