Bariatric Times

MAR 2017

A peer-reviewed, evidence-based journal that promotes clinical development and metabolic insights in total bariatric patient care for the healthcare professional

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11 In Memoriam Bariatric Times • March 2017 Remembering Dr. Blackburn "George was a thoughtful investigator, selfless mentor, and a good f riend." - Daniel B. Jones, MD, MS, FASMBS, Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School; Vice Chair, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts "I met George Blackburn in the late 1990s when I came to him as a general medicine research fellow interested in studying potential health disparities faced by patients with obesity. Even though I was not one of his fellows, George graciously served as career mentor and sponsor from that very first meeting until his passing. George was so committed to fostering research and the careers of others that even when he became ill (unbeknownst to many of us), he made it a priority to attend research presentations locally. He was a pioneer in the field of nutrition and obesity research and extremely generous with his time. He will be sorely missed." -Christina C. Wee, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts " George Blackburn was a gentle giant of Obesity and Nutrition science. He mentored and inspired literally thousands of clinicians and scientists throughout his long and very productive career. He will be greatly missed." -Philip Schauer, MD, Director of Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery and D irector of Minimally Invasive Surgery, The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio "Dr. Blackburn is one of the main reasons I elected to pursue a career in surgery. The generations of academic surgeons he has mentored, including those currently in training, speaks to his contagious enthusiasm for the field and his character as an individual. I cannot think of a better role model and I feel privileged to have had the chance to learn from him. He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered for many years to come." -Peter Soden, MD, General Surgery Resident, PGY-4, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts "George Blackburn was a visionary whose insight, innovation, boundless energy, and leadership changed the fields of modern Nutrition Support and Obesity. He was always two steps ahead of the pack. I first met George when I was a second year medical student and he was a visiting professor at my medical school. That interaction was pivotal in my decision to pursue an academic career in nutrition and metabolism, and George became part of my life as mentor (medical school nutrition support elective, graduate program in Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism, and postdoctoral research fellowship) and friend ever since. George was totally selfless in helping his trainees, personally promoted our careers, and always made us feel respected and important. He is a major reason for my own career and I will always be grateful. George, thank you for making a difference." -Samuel Klein, MD, William H. Danforth Professor of Medicine and Nutritional Science, Director, Center for Human Nutrition, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri "It is true that Dr. Blackburn was one of the true greats in his field(s). Let's not forget that George was also a terrific human being. His kindness, generosity, and absolutely infectious enthusiasm are all things to which we all should aspire, but at least I will never reach." -Jonathan Critchlow, MD, FACS, Assistant Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Associate Program Director of the General Surgery Residency Program, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts "I was fortunate to meet Dr. Blackburn in the late 1970s-early 1980s when I was with the Nutrition Pathology Unit at the then Boston City Hospital and George was with the 5th Harvard Surgical Service at BCH and along with Dr. Bruce Bistrian who were instrumental in identifying and treating severe protein calorie malnutrition among hospitalized patients. As a hyperalimentation fellow in Surgical Nutrition Unit 1995-1996, I learned so much from George and Bruce in the treatment and management of patients that needed nutrition support both parenteral and enteral. With the Center of the Study of Nutrition Medicine and the many research projects that were undertaken with George, he was a beacon of information, knowledge, and support. He was truly a giant who not only mentored me but many others. His kindness, support throughout the years will always be remembered." -Edward A. Hatchigian, MD, MS, Medical Director, Weight Loss Surgery Program, Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts " Dr. Blackburn, Thank you for your wisdom, your willingness to mentor, your inclusiveness, and your kindness. It was an honor and privilege to have worked with you. I w ill always be grateful." - Vivian Sanchez, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts "George was one of the few who agreed that trace elements were important, who supported the idea that these minute elements might have major effects, and who encouraged us to add these to TPN solutions. He had scientific integrity. Even more importantly, however, was his guidance of new ideas with unwavering support and his unfailing sense of humor that assured us we were on the right track. We all, especially our patients, owe him a big debt" -Walter J. Pories, MD, FACS, Professor of Surgery, Biochemistry and Kinesiology, Department of Surgery, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina "Dr. George Blackburn was a pioneer in surgery and nutrition. He provided a singular example of the interface between surgery and the public's health. Through his efforts, surgery is safer and more effective in New England and beyond. His surgical approach resulted in quantifiable progress and understanding of obesity. Dr. Blackburn's mentorship and work will be missed but will endure by all of us embodying his best virtues." -John Magaña Morton, MD, MPH, FACS, FASMBS, Chief, Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery, Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford, California "It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of George L. Blackburn, MD, PhD. This giant of surgery, nutrition support, obesity treatment, and academic medicine, p ositively affected the careers of hundreds of young clinicians. I was one of those clinicians. Dr. Blackburn became one of my mentors and was instrumental in getting my academic career off the ground. My time spent as a fellow on his Nutrition Support Service at the old New England Deaconess Hospital was amongst the highlights of my training. George, and his academic partner, Dr. Bruce Bistrian, got m e excited about research and about metabolism. Not surprisingly, my career has echoed that experience. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to train under them and credit them both with providing me the tools to have a successful and f ulfilling career. I will always remember George with love, respect, and gratitude." -Scott A. Shikora, MD, FACS, Director, Bariatric Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts "As a young surgeon and a fellow at BIDMC, I had the chance to spend hours with Dr. Blackburn discussing research ideas. I had the privilege to listen to his w isdom and mentorship for surgical career planning. A gentleman and an inspiration to many." -Yusef Kudsi, MD, Boston, Massachusetts "Dr. George Blackburn was my mentor, colleague, friend, and role model who inspired and guided my career. There is hardly a day that goes by that I do not use the principles of nutritional medicine taught to me by Drs. Blackburn and Bistrian during my fellowship at the New England Deaconess Hospital. They are the creators of the Protein Sparing Modified Fast (PSMF) in 1973, and the metabolic advantage they showed with its use is still hotly debated today. Dr. Blackburn was always so "larger than life" that I cannot believe he is gone. Those of us who were lucky enough to have been the target of his beneficience (advice on life etc.) will remember his words forever. I will miss you, George! -Caroline Apovian MD, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts "Like so many other generations of physicians, I feel privileged to have received significant mentorship from Dr. Blackburn throughout my career. Since before medical school, he has offered key guidance, sage advice, and unwavering support and enthusiasm during every stage of my training and beyond. He has been the single most influential mentor in my path and someone to whom I have turned at every step. His impact and influence are so far-reaching that it is still hard to fathom that he is no longer with us. He will be deeply, deeply missed." -Belinda Waltman, MD, Medical Director of Whole Person Care - LA, Los Angeles County, Department of Health Services

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