Barney Brooks, M.D.
Barney Brooks, M.D. was the first full-time professor and chairman of surgery at Vanderbilt University. He was a master surgeon, a renowned teacher of surgeons and medical students, and an innovative scientific investigator. From 1925 until 1952, he was professor of surgery and chairman of the Department of Surgery at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. During this time he also served as surgeon-in-chief of Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Brooks helped to establish excellence as a goal to strive for at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. The tradition continues in his name with the Barney Brooks Memorial Lecture.
H. William Scott, Jr., M.D.
Dr. H. William Scott, Jr., Professor of Surgery, Emeritus, was Chairman of the Department of Surgery for thirty years (1952-1982) and the first Director of the Section of Surgical Sciences. During Dr. Scott's tenure, the Section of Surgical Sciences grew to include nine departments. The Surgical Residency Program has become one of the largest and best known in the country.
Dr. Scott was born in Graham, North Carolina. He received his pre-medical education at the University of North Carolina and his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School. His surgical training was at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and the Boston Children's Hospital. In 1946 he joined the surgical residence staff of Dr. Alfred Blalock at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Upon completion of his surgical residency, he chose a career in academic surgery and was appointed to the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Less than five years after completion of his surgical residency, Dr. Scott was appointed Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Vanderbilt University. When the Department of Surgery was reorganized in 1975 into the Section of Surgical Sciences, Dr. Scott was designated as Director of the Section as well as Chairman of the Department of Surgery.
For many years following his retirement Dr. Scott remained active in the Department of Surgery with teaching the residents and medical students while conducting an active clinical practice of general surgery and publishing. He died in August 1998.
John L. Sawyers, M.D.
Dr. John L. Sawyers, Foshee Distinguished Professor of Surgery, Emeritus, was Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Director of the Section of Surgical Sciences for eleven years (1982-1993).
Dr. Sawyers was born July 26, 1925, in Centerville, Iowa, a small town of approximately 8,000 people. He received his B.A. from the University of Rochester in 1946 and his M.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1949. After interning for a year under the direction of Drs. Alfred Blalock and H. William Scott, Jr., Dr. Sawyers entered the surgical residency program at Vanderbilt. Shortly after his entry into the Vanderbilt program, he was recalled to active duty in the U.S. Navy and served during the Korean War. In 1953 at Dr. Scott’s invitation he resumed his residency at Vanderbilt, which he completed in 1958.
Dr. Sawyers joined the Vanderbilt faculty as an instructor in 1958. He also practiced with Dr. J. Lynwood Herrington in the Edwards-Eve Clinic in Nashville. He then accepted the position as Surgeon-in-Chief of the Nashville General Hospital when it was integrated with the Vanderbilt University surgical residency program. In 1969 he was promoted to professor of surgery at Vanderbilt and became vice-chairman of the Department of Surgery in 1973. He became Surgeon-in-Chief of Saint Thomas Hospital when it was integrated with the Vanderbilt surgical residency program in 1977. In 1983 Dr. Sawyers succeeded Dr. Scott as director of the Section of Surgical Sciences and chairman of the Department of Surgery.
James A. O'Neill, Jr., M.D.
Dr. James O'Neill became the Director of the Section of Surgical Sciences and Chairman of the Department of Surgery in 1995. Dr. O'Neill came to Vanderbilt from Philadelphia where he was surgeon-in-chief at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. O'Neill's educational roots were also nurtured by Vanderbilt as he completed his internship and surgical residency here in 1965, and he returned from 1971 through 1981 as chairman of the Department of Pediatric Surgery. During his tenure as director, Dr. O’Neill emphasized resident education, research, and positioning the Section appropriately for continued success in the managed care market.