American Surgical Association Transactions

Search Transactions

1925 - 2015

It is with sadness that I report to you the passing of James W. Mackenzie, MD, Professor and former Chair, Department of Surgery, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, on November 27, 2015.

Dr. Mackenzie received his medical degree in 1951 from the University of Michigan. He then completed his residency in General Surgery and Thoracic Surgery at the University Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with a two-year hiatus to serve on active duty in the U.S. Naval Reserve in Japan and Korea. Dr. Mackenzie then spent two years as an Instructor on the faculty of the University of Michigan (1960-'62) and from 1962-'69 was in the Department of Surgery at the University of Missouri, where he was Chief of the section of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and Assistant Chair of the Department of Surgery.

Dr. Mackenzie joined then Rutgers Medical School in 1969 as the first Chair of the Department of Surgery, a position he held until December 31, 1996. He was also appointed Chief of the division of Thoracic Surgery in 1969 and remained in that position until July 1, 2001. Two years after his arrival, he was appointed Dean of the medical school and served in that capacity from 1971-1975. During his tenure as Dean, he spearheaded the conversion of the medical school from a two-year to a full four-year program; established a centralized faculty practice plan; and recruited many eminent academic physicians and scientists, including several department chairs. As Surgery Department Chair he recruited nationally recognized academic surgeons to head the various surgical divisions. By 1989, there were approved residencies or fellowships in General Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Vascular Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, Urology and Colorectal Surgery.

Dr. Mackenzie wrote and was co-PI of the first successful NIH grant in the section of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Michigan and was PI of NIH grants at the University of Missouri and at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Dr. Mackenzie was a member of numerous professional organizations, including AOA, American Surgical Association, The American Association for Thoracic Surgery and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. He was a former Governor of the American College of Surgeons, and was author or co-author of over 150 articles, book chapters and abstracts.

July 2002 saw his retirement from then UMDNJ - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and his transition to Emeritus Professor and Dean Emeritus, a title that he held until his death. Dr. Mackenzie was 90 years old.

For me personally, it has been an honor to hold the James W. Mackenzie, M.D., Endowed Chair in the Department of Surgery and to have been Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery as well as Current Chair of the Department of Surgery, positions that Dr. Mackenzie had held during his career at our institution. Although he did not spend much time at our institution after retirement, his presence will be felt for generations to come at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.