Newswise — L. D. Britt, MD, MPH, FACS, a general and acute care surgeon from Norfolk, VA, was installed as the 91st President of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) last night during Convocation ceremonies that preceded the official opening of the College’s 2010 Annual Clinical Congress in Washington, DC. A Fellow of the American College of Surgeons since 1989, Dr. Britt is the Brickhouse Professor and Chairman, department of surgery, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, a position he has held since 1999. He is the first African American in the country to have an endowed chair in surgery. Dr. Britt is currently also director of the American Board of Surgery.
Dr. Britt completed both a medical degree and a master’s degree in public health at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, respectively, in 1977. He undertook an internship in the department of surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine’s Barnes Hospital, St. Louis, MO, in 1978, before continuing his postgraduate medical training in 1979 at the W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center, Lake Placid, NY, where he studied cell culture. Dr. Britt also completed an assistant residency (1978–1979), as well as a research fellowship in the islet transplantation laboratory (1979–1981), at Washington University School of Medicine. From 1981 until 1984, he served as a surgery resident at the University of Illinois, Chicago, followed by a clinical fellowship in trauma and critical care at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (1985–1986). Dr. Britt became a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery in 1985, and, in 1987, he completed subspecialty certification in surgical critical care.
Known as an outstanding role model and educator, Dr. Britt is chair of Eastern Virginia Medical School’s council of clinical chairs and a professor in the university’s division of history of medicine as well as distinguished professor of surgery at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD. In honor of his dedication and excellence in teaching, Dr. Britt has been the recipient of numerous national and institutional teaching awards, including the Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teaching Award, the nation’s highest teaching award in medicine, which is given by the Association of American Medical Colleges in conjunction with the national medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha. His work in combat trauma care and community service has also been widely recognized.
As a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Britt has been an active leader and participant in the work of the College for more than 20 years. He was ACS President-Elect from October 2009 to October 2010. A member of the Board of Regents since 2000, he served as the Board’s Vice-Chair (2006–2008) and Chair (2008–2009) and as Chair of its Executive, Finance, and Central Judiciary Committees. He was also a member of the Advisory Committee on Nominations for the Board of Regents (2008–2009). He has been a member of (1997–2003) and consultant to (2003–present) the College’s Committee on Medical Student Education and a member of the Committee on Surgical Education in Medical Schools (1999), the Health Policy Steering Committee (2001), the Advisory Committee on the Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program (2003–2008), the Executive Compensation Committee (2006–2010), the Public Profile and Communications Steering Committee (2008–2010), the Finance Committee’s Investment Subcommittee (2007–present), and the Nominating Committee of the Fellows (2000).
Dr. Britt has also been active on the College’s Committee on Trauma (COT), serving as a member (1997–2003) and special member (2003–2005) of the COT. He was Vice-Chair of the National Committee on Trauma (1998–2002) and Chair of all the Regional Committees of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (1998–2002), which includes all 50 states and the international community. He also served as a member of the Trauma Publications Subcommittee (1993–2005) and the COT Membership Committee (1997–2005). On the local level, Dr. Britt worked with the COT as Chair of the Virginia State Committee on Trauma (1991–1997) and he served the College’s Virginia Chapter as a member of that chapter’s Credentials Committee (1991–2002).
In addition to his membership in and service to the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Britt has been an active leader and member of several national surgical and medical organizations. He sat on the executive board of the National Board of Medical Examiners and is a former member of the Examination Committee of the American Board of Surgery.
He has also been a chair (2005–2007), subcommittee chair (2000–2002), and member (2000–2003) of the Residency Review Committee for Surgery. A past vice-president of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, Dr. Britt is now the president-elect of the organization. He is the past president of the Southeastern Surgical Congress, past president of the Halsted Society, and was also appointed to the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Program National Advisory Committee. President George W. Bush recognized Dr. Britt’s leadership role in medicine and nominated him to the Board of Regents to the Uniformed Services University, an appointment which was later confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Dr. Britt is currently deputy editor of the American Journal of Surgery and serves on the editorial boards of several other prominent surgery and critical care journals, including the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Annals of Surgery, Archives of Surgery, Journal of Trauma, and Shock. Throughout his distinguished career he has led or participated in several research endeavors for which he has received publicly and privately funded grants. His basic science laboratory is currently extramurally funded. In addition to investigating the role of membrane vesicles (derived from gram-negative organisms) in septic shock, Dr. Britt’s research interests address other topics such as health care disparities and various aspects of surgical critical care, including ischemia/reperfusion.
Dr. Britt currently resides in Suffolk, VA, his native home, with his wife Charlene. They have one daughter, Avery.
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 77,000 members and it is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.