January 6, 2009

Turnage Named UAMS Surgery Department Chairman

 Richard H. Turnage, M.D.
Richard H. Turnage, M.D.
Surgery Department Chairman

Jan. 6, 2009 | Richard H. Turnage, M.D., who has led surgery programs in Texas and Louisiana, has joined the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) as chairman of the Department of Surgery.

Turnage comes to UAMS from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport – his alma mater – where he spent the last eight years as the John C. McDonald, M.D., Department of Surgery chairman. 

“Dr. Turnage brings experience as a department chair and a research background in acute lung injury, and he is an outstanding teacher,” said UAMS College of Medicine Dean Debra H. Fiser, M.D. “He also has experience with the start-up and administration of a statewide trauma system, which should be of help to our state.”

Turnage received his medical degree from the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport in 1983. He completed an internship and residency in general surgery at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, where he also served as chief resident and completed a research fellowship before joining the faculty. In 1992, he was recruited to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Four years later, he became chief of the Surgical Service at the Dallas VA Medical Center and vice chairman of the Department of Surgery at UT Southwestern.

In 2001, Turnage returned to his alma mater to become chairman of the Department of Surgery. In addition to his leadership accomplishments, he has been recognized as an outstanding teacher, having been selected by senior medical students to serve as marshal at graduation ceremonies in four of the past six years. In 2005, he obtained a Certificate in Medical Management from the University of Texas and the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas.

His clinical interests include acute gastrointestinal conditions, including intestinal obstruction and acute gastrointestinal hemorrhage. His research interests include acute lung injury, especially in the context of burns, and organization and administration of trauma care systems. His work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Veterans Administration Merit Review, the American Heart Association and numerous other agencies and organizations.

Turnage has served in many leadership positions in the American College of Surgeons and the Association for Academic Surgery and is active in numerous national organizations.

The Department of Surgery in the UAMS College of Medicine has 37 clinical faculty members and 55 other employees, including nurses, research and administrative staff. The physicians in the department include specialists in all aspects of general surgery and trauma, pediatric surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, vascular surgery, plastic and burn surgery and transplant surgery.

At any time, the surgical faculty members are training about 36 full-time residents (medical school graduates who are receiving advanced training in surgery), and providing complementary training to about 35 additional residents in orthopaedic surgery, anesthesiology and emergency medicine.