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 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.
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.
The Naffziger Society mourns the passing of F. William Blaisdell, MD (1927-2020) who served as President of the Society from 2010-11. Dr. Blaisdell was a true giant of American surgery and one of the most influential figures in the history of the UCSF Department of Surgery.
F. William Blaisdell was born in 1927 and grew up in nearby Watsonville, California. He came from a family of physicians: both of his grandfathers, as well as his father and uncle were doctors. Blaisdell attended Stanford University for his undergraduate and medical school education. He completed his internship at Philadelphia General Hospital and 2 years of military service with the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He completed his surgery residency at Stanford, which at the time was clinically based in San Francisco, at both the San Francisco General Hospital and the Presbyterian Hospital (now part of CPMC). He spent one year of training during his residency at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital under Francis Moore, and an additional year of postgraduate training with Michael DeBakey and Denton Cooley in Houston.
In 1960 Dr. Blaisdell started his first faculty position as Chief of the Surgical Service at the San Francisco VA Hospital. In 1966 he became Chief of Surgery at San Francisco General Hospital. Under Blaisdell’s leadership, the Surgical Service at SFGH would become the pre-eminent Trauma Surgery program in the country. In 1968, Blaisdell formally established the Trauma Surgery service at SFGH, which would become the model for urban trauma surgery systems worldwide. Blaisdell also oversaw the development and modernization of Emergency Services, Outpatient Surgery Clinics, and the Intensive Care Unit at SFGH, transforming the concept of the safety-net hospital and forever changing the care of San Francisco’s most vulnerable populations.
Blaisdell built the Surgical Research program at SFGH, and throughout his career made many contributions to the investigation of trauma, critical care, and vascular surgery. He was the first surgeon to perform axillo-femoral bypass for patients with occlusive aorto-iliac disease, and was a thought leader in the early research on ARDS and trauma coagulopathy.
One of Dr. Blaisdell’s most important legacies was his long list of trainees, comprised of many future leaders of the UCSF Department of Surgery and of American surgery as a whole. A partial list of Blaisdell trainees from his time leading the SFVA and SFGH includes Robert Lim, Robert Allen, Lawrence Way, George Sheldon, Ted Schrock, Don Trunkey, Brent Eastman, Jerry Goldstone, Frank Lewis, Orlo Clark, Tom Russell, Cliff and Karen Deveney, and Bill Schecter. Blaisdell was also an early advocate for women in surgery; one of his first acts as Chief of Surgery at SFGH was to hire Muriel Steele to a faculty position, making her the first female surgeon in the history of that hospital.
In 1978 Dr. Blaisdell became the Chair of Surgery at UC Davis, where he continued his distinguished career until his retirement in 2002. He served as President of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma in 1991, and was the recipient of one of the American College of Surgeons’ highest honors, the Distinguished Service Award, in 2002. Even after leaving SFGH, Dr. Blaisdell kept close ties with his former colleagues and trainees in San Francisco. He was a loyal mentor and friend to many UCSF Department of Surgery members and he will be dearly missed.
A biography of Dr. Blaisdell written by Dr. Robert Lim can be found here. A book by Dr. William Schecter and colleagues, “The History of the Surgical Service at San Francisco General Hospital,” found here, also contains many wonderful stories about the Blaisdell years at SFGH.
We will be forever grateful to Dr. Blaisdell for the lasting impact he had on the advancement of surgery, not only in San Francisco, but around the world.
The Naffziger Society is pleased to announce that Edward P. Chen, MD has assumed the leadership reins as the 70th President of UCSF Naffziger Surgical Society for the term 2019-2020 term.
Dr. Chen is Professor of Surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. He is also Director of Thoracic Aortic Surgery and Executive Director of the Aortic Center.
Dr. Chen has had a distinguished career as a cardiothoracic surgeon, as a valued educator, clinician, author, and presenter. He is world-renowned for his pioneering work in aortic surgery.
Dr. Chen has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors throughout his career. Most recently, he received the 2019 Socrates Teaching Award from the Thoracic Surgery Residents’ Association.
Dr. Chen follows in the footsteps of Dr. Mika Varma of UCSF, who served ably as the Society’s President for the 2018-2019 term. Notably, under her outstanding leadership, the most recent class of graduating UCSF Plastic Surgery Chief Residents were celebrated as members of the Society alongside their General Surgery Chief colleagues.
It is my great pleasure, as President of the UCSF Naffziger Surgical Society for 2018-2019, to invite you to attend our third annual Naffziger Surgical Society Day on Friday,September 27, 2019.
In celebration of our relationship with the UCSF Department of Surgerytraineesand Department Chair Dr. Julie Ann Sosa, we will be sponsoring the Loupes Ceremony for the first time, and it will serve as the kick-off event for our annual Naffziger Surgical Society Day! Each year the rising PGY-2’s receive their loupes at a special ceremony attended by the entire Department of Surgery. In this department tradition, which has been in place for 15 years, each resident is gifted loupes in honor of a prior graduate of the general surgery residency. Starting this year, we are honoring several alumni who will also be giving talks about a variety of topics during the remainder of the day. We plan to make this an annual tradition so that current trainees will be able to remember those that went before them!
The symposium will consist of a series of thought- provoking talks by all of our Loupes Honorees and Dr. Sareh Parengi, current president of American Women Surgeons. We will also have an update on the state of the Department of Surgery by Dr. Julie Ann Sosa.
It is our hope that this new tradition will bring the Naffziger Society and the Department of Surgery closer together, and that we will be able to engage more of our alumni across the country to celebrate our common lineage as graduates of the UCSF Department of Surgery. The Naffziger Surgical Society Day is meant to be an informative symposium and a unique opportunity to catch up with your mentors, fellow residents, as well as current faculty and trainees.
Naffziger Symposium Agenda
Friday, September 27, 2019 Obendorf Auditorium UCSF/Mission Bay Campus 1855 4th Street San Francisco, CA 94158
Wen Shen “The Namesake: Howard C. Naffziger and the UCSF Department of Surgery”
Ginny Litle “Esophageal Screening in Rural India”
Jade Hiramoto “How running (and falling) made me a better surgeon.”
Ryo Hirose “How to fairly allocate a national resource”
Nora Jaskowiak “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Lungs(?): Threats to Surgeons’ Bodies and How to Mitigate.”
Tim Nelson “The Surgeon and the 3-Foot Putt”
Jasleen Kukreja “Reflections”
Carlos Corvera “Oncologic Principles First, Minimally Invasive Surgical Approaches Second”
Sareh Parengi “Lessons from my Immigrant Parents”
In memorium: Drs. Allen, Hunt and Trunkey (Hobart Harris, Ed Chen, Bill Schecter)
Julie Ann Sosa, State of the Department
The annual Naffziger Dinner will take place the same day following the symposium at:
Boulevard Restaurant Cocktails at 6:30PM Dinner at 7:00 PM 1 Mission Street San Francisco, CA 94105 Phone: (415) 543-6084
There is no charge to attend the symposium for members and trainees. Payment is required only for those members attending the dinner at Boulevard. Please register to attend – we look forward to seeing you at the UCSF Naffziger Surgical Society Day!
Members – $125 per person for dinner at Boulevard Guests – $100 per guest you bring to the dinner
If paying by check, please click here to print the RSVP & Payment Form.
Otherwise RVSP by emailing our Executive Secretary, Laura Dissmeyer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate who will be attending and the name(s) of any guest(s) you will be bringing.
By Check – Please click here to print and fill out the RSVP & Payment Form. Then enclose it with your check and mail it to:
UCSF Naffziger Surgical Society 3838 California Street #616 San Francisco, CA 94118. 2. PayPal – Choose the “Pay for Events” button on the Naffziger Society website. Pay the total amount for yourself and any guest(s) you will be bringing.
Thank you and I look forward to seeing you at Naffziger Day on September 27th!
Madhulika “Mika” Varma, M.D.
’98 President UCSF Naffziger Surgical Society (2018-19)
Professor & Chief, Section of Colorectal Surgery UCSF Department of Surgery
The UCSF Naffziger Surgical Society is saddened to report the recent passing of our friend and colleague, Dr. Donald Trunkey, who passed away at the age of 81 several days ago.
Dr. Trunkey was an internationally renowned trauma surgeon and is considered the father of modern trauma systems. He served as Chief of Surgery at San Francisco General Hospital from 1978 until 1986. He was then appointed Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the OHSU School of Medicine, a position he held until 2001.
Following a first-year internship at the University of Oregon School of Medicine and a two-year stint in Germany as a general medical officer in the U.S. Army, Dr. Trunkey completed his general surgery training at UCSF in 1971. Dr. Trunkey returned to UCSF a year later after an NIH fellowship as a member of the faculty, pursuing a career in trauma surgery. He served as Chief of the Burn Center at San Francisco General and established a laboratory to study mechanisms of shock at the cellular level. Dr. Trunkey was a founding member of the Homeland Security Department as well as the National Foundation for Trauma Care. He served as Chair of The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma and helped establish the Advanced Trauma Life Support Course. His dedication is to the field is captured in Dr. Trunkey: An Advocate for Injured Patients, a Legend in Trauma Care.
Dr. Trunkey served in the first Gulf War in 1991, stationed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield. His commentary in the March 1993 edition of Archives of Surgery, “Lessons Learned,” served as a model for how U.S. Department of Defense trauma personnel are trained today.
Dr. Peggy Knudson, one of Dr. Trunkey’s protégés, currently Professor of Surgery at UCSF and Medical Director for the Military Health System (MHS) Strategic-ACS Partnership, recalled his outsized influence on her career:
“Dr. Donald Trunkey was a father figure to me in my professional life. He encouraged me to dedicate my career to the care of the injured back in the day when trauma surgery as a discipline was still in its infancy. I had the great privilege of traveling and teaching with him across Australia and again in Germany where he worked tirelessly to assure the highest care possible for injured American troops. Trunkey as a figure was larger than life and the news of his passing has saddened the trauma community around the world.”
The UCSF Naffziger Society community has lost a great friend and colleague. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and colleagues.
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our friend and colleague, Dr. Thomas Hunt, Professor Emeritus of Surgery at UCSF and a Naffziger Society member, who has died at the age of 88.
Although retired, Dr. Hunt’s towering presence was still felt. He was a fixture of UCSF Department of Surgery Grand Rounds and a regular attendee at the annual J. Engelbert Dunphy Resident Research Symposium.
Thomas K. Hunt, MD was an internationally renowned and highly respected surgeon, professor and researcher. “TK” or “Papa Tom,” as he was known by colleagues and family, was a general surgeon at the UCSF from 1964 until 2001. He was best known for helping develop the trauma unit at San Francisco General Hospital and for his research on the cellular biology of wound healing. His easy-to-implement ideas shaped the standard of care for the prevention of infections after surgery.
After graduating from medical school in 1956, Dr. Hunt did his internship at Boston City Hospital under famed surgeon J. Englebert Dunphy MD, then was drafted into the US Army where he served as a medical officer. He followed Dunphy to the University of Oregon and completed his residency there in 1964; then did a year-long research fellowship in Glasgow, Scotland, where he worked on methods to infuse hyperbaric oxygen into tissue to aid the healing of surgical wounds.
Dr. Hunt joined the staff at UCSF in 1965, where he also became Director of the Wound Healing Laboratory in the Department of General Surgery and Vice Chairman for Research Affairs for the Department of Surgery. In addition, he was an adjunct professor of surgery at Ohio State University and a consulting surgeon at the University of Tübingen in Germany. He was also the founding President of the Wound Healing Society, served on the Board of Directors of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society and as President of the American Trauma Society, and received countless honors from universities and organizations across the globe.
Dr. Hunt taught surgery in Southeast Asia for the James IV Association of Surgeons. While in Vietnam, the State Department appointed him Civilian Chief of Surgery for one Saigon hospital and he got out just weeks before the fall of the city.
More importantly, patients knew Dr. Hunt as a compassionate and understanding physician with a calm and caring bedside manner. Colleagues often described him as brilliant, yet modest. Research was one of Dr. Hunt’s passions and he loved teaching residents and fellows in his lab at UCSF until he closed it in 2003. That laboratory produced more than 425 research papers and his works are cited in more than 20,000 others according to Research Gate. He also co-authored four books on the healing of wounds.
“Tom Hunt was a giant in the world of wound healing,” said Annette Wysocki, past president of the Wound Healing Society. “Equally as important as the research and teaching that Tom did, was the way he provided mentorship and inclusivity to the next generation of junior postdocs, faculty and scholars.”
Robert E. Allen, Jr., MD (’69), our esteemed colleague, and for many years, an attending surgeon at Mount Zion Hospital (now UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion), has passed away at the age of 83.
Dr. Allen, originally recruited to UCSF by Dr. J. Engelbert Dunphy, was a surgical oncologist who specialized in in melanoma surgery. He was the first African-American Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), serving as a distinguished faculty member for over four decades.
Among his legion of friends and trusted colleagues are Dr. Haile Debas, Chancellor of UCSF from 1997-98 and Dr. William Blaisdell, former Chief of Surgery at SFGH “the General” (now Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center).
Robert was a cofounder of the Northern California Melanoma Center, along with his friend and trusted colleague, Dr. Lynn E. Spitler, and other surgeons. Dr. Allen participated in the group’s weekly consulting panel and performed surgery on the Center’s patients until his retirement. He was a skillful and dedicated surgeon.
Robert always wanted to be a doctor. He realized his dream and became a highly dedicated professional in the pursuit of excellence. He received the Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Florida A&M University, the Masters of Science degree in Genetics from Michigan State University, and the doctorate of Medicine from Meharry Medical College.
Dr. Allen completed his general surgery residency at the University of California, San Francisco, and was a fellow in Surgery Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Robert went on to complete two additional postdoctoral fellowships, one in surgery at the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the other in peripheral vascular research at San Francisco General Hospital.
“During the initial years of Blaisdell’s tenure, his NIH grant in Cerebrovascular Disease, which had been used to start the vascular fellowship at the VA, continued at SFGH. The fellows served as junior attendings and helped follow the vascular cases. Lou Buscaglia, who completed his UC chief residency in June 1968, came with Blaisdell as a vascular surgery fellow. Peter Braunstein and Tom Maxwell provided additional staff support as fellows in the years 1968-1970. The last clinical fellow was Robert Allen—Bob was essentially a fellow in trauma, as his year was spent organizing the ambulance paramedic program.”
Dr. Allen authored many articles for medical periodicals, and wrote chapters in an array of medical publications. He was a member of various honor societies and he held numerous professional memberships. Robert traveled the world speaking at medical conventions throughout the United States and Europe. He vacationed in Europe, Africa, Asia, Fiji and the Caribbean. He prided himself in teeing off on golf courses around the world. Robert also loved western movies and sailing on his 47ft sailboat “Dark Passage” in the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
Dr. Allen’s presence will be sorely missed. He was a wonderful friend and colleague.
The UCSF Naffziger Surgical Society is saddened to announce the passing of our esteemed colleague Robert “Bob” Spalding Seipel, M.D., a former past President of the Society in 1990-91.
Bob attended the UCSF School of Medicine where he earned his M.D. in 1955. He later completed his general surgery residency at UCSF, graduating as Chief Resident in 1963. He joined the well-known general surgeon Dr. Allen Johnson that same year in private practice in San Jose. Bob retired from the practice of medicine in 1992.
Widely respected and well-liked by doctors and nurses at San Jose Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital and then-Santa Teresa Hospital, Bob was beloved by his many patients. He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and member of the Pacific Coast Surgical Association and San Jose Surgical Society.
Stories, anecdotes and tributes to Dr. Seipel may be posted at the online memorial for Robert S. Seipel, M.D. The family has asked that donations in his name be made to the UCSF General Surgery Residency training program. This can be done online by clicking on this link: