L.D. Britt, MD, MPH, DSc(Hon), FACS, FCCM, MAMSE, FRCSEng(Hon), FRCSEd(Hon), FWACS(Hon), FRCSI(Hon), FCS(SA)(Hon), FRCSGlasg(Hon), received the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Lifetime Achievement Award at Convocation, Sunday evening, October 24. Dr. Britt is the Henry Ford Professor and Edward J. Brickhouse Chairman, department of surgery, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, where he also is professor, School of Health Professions; professor, division of history of medicine; and chair, council of clinical chairs. He is Distinguished Professor of Surgery, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), Bethesda, MD.
An esteemed Fellow of the College since 1989, Dr. Britt is a Past-President of the ACS (2010−2011). At present, he serves on the ACS Task Force on Racial Issues. He is a founding Member of the ACS Academy of Master Surgeon Educators™, was Co-Chair of the Steering Committee that created the Academy, and serves on its Special Committee to Address Challenges and Opportunities Relating to Surgery Residency Training during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was Chair of the ACS Board of Regents (2008−2009) and Vice-Chair (2006−2008). As an ACS Regent (2000−2009), he served on and chaired the Central Judiciary Committee (2001−2006 and 2003−2006, respectively) and the Nominating Committee of the Fellows.
Dr. Britt also has served in various capacities on the ACS Committee on Trauma (COT, 1996−2006), including as a member (1987−1996) and Vice-Chair (1998−2002). He also served as Chair, Regional Committees on Trauma (1998−2006); Chair, Virginia Chapter COT (1991−1996); and Chief, COT-Region III. He has been a Senior Consultant to the national COT since 2007.
In addition, Dr. Britt served on the Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program Committee (1998−2008) and was Program Chair, Annual Meeting, Virginia Chapter of the ACS.
He has contributed to 300 scientific peer-reviewed publications, authored three textbooks, and serves on the editorial boards for the Annals of Surgery; Archives of Surgery; World Journal of Surgery; Journal of the American College of Surgeons; Journal of Trauma, Shock, and Critical Care; Journal of Surgical Education; and American Surgeon. He is associate editor of the American Journal of Surgery and a reviewer for the New England Journal of Medicine. He has been the principal investigator and coinvestigator of multimillion-dollar National Institutes of Health (NIH-R01) research grants.
During his distinguished professional career, he has received numerous awards and honors, including induction into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society; the Association of American Medical College’s Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest national teaching honor in medicine; and the Distinguished Educator Award presented annually by the Association of Surgical Education to an individual for both lifetime achievement and the consideration of their peers to be a true master educator.
He has served more than 200 institutions globally as an invited distinguished visiting professor and held numerous leadership positions in surgical societies, including as president of the Society of Surgical Chairs (2004−2005), the Southeastern Surgical Congress (2007−2008), the Halsted Society (2007−2008), the Southern Surgical Association (2008−2009), the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (2010−2011), the American Surgical Association (2012−2013), and the Society of Black Academic Surgeons (1999−2001), where he continues to serve as executive director. He also has been chair of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Residency Review Committee for Surgery (2005−2007), secretary of the Southern Surgical Association (2004−2008), and past-recorder/program chair for the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma.
In addition, Dr. Britt has held leadership positions in the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (Board of Directors, 1990−1993); National Board of Medical Examiners (Executive Board, 2004−2008); American Board of Surgery (senior examiner, 2013−2016, and director, 2007−2013); and American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (President, 2010−2011).
At the College’s 2010 Clinical Congress, Dr. Britt was awarded the U.S. Surgeon General’s Medallion for outstanding achievements in medicine. He was featured by the National Library of Medicine of the NIH, in collaboration with the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, for his contributions to academic surgery, appointed to the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Program National Advisory Committee, and honored by the National Board of Medical Examiners with the Edithe J. Levit Distinguished Service Award. U.S. President George W. Bush recognized him for his leadership role in medicine with a nomination and U.S. Senate confirmation to serve on the Board of Regents of the Uniformed Services University and was awarded the USUHS Distinguished Service Medal at the end of his tenure.
As an active community leader, he has also been the recipient of many public service honors such as the 2010 Colgate Darden Citizen of the Year Award, the 2011 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Award, and the 2016 Urban League of Hampton Roads Professor Marian Capps Memorial Award for his accomplishments in community service through education. On a national level, the Atlanta Post highlighted him as one of the top 21 Black physicians in America, and Ebony magazine recently listed him as one of the nation’s most influential African Americans. He was conferred an Honorary Doctorate by Tuskegee University and elected Commissioner to The Joint Commission as well as being recognized with honorary fellowship conferral by the French Academy of Surgery, the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa, the Southern Surgical Association, and by each of the four U.K. Royal Colleges—England, Edinburgh, Ireland, and Glasgow.
He is known for introducing the term “acute care surgery” and was a principal architect of this emerging specialty, which garnered him the prestigious 2013 Roswell Park Medal. He was also bestowed the unique designation of “Master of Critical Care Medicine” in 2015 by the American College of Critical Care and accorded the Association of Program Directors in Surgery’s 2019 Silbergleit Award, making him only the third individual to receive this recognition for sustained leadership as an accomplished program director.
Along with President Barack Obama and other notables, he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Howard University, Washington, DC. He conducted his 200th visiting professorship in 2016 as the inaugural John A. Barrett, M.D. Lecturer at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, IL, where he completed his initial residency training, to kick off the Trauma Unit’s 50th anniversary. Also in 2016, he was elected as the first and only faculty member from his institution to the National Academy of Medicine, which is considered one of the highest honors in the field of health and medicine. In 2018, the latest edition of his textbook, Acute Care Surgery, was unveiled and he was inducted into the inaugural class of the ACS Academy of Master Surgeon Educators.
Dr. Britt completed his undergraduate studies with distinction at the University of Virginia-Charlottesville before earning a medical degree from Harvard Medical School and a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA. He trained at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, department of surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, and at University Hospital and Cook County Hospital, department of surgery, University of Illinois, Chicago. He completed a clinical fellowship in trauma and critical care at the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, division of traumatology/critical care, Shock Trauma Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore.