Published October 25, 2021
Steve Schwaitzberg, chair of the Department of Surgery, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, was inducted into the American College of Surgeons Academy of Master Surgeon Educators earlier this month in a virtual ceremony.
The academy recognizes surgeon educators who have devoted their careers to surgical education. Individuals are selected to join following stringent peer review. The academy’s mission is to play a leadership role in advancing the science and practice of education across all surgical specialties, promoting the highest achievements in the lifetimes of surgeons.
A Jacobs School faculty member since 2015, Schwaitzberg has promoted the use of minimally invasive surgery skills around the world. His research has focused on methods of improving clinical outcomes to lessen recovery times, and he has contributed to the clinical use of robots in surgery.
Schwaitzberg, who also is president of UBMD Surgery, has been active in the national discussion on improving the delivery of health care. He has taken a leading role in educating and inspiring surgeons to tackle challenges that arise not just in the operating room, but throughout all of health care, including addressing health disparities in Buffalo.
During the past year, he was responsible for the Department of Surgery’s launch of a new anti-racism and health care equity initiative designed to address and mitigate the effects of systemic racism and inequality in health care.
Last summer, under Schwaitzberg’s leadership, the department implemented several new programs; they include a mentorship program that gives underrepresented future surgeons increased opportunities to work closely with established local surgeons in the operating room; a virtual learning mentorship program to spark the imaginations of high school students in Western New York and recruit them into STEM and medical careers; and establishment of meaningful partnerships with the residents and organizations of the neighborhoods where UB’s affiliate hospitals are located — Buffalo’s Fruit Belt and the Delavan-Grider communities.
Long an advocate for physicians and surgeons learning about the connections between business and health care, Schwaitzberg launched in the Jacobs School a competitive, medical device startup boot camp called UB BLAST (Business, Law and Surgical Technology). Over an intense five days, the program challenges teams of UB students studying medicine, business, law and engineering to work together to develop a new product to address a specific surgical problem and then create a startup to manufacture and market it.
Prior to coming to UB, Schwaitzberg was professor of surgery at the Harvard Medical School, chief of surgery at the Cambridge Health Alliance and associate professor of surgery at Tufts University School of Medicine. He also served in Iraq as director of intensive care at the 365th Evacuation Hospital.