June 23, 2006

Holzman first to hold chair honoring noted surgeon Williams

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Michael Holzman, M.D.

Holzman first to hold chair honoring noted surgeon Williams

Michael Holzman, M.D., has been appointed to hold the newly established Lester and Sara Jayne Williams Chair in Academic Surgery.

Williams, professor of Surgery at Vanderbilt and Chief of Surgery at Saint Thomas Hospital, died in 2002 after a prolonged illness. He was 71.

Holzman, associate professor of Surgery in the General Surgery division, said he hopes the generous gift of Lester F., M.D., and Sara Jayne Williams will serve not only as a memorial but also as a way to foster Williams' lessons and passion for the training of young academic surgeons.

“Dr. Williams was a mentor, colleague and good friend. He put surgical resident training above all else,” said Holzman, who trained under Williams at Vanderbilt while completing his general surgery internship in 1995.

“He taught in every environment, but he thrived in the conference setting with the residents/students. He challenged us all and intimidated most.

“His object was simple; the stimulation of study, dissemination of knowledge and the exploration of an idea.”

Williams was committed to research and to educating physicians-in-training in the research role as well as the clinical setting.

He was active in numerous medical societies, served as editor of several books and authored dozens of book chapters and journal articles.

“Whether your career took you to academics or private practice his lesson was independent thought,” Holzman said.

“Anyone could read a textbook or journal, but Dr. Williams taught you how to process that knowledge into patient care, quality care or research opportunities.”

A native of Brockton, Mass., Williams came to Nashville in 1985 and served as chief of Surgery from 1985 to 1989 at the Nashville Veterans Administration Medical Center and as the School of Medicine's Residency Program Coordinator from 1987 to 1995.

He was awarded the Faculty Teaching Award by Vanderbilt surgical residents in 1993, 1994 and 2000.

Holzman said the chair will allow him more time to mentor young surgical residents in the tradition of Williams.