Letter from Dr. Robert Sawyer, President

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Letter from Dr. Robert Sawyer, President


Dear Fellow Muller-Jones Society Members,

It is with great honor that I have assumed the role of President of the Muller Jones Society.  Having been affiliated with the University of Virginia Department of Surgery for almost thirty years, my respect for both Dr. Muller and Dr. Jones knows no bounds.  I am truly privileged to be able to have worked with both of them as well as most other members of this society.

My most important duty as president is to work on creating an exciting and interesting meeting for the year 2015.  First of all, I would like to thank Dr. John Hanks and Mollie Bishop in the Department of Surgery who have been the prime movers in this area.  Their experience from the last very successful meeting cannot be understated.  With their help and with some creative insights from other members of our extended family, I hope that we will continue to strengthen the legacy of our society.

Medicine is currently facing many challenges and undergoing many changes.  I am certain I do not need to list the multiple areas in which surgeons have needed to reevaluate their practice, as well as understand the practice of surgery in the whole of medical care.  Many of these challenges have been going on for decades and will continue well past our practices have ended.  For example, reimbursement, insurance, and health coverage concerns will always exist wherever healthcare is necessary.  What I would like to do with our next meeting, though, is to focus on something a little more joyful.  I think it is safe to say that, to some extent, all surgeons enter the field of surgery because what we do is technically challenging and just plain cool.  There are multiple other aspects of surgery which are enjoyable, however, a creative new technique, technology, or method always gets the notice of dedicated surgeons.  Our next meeting will be focused on innovation and technology.  My hope is that the sheer enjoyment of learning new and creative ways to approach the challenging problems we face every day in the operating room and outside, will enthrall us and bring us together as a group with this deep seeded love of ours.

To this day, I still remember the first time I performed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy with Bruce Schirmer.  This was after having performed open cholecystectomies for three years.  The incredible difference in visualization, as well as the technical challenges of performing a procedure which was perfected long before, completely floored me.  It is that kind of happiness, awe, and wonder that I wish to bring back to other members of the society, at least for our three days of meeting.  I certainly look forward to it, and I hope you do too.


Robert Sawyer, President, Muller Jones Surgical Society