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1939 - 2020

A. Gerson Greenburg, 1939-2020

A. Gerson Greenburg, MD, PhD, FACS died March 25, 2020 in Boulder, Colorado. Dr. Greenburg was born in Chicago on March 23, 1939. He attended the University of Chicago receiving both his undergraduate and MD degrees from that institution after having attended public schools in the Chicago school system. He completed two years of surgical residency at the University of Chicago before spending two years in the United States Air Force. Upon return he completed his PhD in biomechanical engineering at Northwestern. Dr Greenburg completed his surgical training at the University of Illinois before being recruited to UCSD and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. At the Veterans Administration Hospital he served as Chief of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit and Chief of General Surgery while rising through the ranks to full Professor of Surgery. In 1986, Dr. Greenburg joined the faculty at Brown University where for 20 years he was Professor of Surgery and Chief of Surgery at The Miriam Hospital. He served as acting Chairman of the Department of Surgery from 1986 to 1993. In 2005, Dr. Greenburg received the Charles C.J. Carpenter Outstanding Physician of the Year Award and led the effort to organize The Miriam Hospital submission for the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

In the 1970’s, as an expert in oxygen therapeutics, Dr. Greenburg developed a method for preparing a solution of chemically modified hemoglobin for use as a red blood cell substitute. This led to a 40-year research career of the science of hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers. In addition to his interest in blood substitutes, Dr. Greenburg was a lifelong student of hernia anatomy, physiology, and surgical repair. He was very proud of having co-edited Nyhus & Condon’s Hernia Fifth Edition with Robert J. Fitzgibbons, Jr, MD. Dr. Greenburg served as President of the International Symposium on Blood Substitutes and held leadership positions on the National Board of Medical Examiners, as well as consulting and leadership roles at the National Institutes of Health. He served on the Editorial Board as Reviewer for numerous journals including five years as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Surgical Research.

Upon retirement in 2006, Dr. Greenburg and his wife Reva moved to Boulder, Colorado to be near their grandchildren and daughters. During retirement he served as Vice President of Medical Affairs for Biopure Corporation continuing his interest in blood substitutes. This was followed by a tenure as Senior Medical Director for TEI Biologics, a developer of collagen mesh for hernia repair. While at Brown Dr. Greenburg was passionate about surgical education and served as a mentor and role model to many surgical residents. He was a steadfast supporter of surgical education, and more importantly, the physical and mental well-being of surgical house staff and medical students. Dr. Greenburg is survived by his wife Reva, their three daughters and multiple grandchildren.