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Visiting Professor of Surgery 2013 - Hiram C. Polk, Jr., MD


Hiram C. Polk, MD

Sansum Clinic’s Second Visiting Professor of Surgery, Hiram C. Polk, Jr., MD, Ben A. Reid, Sr. Professor of Surgery, Emeritus, University of Louisville, School of Medicine, led Surgical Academic Week March 11 – 15, 2013.  During the week Dr. Polk interacted, taught and mentored practicing community surgeons and was directly involved with teaching the general surgical residents at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. The Visiting Professor of Surgery Endowment Fund was established in December 2010 by Ronald G. Latimer, MD (Emeritus) and Sansum Clinic to advance the educational opportunities of local surgeons and to demonstrate a commitment to quality surgical care in Santa Barbara.  The fund allows a prominent national or international surgeon to be in residence in Santa Barbara for one week each year. 

Dr. Polk has devoted his professional life to the advancement of excellence in surgical education, clinical practice and research. Following undergraduate education at B.S. Millsaps College he was accepted to Harvard Medical School. He completed his internship and general surgical residency training at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. His seminal research interests have been directed to surgical wound infections, appropriate antibiotic usage, and the treatment of malignant melanomas, for all of which he is recognized as a world authority.  During his 34 years as the Chairman of the Department of Surgery in Louisville this surgical icon has trained more than 230 general surgeons.

In addition to the events scheduled for residents and attending surgeons, Dr. Polk presented two public lectures.  

Romance to Reality: Thoroughbred Breeding and Racing in the 21st Century.

Click here to watch this lecture on our YouYube Channel.

Dr. Polk’s avocation for thoroughbred horses started early in life as he worked at Suffolk Downs as well as contributed writings to The Thoroughbred Record during medical school. In this fascinating lecture Dr. Polk, as an owner and breeder, will cover horse racing’s national and international history, its relationship to legalized gambling, the challenge to the superior Kentucky blood lines by oversea breeding, and the abusive treatment plus questionable medicinal usages in present day horse racing.

SOS: Shortage of Surgeons: Will there be a qualified/trained surgeon when I need one? 

Click here to watch this lecture on our YouYube Channel

Presently, in the United States, there is a shortage of trained qualified general surgeons. With the many technological advancements, the competitive demand and desire for super-specialization, the mandated, but questionably beneficial changes in work hours for surgical training, and the unknown consequences of the Accountable Care legislation, there exists a serious concern that there may not be an expert trained surgeon available to manage a patient’s unique surgical problem. Dr. Polk has been and is involved with these manpower issues and will address them in detail.

If you would like to learn more about our Visiting Professor of Surgery Education Program or discuss how you can help to suppport the good health of our community, please contact Dru A. Hartley, Director of Philanthropy at (805) 681-7726 or

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