Our History

DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery History

View an interactive story of our Department of Surgery history by clicking on the images above.

Chairman History

1920-1954 - Walter C. Jones, Jr., M.D.


Jackson Memorial Hospital Department of Surgery

While the details of its early development are missing, it is known that a Department of Surgery at JMH was established in the 1940’s with Dr. Walter Jones, a local practitioner, appointed Chief. This evolved into four major services with Drs. Joe Stuart, John Turner, Tom Otto, and Walter Jones as service Chiefs.

A University Department of Surgery

The Department of Surgery at JMH had been staffed by local surgeons, under the direction of Dr. Jones for over 25 years and the city had continued to grow to a population of 172,000 residents. Associated with this, Jackson had grown into a major facility with 600 beds and the Medical School was established. The stage was set and the three major players were in place for the development of a University Department.

1954-1961 - John J. Farrell, M.D.


Department is Formally Established

In 1954 the University Department of Surgery was formally organized with Dr. John Farrell appointed as its first Chairman. He continued as chairman until 1961.

At this point in time, most surgery departments included many specialties organized into divisions rather than departments. The first order of business for Dr. Farrell was appointing Chiefs of these various divisions. General Surgery was divided into four services with a Chief on each. Active research programs were added procuring several NIH grants. The Surgical Training Program was reorganized and research opportunities provided. Many community surgeons remained active teachers during this period.

Department of Surgery Divisions
  • General Surgery
  • Otolaryngology
  • Orthopedics
  • Urology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Cardiac

Dr. David Reynolds served at Interim Chairman until 1963.

1963-1971 - W. Dean Warren, M.D.


Department is Reorganized

Dr. W. Dean Warren, a native Floridian born at Jackson Memorial, was appointed Chairman in 1963. He resigned in 1971 to accept the position of Chairman at Emory. During this period, the department was extensively reorganized. Several divisions were granted departmental status. Plastic and Cardiothoracic Surgery remained in the Department of Surgery. Several new divisions were established. The VAMC became an integrated teaching facility. Research activities increased in numerous areas gaining an international reputation in the field of portal hypertension with the development of the Distal Splenorenal Shunt.

Division Granted Departmental Status
  • Otolaryngology
  • Orthopedics
  • Urology
  • Neurosurgery
New Divisions Established
  • Tissue Bank
  • Veteran Administration Medical Center
  • Intensive Care
  • Transplant

1971-1993 - Robert Zeppa, M.D.


Ryder East Wing

A Long Reign

Dr. Robert Zeppa was appointed Chairman in 1971. He continued as Chairman until his death in 1993. Dr. Zeppa, who had been appointed Chief of Surgery at the VAMC in 1965, was involved in much of the development during the Warren years, and thus the transition was quite smooth. The department continued to expand and 5 new divisions added. The residency complement was increased from 5 to 6 chief positions. A major development was completion of the Ryder Trauma Center, spearheaded by Dr. Zeppa, in 1992. The department continued to gain international recognition with representation in many of the most prestigious surgical organizations in the world.

Divisions Established
  • Hyperbaric Medicine
  • Surgical Oncology
  • Oral Surgery
  • Trauma/ICU
  • Colon & Rectal
  • Vascular

1994-1997 - Joseph A. Moylan, M.D.


Dr. Joseph A. Moylan, Professor of Surgery at Duke University, was appointed Chairman in 1994. During his tenure, the Department of Surgery administration was reorganized and two Service Chiefs appointed. He continued as Chairman until 1997.

In 1999, the Department’s name was changed to “DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery” in recognition of the innumerable contributions of Dr. Daughtry and his family to the Department of Surgery over many years.

2000-2015 - Alan S. Livingstone, M.D.


After completing his education at McGill University in Montreal Canada and much of his residency training at Montreal General Hospital, Dr. Alan Livingstone joined the University of Miami Department of Surgery in 1976 as Assistant Professor of Surgery. He was appointed Chairman in March 2000. The transition was smooth since he had completed part of his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital, served as Vice Chairman from 1994-1997 and Interim Chairman from 1997-2000. Major changes during his tenure have included an increase in number of faculty, an increase in research and technical training and an increase in number of cases.

2015-Present - Omaida C. Velazquez, M.D.


Omaida C. Velazquez, M.D., F.A.C.S., was appointed Professor and Chair, DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery in August 2015.  Previously, she was Professor and Chief and the David Kimmelman Endowed Chair in Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.  Currently, she is also Surgeon-in-Chief-for UHealth, Jackson Health System and University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.  She is a member of the American Surgical Association (ASA), an elite group composed of the nation’s most prominent surgeons from the country’s leading academic medical institutions.
Dr. Velazquez’s current research focuses on further understanding and advancing new treatments for lower extremity arterial occlusive disease and diabetes-related wound healing defects. Dr. Velazquez is the Principal Investigator of a NIH-funded basic science laboratory that investigates endothelial cell biology, angiogenesis, and vasculogenesis. Her clinical expertise focuses on endovascular and other minimally invasive approaches in the surgical treatment of vascular diseases. She has extensive expertise in both open and endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms, open and endovascular treatments for carotid, mesenteric, and renal stenosis and novel treatments for critical limb ischemia.

In addition to her roles as a surgeon and a scientist, Dr. Velazquez served as the Executive Dean of Research, Research Education and Innovative Medicine for the Miller School of Medicine.  Under her leadership, investigators across campus saw the clinical research infrastructure enhanced, administrative processes de-mystified and interdepartmental communications increased.
Dr. Velazquez obtained her B.S. from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1987 and obtained M.D. degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School graduating Valedictorian in her class of 1991. She completed her post-graduate training in General and Vascular Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania.  In addition to her clinical training, she pursued additional years in research and was the recipient of the 1997 Jonathan E. Rhoads Research Award.  She received the von Liebig Foundation Award for Excellence in Vascular Surgical Research (2001), the University of Pennsylvania Center of Excellence Faculty Scholar Award (2002), and the Joel J. Roslyn Faculty Research Award (2003). Before joining the Miller School of Medicine, Dr. Velazquez served on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania for eight years and became an Associate Professor with tenure.