November 15, 2012

American Board of Thoracic Surgery honors two from VU

The American Board of Thoracic Surgery has elected two Vanderbilt surgeons to its 17-member board of directors.

The American Board of Thoracic Surgery has elected two Vanderbilt surgeons to its 17-member board of directors.

Joe B. (Bill) Putnam Jr., M.D., chair of Thoracic Surgery, and Walter Merrill, M.D., professor of Cardiac Surgery, were appointed to six-year terms, effective through 2018.

Joe B. (Bill) Putnam Jr., M.D.

“Election to any of the Boards of Medical Specialties is truly a high honor and a reflection of recognition of excellence by one’s professional peers,” said R. Daniel Beauchamp, M.D., chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences. “For Drs. Merrill and Putnam to be elected to occupy two of the 17 director positions is an exceptional accomplishment. This reflects the strong national reputation of our outstanding programs in Cardiac Surgery and Thoracic Surgery.”

The American Board of Medical Specialties, which now represents 24 broad areas of medical specialties, including thoracic surgery, was formed in 1933 to establish and maintain high standards in surgery and promote lifelong learning.

Walter Merrill, M.D.

“It is a great privilege to serve in this role,” said Putnam. “With more than 4,000 cardiothoracic surgeons in the U.S., ensuring consistently high quality care and outcomes is truly a matter of fulfilling public trust.”

“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected as a member of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. I look forward to working with other members of the board to promote effective, safe and ethical thoracic surgery practice and to help maintain high standards of education and training,” said Merrill.

Putnam is the Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, program director of resident education in Thoracic Surgery and professor of Biomedical Informatics.

Before coming to Vanderbilt in 2004, Putnam served as deputy chairman and professor of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He is also a retired captain of the Medical Corps of the U.S. Naval Reserve.

Merrill is chief of staff of Vanderbilt University Hospital. He came to Vanderbilt in 1983 as assistant professor of Surgery in the then-combined Depart-ment of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery, ultimately serving as the department’s interim chair and chief of Surgical Service at the Department of Veterans Affairs Nashville Medical Center.

Before returning to Vanderbilt this year, Merrill served as chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and the University of Mississippi Medical Center.