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Neumayer selected as chair of surgery

Leigh Neumayer, MD, MS, FACS, has been named the new chair of surgery at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. She will begin her new role with the college in March.

Neumayer comes from the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, where she served in many leadership capacities, including chair of surgery, interim senior vice president for health sciences and interim executive dean. She is currently a professor of surgery and holds the Margaret E. and Fenton L. Maynard Endowed Chair in breast cancer research. She is internationally known for her expertise in breast cancer surgery and research, advocacy for women’s health issues and leadership in surgical education.

“I’m enthusiastic about the opportunity to join many outstanding faculty and leaders at UF Health,” Neumayer said. “Our goal is to become the place where people want to be: a department of surgery that delivers cutting-edge, high-quality care, where the core value of our team puts the patient at the center of all decisions.”

Neumayer is board-certified in surgery and surgical critical care. She has published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles and co-authored a patient education book, “Meet Virginia, Biography of a Breast.” She was the principal investigator for the world’s largest randomized trial comparing open and laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair, the results of which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. She has designed, conducted and published several clinical trials for the treatment of breast cancer. She remains involved in investigations to identify new markers and targets for breast cancer treatment.

Neumayer is on the editorial board of the Annals of Surgery and the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. She has served in many leadership positions for the American College of Surgeons, including chair of the Board of Regents, and has been president of four national organizations (Association of Women Surgeons, Association of VA Surgeons, Association for Surgical Education and Society of Clinical Surgery). She is a senior director of the American Board of Surgery and serves as the secretary of the Western Surgical Association and treasurer of the Arizona Medical Association.

Prior to her time at the University of Arizona, Neumayer was a professor and vice chair of academic affairs in the department of surgery at the University of Utah. In addition, she was co-director of the multidisciplinary breast cancer clinical and research teams at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, where she held a Huntsman Endowed Presidential Professorship. She had previously served as chief of surgery at the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

Neumayer earned her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and completed her general surgery residency at the University of Arizona. She earned a master’s degree in clinical research design and statistical analysis at the University of Michigan. She will complete a Master of Business Administration at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management in May.

“We are excited to have Dr. Neumayer join us as the new chair of surgery in early March. She has a tremendous research, clinical and educational background and we look forward to partnering with her on the growth of our campus,” said Leon L. Haley Jr., MD, MHSA, dean of the University of Florida College of Medicine — Jacksonville and CEO of UF Health Jacksonville.

Neumayer will guide the department comprised of 29 UF faculty members, seven divisions and three graduate medical education training programs. Andrew Kerwin, MD, a professor of surgery, has been serving as interim chair.

“This is an exciting time for the department of surgery,” Haley said. “As we prepare for Dr. Neumayer’s arrival, I want to thank Dr. Kerwin for his remarkable service as interim chair.”

For the media

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Dan Leveton
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