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Honoring Dean Bruce Shack's Career and Upcoming Retirement

R. Bruce Shack, MD, FACS, Professor and Dean

Media Release - November 9, 2021
University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga
Honoring R. Bruce Shack, MD, for His Outstanding Career and Upcoming Retirement

R. Bruce Shack, MD, FACS, Professor and Dean for the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga since November 1, 2016, was honored for his lifelong service to academic medicine and innovative plastic surgery skills.  A special dinner and program was sponsored by the University and Erlanger leadership at the Walden Club in downtown Chattanooga on Tuesday evening, November 9, 2021, to honor him and hear tributes from many of his colleagues and family members.  The Master of Ceremony was James W. Haynes, MD, Chair, Department of Family Medicine, UT College of Medicine Chattanooga.  Also in attendance were dignitaries and guests including:

  • Steve Schwab, MD, Chancellor for the UTHSC in Memphis
  • Will Jackson, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer for Erlanger Health System
  • Teresa Hartnett, EdD, Associate Dean of Finance and Administration for the UTHSC College of Medicine Memphis
  • Catherine Womack, MD, Associate Dean of Student Affairs for the UTHSC College of Medicine Memphis
  • Linda Moss Mines, representing the Erlanger Board of Trustees
  • B W. Ruffner, MD, Past Dean and Past Chair, Department of Medicine, UT College of Medicine Chattanooga
  • Robert Fore, EdD, Professor, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Designated Institutional Official for the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga
  • Giuseppe Pizzorno, PhD, PharmD, Associate Dean for Research for the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga, and Chief Research Officer, Erlanger Health System
  • Alan Kohrt, MD, Assistant Dean of Faculty Development, UT College of Medicine Chattanooga
  • Richard Alvarez, MD, Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • R. Phillip Burns, MD, FACS, Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery for the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga, who also serves on the Board of Trustees for Erlanger Health System
  • Sudave Mendiratta, MD, Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine
  • Amar Singh, MD, Chair, Department of Urology, UT College of Medicine Chattanooga
  • Charles Woods, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics, UT College of Medicine Chattanooga

Two of Dean Shack's children were also able to attend as well -- son, Austin "Ryon," and daughter Jerian and her husband, Christopher.

Video tributes were played from two University officials who could not attend --  Scott Strome, Executive Dean for the UTHSC College of Medicine Memphis; and Paul Hauptmann, MD, Dean for the UT Graduate School of Medicine Knoxville.

Dr. Shack is an accomplished reconstructive surgeon, particularly in maxillofacial, post-cancer, burn related, cosmetic, and breast surgeries. He served as Chair of the Department of Plastic Surgery at Vanderbilt University for 20 years, and in 2016 was named to the position of Dean at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga. Erlanger Health System is the major affiliated partner and clinical training site for medical student and Graduate Medical Education for the Chattanooga Campus.  Dr. Shack served Vanderbilt University Medical Center for more than 40 years and has held the position of Professor and Chair of Plastic Surgery there since 1997.

Born in Texas, Dean Shack graduated from the University of Texas with an MD (1973) after receiving his BS degree in 1969 from Midwestern University.  He served as an extern at the St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London (1971) and St. Paul's Hospital in Dallas (1971).  Dr. Shack completed his Plastic Surgery Residency at Vanderbilt University, severing as Chief Resident from 1979 to 1980.  He was then appointed to the faculty in Plastic Surgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital (1980 - 1982) and served as a visiting professor of plastic surgery at multiple institutions, including Baylor College of Medicine, Southern Illinois School of Medicine, and notably as XV Marzoni Lecturer and Visiting Professor at the University of Alabama in 2000.   Dr. Shack was an attending surgeon at John Hopkins Hospital (1980 to 1982), an attending surgeon in plastic surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (1982), and at the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medicine (1980 to 1982). Dr. Shack contributed his expertise as an exam consultant with the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and as a member of the Advisory Board of the Tennessee Chapter of the Neurofibromatosis Foundation in 1990, the Educational Foundation in 1966, and a consultant at the Veterans' Hospital since 1982.  He also worked at the Children's Hospital and Center for Reconstructive Surgery in Baltimore from 1980 to 1982. Dr. Shack is a diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery and was recognized by the American Board of Surgery with added qualifications in surgery of the hand. He has contributed chapters to books, authored over 70 articles in professional journals, and presented at various seminars.

Dr. Shack has been a fellow of the American College of Surgeons since 1984.  Between 1983 to 1987, he served the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons in a wide range of capacities. He was President of the Southern Medical Association from 2009 to 2010, and the Tennessee Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 2002. Dr. Shack was actively involved with the Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, the Nashville Surgical Society in the 1990s, the John B. Lynch Society in the 1980s, and was President of the H. William Scott Jr. Society from 2000 to 2001. He has served the American Society of Plastic Surgeon and the American Medical Association, as well as the Tennessee Medical Association, the Southern Surgical Association, the Nashville Academy of Medicine, the John Staige Davis Society Plastic Surgeons of Maryland, American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Cancer Society, the American Burn Association, and the American Association of Plastic Surgeons.

Dr. Shack was honored with the Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Award by the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in 2017 as well as the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis Who's Who that same year.  He was presented with the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Midwestern State University Division of Sciences in 1998. He was also named as one of the Best Doctors in America from 2000 to 2014, and as an Outstanding Young Man in America in 1969. He has received grants from the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation, LPG, Incorporated, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the Southeastern Society for Plastic Surgeons. He also received a scholarship as an Outstanding Senior Pre-Medical Student from 1968 to 1969, and he was the recipient of the Gold Medal Paper Award by the Forum on Progress in Surgery of the Southeastern Surgical Society in 1977. Dr. Shack can be found in numerous editions of Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, and Who's Who in the South and Southwest. He was married to Wanda Kaye Shack for more than 30 years, sadly losing her in 2020. Dr. Shack acknowledged gratitude for the long-standing support of his colleagues and his four children:  Robert David; Nathan Andrew; Jerion Elizabeth and her husband Christopher; and Austin "Ryon".

Dr. Shack was filled with emotion at the outpouring of respect and appreciation he received from the group of some 80 guests as he prepares for retirement at the end of November, 2021.


Sep 20, 2022