Robert Smith Named First Recipient of Georgia Vascular Society Lifetime Achievement Award

September 2016

In choosing Robert B. Smith, III, MD, Professor of Vascular Surgery Emeritus, to be the first recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award, the Georgia Vascular Society (GVS) honored a physician who began his surgical training before the emergence of vascular surgery as a specialty, and went on to combine administrative roles with clinical duties throughout a notable, Emory-based career that spanned almost four decades.

The award is given to individuals who have spent their careers providing outstanding service and training in the field of vascular surgery, and was presented to Dr. Smith during the GVS 4th Annual Scientific Sessions held September 16-18 at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, in Greensboro, GA. GVS also announced that its current resident award would be renamed the Robert B. Smith, III, MD, Resident Award.

Dr. Smith received his MD from the Emory University School of Medicine in 1957, and completed his general surgery residency at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in 1965. Shortly after joining the faculty of the Emory Department of Surgery in 1966, he participated in Georgia's first successful renal transplant with the late Garland Perdue, MD, the then chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery.

Dr. Smith served as Chief of the Surgical Service at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center from 1969-1988, and Chief of the Emory Vascular Service from 1984-1998. By the time he retired in 2006, he had served 11 years as Medial Director of Emory University Hospital and 15 years as Associate Chairman of the Department of Surgery.

Throughout his career, Dr. Smith also served presidential terms for the International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery-North American Chapter, the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery, the Georgia Surgical Society, and the Atlanta Vascular Society. He has previously been honored with the Distinguished Service Award of the Association of VA Surgeons. The Robert B. Smith, III, Visiting Professorship was inaugurated in 2006 at Emory University.

"In closing, permit me to share some thoughts from the perspective of a very senior, fully retired, but admiring enthusiast for what you folks do on a daily basis," said Dr. Smith during his acceptance speech. "From my own career, I am aware that it was a great privilege to have been a physician, even more to have become a surgeon, and especially a surgical subspecialist in a newly established, rapidly advancing, and frequently life, limb, or brain saving discipline. More than a profession, I consider it a form of ministry."

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