Life After the OR

Dr. Raja introduces himself during the Retired Faculty Luncheon
Dr. Raja introduces himself during the start of the meeting.

What do a pilot, celebrated artist, avid sailor, photographer, renowned author, generous philanthropist, chef de cuisine, historian and relentless cross-country biker all have in common?

Well, for one thing, they are all former MUSC surgeons who tirelessly dedicated their lives to the care of patients, teaching future generations and leading innovative research. Their successes can certainly be attributed to having been enormously focused on their careers as surgeons. Now retired, these faculty share the desire to remain engaged with MUSC and the Department of Surgery.

On September 28, Chairman Prabhakar Baliga hosted the inaugural “Brunch and Muster” for retired surgical faculty, staff and alumni, gathering these giants in the field of surgery with the goal of harnessing their remarkable talents and promoting a culture that values and encourages retirees’ desire for continued productivity and contributions. Retirement for many is not a disengagement from MUSC but rather a shift in the relationship – moving from success to significance.

Dr. Baliga recognizes that there is a great opportunity - through partnership with retired faculty, alumni and staff - to more effectively facilitate their roles as advocates, ambassadors and assets in support of the department’s mission while fulfilling their aspirations to find continued intellectual engagement.

“Our retired faculty represent an enormous resource; their accomplishments are outstanding, said Baliga. “My goal is to understand how those assets can be meshed with the needs of the department to benefit the overall community.”Many of these individuals are currently contributing as volunteers in the education of our medical students and residents. Surgery small group sessions, suturing labs, H&P, mock oral reviews, mentoring, patient bedside rounding, teaching hours – are but a few of the programs supported by our retired surgeons.

In addition, MUSC retirees are strong financial supporters of the University. Vera Ford, Director of Development for the MUSC Department of Surgery recognizes “retirees play an important role in the work that we do to raise private support.

Not only do they generously support MUSC through their individual philanthropic contributions, but they also serve as our best advocates, helping us reach alumni and friends across the country by sharing news of all of the tremendous work and achievements happening in the Department of Surgery.”

A stellar example is H. Biemann Othersen, Jr., M.D. Not only does he lead weekly lectures at the famed “Bee Hive” sessions, but he also chairs the Curtis P. Artz MUSC Surgical Society. Known to generations of MUSC physicians and surgeons, Othersen travels regularly to national surgical meetings serving as host of alumni receptions that keep our graduates engaged, informed and instilling pride in their training program.

Next steps for the retired surgeon program include providing a comprehensive list of opportunities for engagement and developing a more formal structure for the group.

So while you may catch one of these surgical legends on center stage at a book-signing, an art gallery or at the helm of a clipper, rest assured that retirement includes the recognition that their cumulative wisdom and clinical experience is an invaluable asset that is both honored and in high demand.