Letter From Our Chair
It has been three months since I departed Durham, NC and joined the University of Virginia. Being asked to lead the first Department of Plastic Surgery in the United States is a significant honor and opportunity. As you all know, the department was founded in 1970 under the leadership of the iconic Milton Edgerton. I did not have a chance to meet Dr. Edgerton in person, but over the past few months I’ve heard stories from many of you about his inspiring character, surgical abilities, and bedside manner. I have also spent several hours poring through our on-site storage looking at many of his career artifacts. Among these include letters to and from Paul Tessier, an honorary gold medallion from Johns Hopkins, and countless glass photograph slides. I am writing you this update from his original office, looking out the same windows that he presumably looked through at the beautiful Charlottesville landscape and sky. I am truly humbled to be sitting in this chair. I have also had a chance to personally connect with Ray Morgan here in Charlottesville and a number of alumni at our UVA reception at PSTM in Boston.
There is a strong tradition of excellence in the department that I really appreciate and value. Still, there are opportunities for growth and evolution. This applies to how we want to expand our perspectives, engage our communities, educate our trainees, and fund our initiatives. There are so many challenges facing academic medical centers right now. We must be wise and nimble. The leadership within UVA Health and the School of Medicine is focused on the future of healthcare. I am excited to be part of this transformational time at both UVA Health and within the Department of Plastic Surgery.
My primary goal will be to enhance the role of Plastic Surgery as a valued member of the Health System, School of Medicine, and the community. This means being good stewards of resources, helping to make UVA a wonderful place to work, and providing the best medical care possible. The department currently has a great team of dedicated plastic surgeons, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and support staff who create a solid foundation for growth. In addition to these clinical goals, we will prioritize teaching and education of our medical students and residents and remain focused on making UVA Plastic Surgery one of the most sought-after residency programs in the country. Finally, we will look to build our research portfolio with key programs in biomaterial integration, tissue inflammation, healthcare policy, and decision making and utilization.
As a department, we will be undergoing some organizational changes. First, as part of an effort to consolidate aspects of UVA healthcare, the Department of Dentistry will become a division within the Department of Plastic Surgery. As the first division within our department, we are actively recruiting a division chief to help guide this division during an expected growth phase. Second, we will be expanding the clinical faculty in all plastic surgery service lines. This includes adding more reconstructive microsurgeons, adding another peds / craniofacial surgeon, adding another hand surgeon, developing a multidisciplinary Wound Center and offering services in hospitals outside of Charlottesville. Simultaneously we will be working to modernize our facilities and create space to showcase the history of the department. I look forward to updating you all and engaging you during this exciting time.
Scott T. Hollenbeck, MD,
FACS Professor and Chair,
Department of Plastic Surgery University of Virginia