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Lawrence W. Way MD (1933-2022)

We are deeply saddened to inform you that Lawrence W. Way MD (UCSF Naffziger 1967), Professor Emeritus of Surgery and longtime Member of the UCSF Surgery faculty passed away peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by family.

Dr. Way was one of the prime surgeons that propelled UCSF to its status as a world-class institution. He served in a diversity of leadership roles within the UCSF Department of Surgery and the medical community as Chief of the Blue Surgery Service, Director of the Laparoscopic Training Programs, and Professor of Surgery, to name a few. Dr. Way was also highly active on a national and international level in surgical organizations such as the American College of Surgeons and the International Society of Surgery. Dr. Way served as president of the Naffziger Society (2004-2005) and was the society’s Historian Emeritus. 
 
Initially educated on the East Coast, Dr. Way completed a Bachelor of Arts at Cornell University in 1955 before completing his Medical Doctorate at the University of Buffalo Medical School in 1959. He came to San Francisco to intern at UCSF that year, working through the ranks and completing residency training in 1967. Afterward, he conducted several years of research in gastrointestinal physiology at UCSF and UCLA as a fellow, culminating in being recruited as a faculty member to UCSF by his mentor Bert Dunphy, then chair of the department of surgery.
 
Early in his career, Dr. Way was the Editor-in-Chief of Current Surgical Diagnosis and Treatment, one of the primary surgical texts that educated residents and students worldwide in the era before the invention of the internet. Through this work, Dr. Way became probably the best-known American surgeon on the West Coast and was widely recognized for his broad surgical expertise and formidable editorial acumen. No contributor was spared from the red pen of Editor Way!
 
In the early 1990s, Dr. Way was one of a handful of general surgeons to embrace laparoscopic surgery as the future of American surgery and refocused his career around it. As many surgeons around the country were contemplating whether or not it was a fad, Dr. Way recognized it was the future. He led the UCSF faculty in the development of the laparoscopic surgical specialty. He organized the faculty into groups to figure out which procedures could be done laparoscopically; we then embarked on a system-wide process of inventing the field of laparoscopic surgery. He led the development of advanced techniques to perform laparoscopic fundoplication, hiatal hernia repair, Heller myotomy, splenectomy, liver resection, and biliary exploration. Many of the early papers came out of UCSF. This early innovation attracted patients from across the globe – at one point, UCSF received large numbers of patients from Asia, Europe, and the Middle East suffering from achalasia to have a laparoscopic Heller myotomy by Dr. Way and avoid open myotomy. These pioneering techniques live on to this day.
 
Dr. Way’s innovation in advanced laparoscopy fueled a robust fellowship training program, drawing fellows from around the country and international fellows from Japan. Dr. Way’s unremitting focus on how to best train surgeons is what made his mentorship elite. While he had done remarkable research and was the technical go-to surgeon in his chosen area, the development of the surgical fellows and house staff was always his top priority. A stern taskmaster on rounds and in the operating room, he set standards that several generations of UCSF-trained surgeons used as a benchmark for performance. Dr. Way was the last court for complex laparoscopic cases, and his clinics were models for being honest and understanding patients. In addition, Dr. Way constantly looked for avenues to better his students. In this arena, his interests ranged from the effects of fatigue and safety in the OR to teaching laparoscopic skills in the animal lab.
 
Dr. Way’s focus on optimizing the instruction of surgeons was not limited to the fellows and house staff. He was a pioneer in training mid-career surgeons in laparoscopic techniques. He developed a series of hands-on advanced videoscopic training courses with superbly organized lectures and labs that became justifiably famous and credited to UCSF nationally and internationally. Finally, Dr. Way was a proud UCSF historian who was part of the university through its ascent from a good regional medical school to a world-class institution.

ORLO H. CLARK M.D. (1941-2022)

We are profoundly saddened to announce the passing of Dr. Orlo Herrick Clark. Dr. Clark was a beloved member of the UCSF Surgery Family and an internationally renowned endocrine surgeon. He completed his general surgery residency at UCSF in 1973 and spent his entire faculty career as a member of the UCSF Department of Surgery. In 1991 he was named Chief of Surgery of the UCSF/Mt. Zion Medical Center. He was president of the Howard Naffziger Surgical Society from 1996 -1997.

Dr. Clark was one of the founding members of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons and was the recipient of countless awards and accolades throughout his career. Most importantly, however, he was a mentor and friend to so many, both at UCSF and around the world. A brief biography of Dr. Clark from his 2008 Festschrift can be found here. A video tribute to Dr. Clark when he was honored as one of the American College of Surgeons’ Icons in Surgery in 2016 can be found here.

The Clark Family has requested that donations in his memory be made to the Orlo Clark Lectureship fund.

Thomas Reed M.D. (1936-1922)

Thomas Reed, MD, (UCSF Naffziger 1971), a highly regarded retired surgeon and beloved husband, father and grandfather, died peacefully at home in Sebastopol, California on October 9. Tom lived an extraordinary life and was surrounded by family as he succumbed to the effects of Parkinson’s disease. 

Tom was born in Three Rivers, Michigan and was an athlete from a young age. He earned a baseball scholarship to Kalamazoo College and then spent 1 year at the the University of California Berkeley before returning home to attend the University of Michigan where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and was the proud graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School. 

Tom relocated to Northern California in the 1960’s to complete his surgical residency at UCSF in 1971. He served as a U.S. Army surgeon stationed in Germany. Dr. Reed joined Dr. David Fraser (UCSF Naffziger 1973) in practice in Santa Rosa. They were later joined by Loie Sauer (UCSF Naffziger 1988) following her fellowship in vascular surgery. Tom became a leading member of the Sonoma County medical community, specializing in vascular and general surgery. He served as the elected chief of surgery at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and was an early and skilled adopter of angioplasty. Tom was a respected member of the UCSF Naffziger Society, a medical society dedicated to excellence in surgery, and was a featured speaker in 2011 honoring Drs. William Blaisdell, Donald Trunkey, and Frank Lewis.

A celebration of life is planned for Sunday, November 13th from 4 to 7 p.m. at Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa. The family welcomes donations to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. 

John Harold Hanson M. D. (1926-2022)

This is to inform you of the death of John Harold Hanson, MD, Class of 1954 at the age of 95, on September 23, 2022. He  completed the surgical residency program and was a member of the Naffziger Surgical Society and The Gold Headed Cane Society. After completing their residencies, he and his wife, Harriet B. Hanson, MD, Class of 1954 (Pediatrics), served as medical missionaries in northern Thailand from 1960 to 1970 under the United Presbyterian Church.

       In 1970, they moved to Fresno and practiced for 30 years. During that time and after retirement, they sent 100 sea containers of donated medical equipment and supplies to 60 hospitals in 22 third world countries. 

       He is survived by Harriet, his loving partner of 71 years, and three sons: Eric Carl Hanson MD, Orthopedic Surgeon; Mark Harold Sullivan Hanson PhD, Clinical Psychologist; Gordon Howard Hanson PhD, Professor of Economics at the Kennedy School of Harvard University; six grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

Website redesigned to improve ability to network with other Naffziger members

We welcome you to explore our redesigned website. Active members will now be able to both edit their own membership information to keep the database more up to date, and will be able to search the membership for others with similar specialty/geographic/practice type/research interests. We hope this is useful! In addition, there is a place to add content to share news and photos, so that your classmates and colleagues can share in your accomplishments and the other joyous events in your lives.

Set your calendars

The annual loupes ceremony is set for Wednesday, September 21, 2022 from 7a-1pm. We hope you can join us in person or via zoom as we present the second year residents with their loupes, named for members of the Naffziger Society. Names of the residents and honorees will be announced soon, please check back here for details!

Naffziger Society celebrates the 2021-2022 graduating chiefs in Golden Gate Park

Favorable weather, tasty food from the El Alambre taco truck, and great company marked the 2022 Naffziger Welcome event, held on May 21, 2022. The chiefs were introduced by their mentors, highlighting the personalities and accomplishments of yet another outstanding UCSF Surgery class. Thank you to Drs Corvera, Stock, Varma and Wick for bringing to life the residency years of (pictured L to R): Dr Elizabeth Lancaster, Dr Andrew Wisneski, Dr Yvonne Kelly, Dr Caitlin Collins, Dr Arya Zarinsefat, Dr Michael Zobel, and Dr Anthony Squillaro. We also welcomed Dr. Virginia (“Ginny”) Litle (’97) as the incoming president of the Naffziger Society. Congratulations to all!

Virginia R. Litle (’97) Becomes 72nd President of the Naffziger Society

The Naffziger Society is pleased to welcome Dr Virginia (“Ginny”) Litle as the 72nd President of the Naffziger Society.

Dr. Litle is a graduate of the University of Vermont and received her medical degree from the Brown-Dartmouth Program in Medicine. She completed her residency in General Surgery at the University of California in San Francisco, CA, and completed fellowships in both Surgical Oncology and Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She was previously Chief of Thoracic Surgery and Director of the Minimally Invasive Esophageal, Barrett’s Esophagus and Thoracic Clinical Research Programs at Boston University. As of 2021, she is sharing her skills and expertise at Intermountain Healthcare in Utah

Dr. Litle’s particular clinical interests include management of benign and malignant esophageal diseases and ablative therapies of esophageal and airway pathology. Her additional research interests include risk-stratification for prevention of venothromboembolic (VTE) events following thoracic surgery, esophageal cancer screening and healthcare disparities . Dr. Litle is a member of the AATS, ESTS, STSA, ISMICS and STS and is a past president of Women in Thoracic Surgery. Her additional interests include global surgery, mentorship of medical students and residents, motherhood and tennis.

The Naffziger Society thanks Dr Ryutaro Hirose (’97) for his presidency and leadership.

Peter A. Volpe MD, FACS, FASCRS (1936-2021)

DEBEMBER 17, 1936 – May 14, 2021

Peter Anthony Volpe was born in Columbus, Ohio on December 17, 1936. He was an enterprising boy who would make money mowing lawns, then travel by streetcar from his hometown of Worthington to downtown Columbus, where he would spend his earnings on toy trains at the popular Lazarus department store. He followed his father into a medical career, completing his pre-med studies and medical school at Ohio State University. After an internship in Milwaukee, Dr Volpe was drafted into the Navy. He was a General Medical Officer, serving aboard the Admiral’s flagship during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Dr. Volpe did his residency in general surgery at UCSF, under Dr. Dunphy, and also spent one year of the residency in London. Dr. Blaisdell, a mentor and lifelong friend, recognized Peter’s admirable judgment, calling him “one of the best men we have trained.” He served an apprenticeship in colorectal surgery with the founders of a practice he later joined and managed for many years. A partner described him as having “built the practice on the basic principles of always putting the patients’ well-being first, being inclusive, being a good listener, and with compassion and humility.” Patient care was Dr. Volpe’s top concern, but he also offered his keen judgment and administrative skills to running the surgical partnership. He served on the board of governors of the American College of Surgeons, and as president of both the

American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. Peter was treasured by his patients, who continued to correspond with him long into his retirement. One patient wrote him in gratitude for “the good care you provided when I needed it and, in a far broader and more important sense, for having mastered your profession so splendidly and for having brought your highly developed skills to bear on behalf of so many for so long.” Dr. Volpe enjoyed a happy retirement playing golf, playing poker, tending his spectacular garden, and developing his incredible model railroad layout, a lifelong pursuit. His passion for the Ohio State University and their athletic teams was ferocious.
The world will be a poorer place without Dr. Volpe’s humor, his calm presence, and his good judgment. He will be missed by all.

Adapted from the article published by San Francisco Chronicle from May 21 to May 23, 2021.

Eric Bradley Jelin Passes Away (1978-2021)

We are saddened to announce the unexpected passing of a member of our Naffziger Society, Eric Jelin.  A native of New York City, Eric finished his general surgery residency at UCSF in 2013 and went on to pediatric surgery fellowship at Children’s National Hospital in Washington DC.  He became assistant professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins after finishing fellowship and was the director of the Fetal Surgery Program at the Johns Hopkins Children’s center.  He is survived by his wife, Angie Child Jelin, who also trained at UCSF in OB-Gyn and Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and two children, Max and Kyra. May Eric rest in peace.