The Section of Surgical Sciences was formed in 1975 to unite the multi-disciplinary surgical specialties into one framework committed to the same vision – becoming the preeminent surgical program through patient care, education and research. The Section is headed by Chairman R. Daniel Beauchamp, M.D., John Clinton Foshee Distinguished Professor of Surgery and Surgeon-in-Chief. As of July 2013, the number of full-time faculty (227) and clinical faculty (144) within the Section totals 371. A multidisciplinary administrative staff supports the Sections departments and divisions.
The Section is divided into eight surgical departments, most with approved postdoctoral residency programs. Each Department is headed by a Chairman, who is appointed and confirmed by the Dean and Executive Faculty of the School of Medicine, following a search committee process led by the Section Chairman and Dean. The Chairmen of those Section Departments with approved postdoctoral residency programs are represented on the Council of Clinical Chiefs of the Medical Center. They, in turn, form a Section Executive Committee, headed by the Section Chairman, which serves the Integrated Surgical Residency Training Program. Also serving on the Executive Committee are the heads of Divisions in the Department of Surgery and the Chiefs of Surgical Service at the 500-bed Nashville Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital, the Metropolitan Nashville General Hospital, and the 661-bed Vanderbilt Hospital. William Nylander, M.D., serves as Chief of Surgical Service at the Nashville VA Hospital.