URMC Cardiothoracic Surgeon Honored by National Society

Dedication to teaching tomorrow’s surgeons lauded by residents

February 09, 2012

George L. Hicks, M.D., renowned cardiothoracic surgeon and chief of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center, was honored for his passion and dedication to mentoring surgeons of tomorrow during the annual meeting of the Society of Thoracic Surgery.

He received the Socrates Award from the Thoracic Surgery Residents Association, an arm of the Thoracic Surgery Directors Association. The award is given annually to an outstanding faculty member who demonstrates a remarkable interest in resident training -- inside or outside of the operating room.

In the anonymous nomination, a resident said Hicks has great enthusiasm for the field of cardiothoracic surgery and serves as a powerful role model in the operating room, at the patients’ bedside and in the clinic.

“Dr. Hicks takes his passion for cardiothoracic surgery and shares it with whoever he is with – patients, nurses, medical students, residents of fellows,” the young doctors wrote. “When I was in school, my grandfather always encouraged me to act like a scholar and a gentleman. No one I have met in…the cardiothoracic field embodies this more than Dr. George Hicks.”

Hicks has worked for years developing curriculum and enhancing teaching methods to broaden students’ skills and improve patient safety. He served as chair of the committee on education for the American Board of Thoracic Surgery and is president of the Thoracic Surgery Directors Association. 

He helped establish an integrated cardiothoracic surgery program and a “boot camp” for residents, which provide greater opportunities for simulations and hands-on learning. The “boot camp,” based at University of North Carolina, is an intensive three-day program that immerses residents into a variety of simulations and allows them to gain new skills.

Hicks considers the long hours working with the fledgling specialists to be a “labor of love.”

“The earlier that residents are exposed to basic cardiothoracic surgery skills, the better they’ll be able to perform in the operating room and overall patient safety will be improved,” said Hicks, who has been on the URMC faculty since 1981.

A graduate of Wesleyan University, he earned his medical degree in 1971 from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He specializes in coronary artery disease and aortic and valve surgery.

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