May 5, 2011

Neblett to end 27 years of pediatric surgery leadership

Featured Image

Wallace W. “Skip” Neblett III, M.D., is vacating his role as Pediatric Surgery chairman at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. (Photo by Joe Howell)

Neblett to end 27 years of pediatric surgery leadership

After nearly three decades of exemplary service, Wallace W. “Skip” Neblett III, M.D., is leaving his role as Pediatric Surgery chairman at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Neblett, who steps down effective July 1, will remain on the Pediatric Surgery staff and continue his clinical practice and mentoring surgical residents. The new role will also allow him to spend more time addressing global health needs through overseas mission work and surgical education.

Dai H. Chung, M.D., vice chairman and professor of Pediatric Surgery, will succeed him as chairman.

“As I reflect on my career in pediatric surgery at Vanderbilt, I feel a great sense of gratitude to my many mentors, colleagues and friends who have provided the strong support needed for success in such an endeavor,” Neblett said.

“It has been a tremendous honor to lead this department, and I am extremely proud of the way our faculty and staff have grown and matured into one team devoted to providing excellent care for children with surgical diseases. I am personally thankful for the many families who have entrusted me with the care of their precious children.”

John W. Brock III, M.D., surgeon-in-chief for Children's Hospital, said Neblett’s tireless efforts have resulted in the significant growth of the Pediatric Surgery Program, and has positioned the department for even greater success in the future.

“It has truly been my pleasure to work alongside Skip Neblett,” Brock said. “Skip is the absolute consummate pediatric surgeon. He is the surgeon’s surgeon, the children’s surgeon and the parent’s surgeon. He is what everyone would want for their child as a caregiver. He exemplifies the best in all of us, and he recognizes what we are here to do, and that’s take care of each and every child.”

Well-known as a passionate teacher, Neblett was recently awarded this year’s Robert S. McCleery Master Teacher Award by Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Section of Surgical Sciences, the group’s highest honor and an award decided by residents themselves.

“Although Dr. Neblett will step down from his administrative responsibilities, we are fortunate that he will remain active as a professor of Pediatric Surgery and will remain engaged in teaching and patient care,” says R. Daniel Beauchamp, M.D., chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences.

“Through his wise leadership and the outstanding example of his compassion and clinical skill, he has had a profound positive impact on Vanderbilt University, his colleagues, his trainees and, most of all, his patients.”

After receiving his medical degree from Vanderbilt in 1971, Neblett completed his residency from Vanderbilt in general surgery in 1978. He later went on to complete a general and thoracic pediatric surgery residency at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati.

Neblett joined VUMC in 1980 as a clinical instructor in surgery, quickly rising to chairman of Pediatric Surgery four years later. He was instrumental in establishing a pediatric surgical residency program in the Department of Pediatric Surgery, one of a select few accredited residency programs of its kind in the U.S.
In 2004, he received the prestigious John L. Sawyers Award for outstanding contributions to surgical education.

Neblett has served in numerous leadership roles within VUMC, including chairman of the Children’s Operating Room Steering Committee, vice chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences and a member of the University Faculty Senate.

Dai Chung, M.D.

Dai Chung, M.D.

Chung joined Vanderbilt and the Department of Pediatric Surgery in 2009 as vice chairman and professor of Surgery. He holds a joint appointment in Cancer Biology and is director of the Center of Excellence in Neuroblastoma Research, which was established with his recruitment.

In 2010, he was named the Janie Robinson & John Moore Lee Endowed Chair in Pediatric Surgery. That same year, he was elected and served as president of the Society of University Surgeons, the premier academic surgical organization in the country.

He is currently heading a $1.12 million NIH grant studying the role of gastrin-releasing peptide in neuroblastoma.

After receiving his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Chung remained there to complete a residency in general surgery.

He also completed NIH research fellowships and a fellowship in pediatric surgery at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati.

After fellowship training, he returned to the University of Texas Medical Branch, where he served as professor of surgery and pediatrics, chief of pediatric surgery, a member of the Sealy Center for Cancer Cell Biology and holder of the James C. Thompson, M.D. Distinguished Chair in Surgery.

He was also a member of scientific and clinical staff at Shriners Hospital for Children at Galveston, where he cared for pediatric burn patients.