University of Rochester Neurologist, Surgeon Named to National Institute of Medicine

November 04, 1998

Robert C. Griggs, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and Seymour I. Schwartz, M.D., Distinguished Alumni Professor and former chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, were recently elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine, a division of the National Academy of Sciences. Griggs and Schwartz are among 55 new members recently elected to the Institute.

Members are chosen for their major contributions to health, medicine, and related fields. Election to the Institute is both an honor and obligation to work on behalf of the organization, its governance, and its studies. With their election, members make a commitment to devote a significant amount of volunteer time on committees engaged in a broad range of studies on health policy issues.

Griggs, who was elected as a new member to the Institute of Medicine, has devoted his entire career to the study of neurological and neuromuscular diseases. Currently editor-in-chief of Neurology, the largest journal of neurology in the world, Griggs is a past president of the Association of University Professors of Neurology, and a member of the Executive Board of the American Academy of Neurology. In addition to being professor and chair of the Department of Neurology, he is a professor of medicine, pathology and laboratory medicine, and pediatrics at the University of Rochester.

Griggs joined the University of Rochester in 1971. He became chair of the Department of Neurology and was named the Edward A. and Alma Vollertsen Rykenboer Professor in Neurophysiology in 1986. During his career, he has authored over 300 papers and 10 textbooks.

A graduate of the University of Delaware, Griggs received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and completed an internship and assistant residency in medicine at Case Western Reserve University. He completed a fellowship in immunology, a residency in medicine, and a residency in neurology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Schwartz, who was elected to the Institute’s senior membership, has devoted his entire career to surgery. Board-certified in both general surgery and thoracic surgery, he is president of the American College of Surgeons and editor of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. He is a past president of the American Surgical Association, the Central Surgical Association, and the Society of Clinical Surgery.

A John and Mary R. Markle Scholar in Academic Medicine, Schwartz holds honorary degrees from the University of Lund, Sweden and the University of Madrid, Spain, as well as an honorary fellowship in the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh.

For 12 years, Schwartz served as chair of the University of Rochester’s Department of Surgery, a post he held until retiring in July of 1998. Although he has retired as chair, Schwartz continues to serve as surgeon-in-chief of Strong Memorial Hospital, a position he has held as 1987. He is editor of the premier textbook Principles of Surgery, now in its seventh edition. A member of the Board of Trustees of the Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Schwartz is an avid collector of early American maps.

He joined the University of Rochester faculty in 1957. In addition to serving as chair of surgery and surgeon-in-chief, Schwartz was named Distinguished Alumni Professor and Chair in 1995, the Department of Surgery’s highest honor. During his career, Schwartz has participated in nearly 200 visiting lectureships and professorships worldwide and is a member of several national medical societies. He has authored 12 textbooks, numerous textbook chapters, and over 200 journal articles.

Schwartz received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin and his medical degree from New York University College of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency in surgery at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

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