May 1, 2015

Program directors association names new award for Dr. Silbergleit

A national organization has named an award for a longtime Wayne State University School of Medicine professor.

The Association of Program Directors in Surgery earlier this month announced a new award, the Silbergleit Award, in honor of Allen Silbergleit, M.D., Ph.D., professor of surgery and physiology for the School of Medicine.

Recognizing Dr. Silbergleit's longevity and contributions during his 40 years as director of the WSU surgical residency program, a position he gave up just a few years ago, the new award will be presented to directors who serve 25 years.

"This was a surprise to me," said Dr. Silbergleit, who served 26 years as chief of surgery for St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital. "It's very gratifying and I feel good because I've always thought that people who have served a long tenure and who have been effective should get some recognition, and now they will.

"There are a few people who have been program directors for 25 years. I served 40 years. If I thought I could have made 50 years, I would have done it," he added with a laugh.

Ronald Strickler, M.D., a senior staff member of the Division of Reproductive Medicine for the Henry Ford Health System, described Dr. Silbergleit as "a truly awesome example for us all," setting the bar "as tall as Wilt (the Stilt) Chamberlain."

Tsveti Markova, M.D., chair of the WSU Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, and associate dean for Graduate Medical Education, called him "an amazing mentor and teacher."

Dr. Silbergleit was a founding member of the Oakland Health Education Program (now the Southeast Michigan Center for Medical Education), centered at Wayne State University and the largest community-based medical education consortium in the United States. Recognition of his dedication include being a Fellow and Governor of the American College of Surgeons and the 2007 Parker J. Palmer Courage to Teach Award from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. He has received the OHEP Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Medical Education, the Alexander J. Walt Award of the American College of Surgeons Michigan Chapter, the Wayne State University Surgical Alumnus of the Year Award and the Wayne County Medical Society Humanitarian of the Year Award.

While he no longer performs surgery, the cardiothoracic surgeon continues to teach both in surgery and physiology, and conduct research. Dr. Silbergleit received his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati, which presented him with its Distinguished Alumni Award several weeks ago. He received his doctoral degree from the WSU School of Medicine, and joined the WSU faculty in 1962.

Dr. Silbergleit continues to "set the standard for observing, participating, leading, evaluating and disseminating a lifetime's worth of knowledge and wisdom," said Jeffrey Devries, M.D., M.P.H., president of SEMCME and professor of pediatrics for the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.

Founded in 1977, the Association of Program Directors in Surgery works to provide a forum for the exchange of information and for discussion on a wide range of subjects related to post-graduate surgical education and to maintain high standards of surgical residency training by improving graduate surgical education and patient care.

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