The Southern Surgical Association
  Annual Meeting
  Abstract Submission
President, R. Phillip Burns, M.D.
R. Phillip Burns, M.D was raised on a cattle farm in Pikeville, TN, a small town in East Tennessee on the edge of Appalachia. A product of the public education system in Tennessee, he is a graduate of Bledsoe County High School where he was later named an Outstanding Alumnus in 2000. He attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and graduated from medical school at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis as an Alpha Omega Alpha. He was named an Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Medicine in 2003.

After internship and residency training in Memphis along with two years Air Force service, Dr. Burns was recruited to assume the position of Chairman of Surgery in Chattanooga in 1976 at the age of 33. He is nationally recognized in medical education for innovation and unprecedented longevity in serving as the surgical chairman in Chattanooga. Under his leadership, the surgery residency program has grown from 8 to 30 plus residents in general surgery and a critical care fellowship directed by 33 multi-specialty full time faculty. As the recipient of numerous teaching awards during the 30 years he has served as Chairman in Chattanooga, Dr. Burns is first of all an educator. In 2001, the University of Tennessee College of Medicine established the R. Phillip Burns, M.D. Award for Academic Excellence in recognition of his first 25 years of exemplary service as Chairman of the Department of Surgery.

Dr. Burns is the past Secretary-Director of the Southeastern Surgical Congress and past President of the Tennessee Chapter of the American College of Surgeons. He served two terms on the Residency Review Committee for Surgery and was appointed by the ACGME as a special site visitor to the surgery programs in Louisiana after the Katrina Disaster. He holds membership in the Southern Surgical and the American Surgical Association and is currently a Governor of the American College of Surgeons. He is the current President of the Southeastern Surgical Congress. He was recently appointed as the President for the Southern Surgical Association. The Baroness Foundation at Erlanger Medical Center recently named him as the Outstanding Physician of the Year and will be honoring him at a luncheon in February of 2007.

The Chattanooga Campus of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine is located at Erlanger Medical Center, a large regional medical center established in 1891. As a leader on the Erlanger campus, Dr. Burns was instrumental in the development of Erlanger as a Level l Trauma Center and into the regional referral center. Dr. Burns’ clinical interests range from trauma care, to vascular to breast disease and he has published and lectured widely on these subjects. Dr. Burns recognized the value of simulated surgical training early on and in 1981 the residents and medical students in Chattanooga were among the first to be taught in a surgical skills lab. Dr. Burns is nationally known for training residents who can become academic or community surgeons.

In his spare time, Dr. Burns still has the cattle farm from his childhood in Pikeville, TN where he and his family raise champion Herefords. Given his propensity to leadership, he has served as the President of the American Hereford Association, the first physician to hold this position in the 125 year history of this organization, and has been deeply involved in all aspects of raising and showing prize cattle. He is married to Gayanne Shourds Burns of Philadelphia, PA and they have three grown children, Joe Burns, Sarah Burns Bernard, David Burns and 3 grandchildren.


Last edited: 02 Apr 2007 15:53:52 +0100

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Southern Surgical Association