LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Dr. Hiram C. Polk Jr., Ben A. Reid Sr., M.D., Emeritus Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Louisville, has been named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
Tracing its beginnings to 1492, the College is committed to enabling surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care. Honorary Fellowship in the College is given to a limited number of individuals of outstanding academic merit or who have made other outstanding contributions to the profession.
Chair of the UofL Department of Surgery from 1971 to 2005, Polk became not only the longest serving chair of a surgery department in the country but also one of the world’s best-known and respected surgeons. During his 34-year tenure, the department saw the development of a prominent trauma center as well as advances in control of surgical infection and was the site of the first self-contained mechanical heart and hand transplants. The department’s resident physicians, fellows and former faculty hold major position of organizational and institutional leadership on five continents.
Polk’s most significant contribution to medicine is his landmark research into the use of perioperative antibiotics. Additionally, Polk helped develop some protocols for malignant melanoma treatment that are currently in use worldwide.
In 2008, Polk succeeded Dr. Michael DeBakey as chair of the Board of Governors of the Foundation for Biomedical Research.
Polk lives in Louisville, is prominent in the world of thoroughbred racing, and is a member of The Jockey Club. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in Boston.