ECTSS 2021 Annual Meeting
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Dr. Charles Richard Drew
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams III
Dr. Vivien Theodore Thomas
This month, the Eastern Cardiothoracic Surgical Society (ECTSS) is highlighting black Americans who were pioneers in the medical field and our specialty. Join us in celebrating the following:

Dr. Charles Richard Drew was an innovator and researcher in blood plasma for transfusion whose innovative improvements in blood storage enabled the development of large scale blood banks and saved thousands in World War II.

The first Director of the American Red Cross Blood Bank, Drew resigned in protest of the armed forces policy of separating blood of blacks and whites in the plasma supply network. He served as a Professor at Howard University and Chief Surgeon, Freedmen's Hospital. Drew received his M.D. and Master of Surgery (C.M.) degree from McGill University in 1933. On April 1, 1950, Drew died after an auto accident in rural Alamance County, North Carolina. The U.S. Postal Service issued a Commemorative Stamp with his portrait in 1981.

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams III was one of the first physicians to perform heart surgery in the United States in the 1900s. The surgery was performed in 1893 on a man with a stab wound injury.

William's contributions in medicine went beyond the operating room. He helped found the Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses, reportedly the first U.S. hospital with a racially integrated staff and the first black-owned hospital in the United States. Williams also helped establish the National Medical Association, a professional organization for African Americans in medicine.

From 1893-1898, he was Surgeon-in-Chief, Freedmen's Hospital, Washington, DC. He also founded the National Medical Association in 1895 (African Americans were denied membership in the American Medical Association). As a charter member of the American College of Surgeons in 1913, he was the first and only African American member for many years.

He died in 1931 at 75 years old.

Dr. Vivien Theodore Thomas pioneered surgery to correct tetralogy of Fallot. He was forced to postpone college because of the Depression, and he took a job as a lab assistant with Dr. Alfred Blalock at Vanderbilt University. In collaboration with Dr. Alfred Blalock and Dr. Helen Taussig (pediatric cardiologist) at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Thomas helped devise the surgery to correct tetralogy of Fallot – otherwise known as the “blue baby surgery.”

As fellow surgeon Denton Cooley tells it, long before Dr. Blalock performed the groundbreaking “The Blue Baby” cardiac surgery, Thomas perfected the procedure in the lab using the canine heart. During the first blue baby operation, Thomas stood on a step stool, looking over Blalock’s shoulder, answering questions and coaching every move.

A cardiac pioneer 30 years before Hopkins opened its doors to the first black surgical resident, he was a teacher to surgeons at a time when he could not become one.

He died in 1985 at 75 years old.


Dear ECTSS Members,

The recent events across the country have magnified long-standing issues that have plagued the black community as well as our cardiothoracic surgeons and patients of color to various degrees.

The Eastern Cardiothoracic Surgical Society (ECTSS) stands in solidarity with the black community against acts of racism and violence.

The ECTSS is intimately aware of the disparities that exist both within education and among patient care. The ECTSS pledges to work diligently to help eliminate these social injustices that have affected our country. The ECTSS also stands with the students, trainees, colleagues, and members of color as we navigate these challenging times.


The ECTSS Executive Officers:
President, Eric J. Lehr, MD, PhD
Vice President, Sharon Ben-Or, MD
Treasurer, Doraid Jarrar, MD
Secretary, Africa F. Wallace, MD
Immediate Past President, Faiz Y. Bhora, MD
Standards & Ethics Committee Members:
Benjamin Haithcock, MD
Scott M. Goldman, MD
T. Sloane Guy, MD, MBA
John P. Nabagiez, MD
Roman V. Petrov, MD
Michael C. Sinclair, MD
Darryl S. Weiman, MD, JD

Congratulations to the 2019 ECTSS Scholarship recipients: Eric W. Etchill, MD of Johns Hopkins Hospital for the David Campbell Scholarship for Residents and Katherine Phillips of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai for the Fred Weber Scholarship for Medical Students.
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Eastern Cardiothoracic Surgical Society
The Eastern Cardiothoracic Surgical Society was founded in 1963. Our mission is to encourage and stimulate investigation and study that will increase the knowledge of intrathoracic physiology, pathology, and therapy.
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