Susan Miller Briggs, MD, MPH, FACS, senior surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, was honored as the inaugural incumbent of the Carmella R. and Steven C. Kletjian Endowed Chair in Global Surgery during a celebration on May 31, 2018 at the Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation.
Made possible through the generosity of Carmella Kletjian, president and founding director of the Stephen C. and Carmella R. Kletjian Foundation, the chair will advance first-rate patient care, research and education in global surgery. The foundation was established in 2012 to build networks and support leaders who promote global-health equity.
“She has been a mentor for generations and helped to establish our program from the very beginning.”
Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of Mass General, emphasized how this chair holds great promise to have a global impact: “We are fortunate to have an extraordinary surgery program at Mass General,” he said. “I attribute this to our superb surgeons and researchers who generously share their expertise and time with colleagues here at the hospital and around the world to inspire them to apply Mass General-quality surgical care around the globe.”
A Leader in her Field
A leader in her field, Dr. Briggs was Mass General’s first female surgical chief resident and now has the honor of being the first woman to hold a chair in the Department of Surgery.
Keith D. Lillemoe, MD, chief of Surgery at Mass General, praised Dr. Briggs as a trailblazer. “Pioneers like Susie have carved the pathway that others have followed,” he said.
Dr. Lillemoe highlighted how Dr. Briggs has shaped the Department of Surgery through her talents as a leader and teacher: “She has been a mentor for generations and helped to establish our program from the very beginning.”
Dr. Briggs extended her gratitude to mentors like W. Gerald Austen, MD, surgeon-in-chief emeritus, who believed in her from day one. “Jerry Austen took a big chance on me, taking me in as the first female,” she said.
Commitment to Global Care
Specializing in trauma, disaster education and global health, Dr. Briggs is also director of Mass General’s International Trauma and Disaster Institute. Both within the United States and abroad, Dr. Briggs has engaged in trauma and disaster relief activities with governmental and non-governmental organizations such as Project HOPE and the American Refugee Committee; furthermore, she serves as team commander for one of the U.S. government’s Specialty Disaster Medical Assistance Teams.
“Caring for the world’s most vulnerable populations has been my passion,” Dr. Briggs said.
Dr. Briggs shared her love of providing healthcare for those in the most dire circumstances. “Caring for the world’s most vulnerable populations has been my passion,” she said.
Among other leadership roles, Dr. Briggs serves as associate professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and is an affiliate faculty member for the Program in Global Surgery in Harvard’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. She has also served as president of the Pan-American Trauma Society and president of the Boston Surgical Society.
Dr. Briggs extended her gratitude to philanthropic partners like Carmella Kletjian, who have empowered her to travel internationally to take care of patients.
“Carmella is an incredible person,” Dr. Briggs said. “She has enabled places like MGH to bring medical expertise around the world.”
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