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For Release: October 28, 2009,
Contact: David Corriveau, Media Relations Officer, Dartmouth Medical School, 603-653-0771

Freeman Named Surgery Chair

Dr. Richard B. Freeman Jr.
is coming from Tufts

Lebanon, N.H.—Richard B. Freeman, Jr., M.D., a veteran transplant surgeon and medical educator at Tufts, has just been named chair of the Department of Surgery at Dartmouth Medical School.

Freeman currently directs the transplant fellowship program at Tufts-New England Medical Center, as well as the Surgical Research Laboratories at the Tufts University School of Medicine, where he also teaches and is vice chair of surgery. Upon taking the helm at Dartmouth on January 4, 2010, he will oversee a department that offers training and treatment in 11 surgical specialties.

"I reviewed all of the Department members' CVs, and I was very impressed by the fact that there are many extremely accomplished people - a lot of them, across the board," Freeman says. "One of my tasks is to stimulate them to grow their careers and become more widely recognized experts."

And, he adds, to spread the word beyond Dartmouth about their expertise and accomplishments.

"Everybody knows about Dartmouth's undergrad school, and the medical school in New England has a very good reputation," Freeman says. "I want to help make the hospital, the medical school and the Department of Surgery really be noticed nationally and internationally for its innovative care and cutting edge research."

During his seven years of postdoctoral training with the Harvard Surgical Service at New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston, Freeman spent a year as chief resident and also did a fellowship in transplantation. In addition, he spent a year training at the Royal Aberdeen Infirmary in Scotland. He is a 1983 graduate of Jefferson Medical College.

Since he arrived at Tufts as a staff surgeon in 1990, Freeman has led surgical education, served on the curriculum committee, and contributed to the redesign of the medical school's clinical curriculum. He had held clinical appointments in Boston at the Faulkner Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, and St. Vincent's Medical Center.

At Dartmouth, he plans to continue the tradition of expecting a lot from the institution's surgery residents.

"The department clearly values them," Freeman says. "They were willing to show off their residents to me as a potential candidate, on my first visit up there."

Freeman has focused his research on genetic differences in immune response, the immunology of liver regeneration, viral infections in transplantation, long-term outcomes after transplants, and policies on the allocation of donor organs. He is the principal investigator on several projects funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), and the New England Organ Bank, and he also leads clinical trials supported by the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

"It's a team sport, for sure," Freeman says of transplant surgery. "So many fields are involved - surgery, medicine, molecular biology, ethics, international politics, states' rights versus federalism. . . . As a [medical] student, I didn't appreciate all of the intricacies. The field has advanced dramatically."

Freeman serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for New England Organ Bank, serves as an associate editor for both the American Journal of Transplantation, and for Liver Transplantation. He is an editorial board member or a reviewer for more than a dozen other scholarly journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

At Dartmouth, he foresees the completion of a new, 41,000-square-foot Outpatient Surgery Center (OSC) helping the institution compete in an era of change in the system of health-care funding.

"The growth area here is going to be figuring out how to be more efficient," Freeman says. "[The outpatient center] is one step of many that need to happen."

The announcement of Freeman's appointment was made by William R. Green, Ph.D., the dean of Dartmouth Medical School; Nancy A. Formella, M.S.N., the president of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital; and Thomas A. Colacchio, M.D., the president of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic. Freeman will succeed Richard W. Dow, M.D., who was chair of surgery at Dartmouth from 1996 to 2008, and Lawrence Dacey, M.D., who is currently serving as interim chair.


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