Supported by 58 years of practiced experience in medicine and academia, W. Gerald Austen, MD, is a venerated figure in his industry. Serving as the Edward D. Churchill distinguished professor at Harvard Medical School since 2011, he formerly served the medical school as the Edward D. Churchill professor of surgery from 1974 to 2011, professor of surgery from 1966 to 1974, and associate professor of surgery from 1985 to 1966. During this time, Dr. Austen held several medical appointments at Massachusetts General Hospital beginning in 1963, first as the chief of the Cardiovascular Research Unit for six years, then as chief of surgical services for the following 28 years. Alongside this prestigious appointment, he was also surgeon-in-chief from 1989 until attaining emeritus status in 1997, as well as a trustee from 1994 to 1999. Since 1980, he has been co-chair of the Philanthropy Program at the hospital, simultaneously serving as an honorary trustee since 1994 and chairman emeritus since 2000.
To prepare for his career, Dr. Austen pursued formal education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering in 1951. He then earned a Doctor of Medicine from Harvard Medical School in 1955 and went on to complete an internship and residency in general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Austen has notably contributed myriad articles to professional journals and edited several medical textbooks during his vocation. Likewise, he has contributed his time and expertise to his community as a member and president of the advisory council for the University of Akron, honorary trustee of the Akron Art Museum, chairman emeritus of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and life member emeritus of the MIT Corporation.
Commencing his career as a surgeon in the clinic of surgery at the National Heart Institute in Bethesda, MD, in 1961, Dr. Austen also served as the eponymously named W. Gerald Austen chair of polymer science and polymer engineering at the University of Akron in 2016. He was additionally a member of the residency review committee within the surgery accreditation council of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) from 1988 to 1993. He was also a former trustee of the Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare, the North Shore Medical Center, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Married to Patricia Ramsdell since 1961, Dr. Austen is the proud father of four children: Karl, William, Christopher and Elizabeth. He also has 10 grandchildren. In recognition of his exceptional undertakings, Dr. Austen has been the recipient of numerous honorary Doctor of Science degrees from the University of Akron, the University of Athens, the University of Massachusetts and the Northeast Ohio Medical University.
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