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Jonathan E. Rhoads Medal Awarded to Timothy R. Billiar, MD

The Jonathan E. Rhoads Medal for Distinguished Service to Medicine will be awarded to Timothy R. Billiar on October 25, 2018 in a ceremony at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The Jonathan E. Rhoads Commemorative Lecture and Award was established in 1996 to honor the man who made significant contributions to medicine and to the three institutions sponsoring the program—the American Philosophical Society, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Department of Surgery. 

About Timothy R. Billiar

manTimothy R. Billiar, M.D., has served as the George Vance Foster Professor and Chair in the Department of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine since 1999. He received his medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Dr. Billiar completed his surgical residency at the University of Minnesota and the University of Pittsburgh. In 1992, he was named the first Samuel P. Harbison Endowed Assistant Professor of Surgery and in 1997 was named the Watson Professor of Surgery.

Dr. Billiar has been recognized with membership in the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. He received the Flance-Karl Award from the American Surgical Association. He previously served as president of the Society of University Surgeons, the Surgical Infection Society and the International Nitric Oxide Society. He also served on the Surgery Anesthesia Trauma Study Section of the National Institutes of Health and currently serves on the Surgery Residency Review Committee of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Dr. Billiar’s laboratory is funded in a number of areas. The main research focus is on studying the immune response to injury and shock. His laboratory is credited with initially cloning the human inducible nitric oxide synthase gene. Dr. Billiar’s work extends into areas of liver disease and innate immunity. His laboratory currently is funded by three NIH grants and he holds seven U.S. patents associated with his research.

About Jonathan Evan Rhoads

black and white photo of man seatedJonathan Evans Rhoads was born in Philadelphia in 1907 to a Quaker family with deeply-rooted intellectual and religious convictions. He grew to be a man of great personal commitments- to clinical surgery, to research, to his colleagues and students and to his family.

After completing his formal education with an MD from Johns Hopkins University and a DSc in Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania, he was appointed to the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania where he served actively for 62 years. He continued to operate until the age of 80 but even a few weeks before his death was still attending and participating actively in local, national and international meetings.

At the time of his death in January 2002, his was likely the world's most honored surgeon. He was a pioneer in the study of shock, burns, coagulation defects, and renal dialysis, wound healing and inflammatory bowel disease. His lifelong interest in perioperative nutrition culminated in the demonstration in 1966 that growth could be sustained by intravenous nutrition alone ultimately saving the lives of many of thousands of patients. His honorary recognitions for these accomplishments extend beyond the scope of what can be listed here. Many of his important activities and honors occurred in the later years of his life such as his six years of presidency of the American Philosophical Society, election to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the highest awards of the American Surgical Association and the Medical School of the University of Pennsylvania. Among the honorary degrees he received from eleven universities was the first honorary Doctorate of Medical Sciences ever to be awarded at Yale. The citation read "Jonathan E. Rhoads: Physician, Scientist, Educator, Editor, Civic Leader, Statesman and President of the American Philosophical Society, you are considered by your Philadelphia colleagues to be a clone of Benjamin Franklin, the Founder of the University of Pennsylvania 250 years ago."

Benjamin Franklin was once quoted as having said, "a wise man will desire no more than what he may get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully and leave contentedly." This epitomized Jonathan E. Rhoads.

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