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Department History

Our Illustrious Leaders
The history of the Department of Surgery is perhaps best read through the profiles of its chairmen and directors. Here, beginning with the current chairman, is a look at the leaders who steered the department through its impressive history of progressive and innovative care.

Martin S. Karpeh, Jr., MD, FACS
Dr. Karpeh, a nationally renowned surgical oncologist, has served as our current Chairman of the Department of Surgery, since July 1, 2007. Dr. Karpeh also serves as Associate Director of the Continuum Cancer Centers of New York (CCNY) and Director of Surgical Oncology for CCCNY at Beth Israel and St. Luke's - Roosevelt.

Dr. Karpeh joined Beth Israel from Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island, where he served as Professor of Surgery, Chief of Surgical Oncology and Director of Stony Brook University Cancer Center. Prior to joining Stony Brook, Dr. Karpeh served as attending surgeon in the Gastric and Mixed-Tumor Service in the Department of Surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and as Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery at Cornell University Medical College.

An alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Dr. Karpeh served his internship and residency (including an 18-month research Fellowship in nutrition and cancer at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. This training was followed by a post-residency Fellowship in surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

The author of hundreds of peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, abstracts and guest lectureships, Dr. Karpeh also holds or has held numerous research grants, including grants from the National Institutes of Health. He enjoys membership in several professional societies including the American Surgical Society, the New York Surgical Society, the International Gastric Cancer Association, the Society of Surgical Oncology, the American College of Surgeons, the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

George Todd, MD, FACS
Through our alliance in Mount Sinai Health System, Dr. Todd was Interim Chairman of Surgery from 2005 to 2007. He is a well-known and innovative vascular and endovascular surgeon. He is Professor of Surgery at Columbia University and Chairman of Surgery at Mount Sinai St. Luke's Roosevelt.

Anthony C. Antonacci, MD, FACS
Dr. Antonacci served as the Chairman of the Department of Surgery from 2000 to 2005. He also served as Associate Chairman of Surgery from 1996 to 2000, and has been an attending surgeon at Beth Israel since 1990. He is widely published and is the recipient of numerous academic and research awards, including from the National Institutes of Health, the Smith, Kline & French Fellowship, the George T. Heuer Scholar in Academic Surgery Award, the Calder Foundation Award, and the Presidentís Award from the American College of Surgeons.

Moses Nussbaum, MD, FACS
The late Dr. Nussbaum served as Acting Chairman from 1991 to1993, and as Chairman from 1993 to 2000.  His career at Beth Israel spanned 56 years.  For many years he served as Chief of the Division of Head & Neck Surgery and Co-Director of the Institute for Head and Neck and Thyroid Cancer.

Charles K. McSherry, MD
The late Dr. McSherry was an internationally recognized authority on diseases of the biliary system, and revolutionized the department with recruitment and programmatic development. Dr. McSherry was Director of Beth Israel's Department of Surgery from 1977 to 1991.

William Wolff, MD
The late Dr. Wolff  was Director of Beth Israel's Department of Surgery from 1970 to 1977.

Leon Ginzburg, MD
The late Dr. Ginzburg was one of the three co-authors of the original and seminal paper on Regional Enteritis. This paper is recognized as one of the Landmark Articles of the 20th Century in Colon and Rectal Surgery. Dr. Ginzburg, a technically gifted surgeon and clinical researcher, stressed innovation in educational endeavors. Dr. Ginzburg was Director of Beth Israel's Department of Surgery from 1947 to 1970.

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