Great Gifts / Spring 2005
Faculty of Medicine Honours Surgeon

Dr. Bernard Langer created the surgeon scientist program


Innovations in surgical education and research are Dr. Bernard Langer’s personal legacy to the University of Toronto, but his students and colleagues have ensured that his name will be remembered, too. The Dr. Bernard and Ryna Langer Chair in General Surgery at U of T is a $2-million endowed chair honouring the retired professor and his wife. The chair has been funded through gifts and pledges from the Division of General Surgery, friends and family of the Langer family, and Dr. Langer’s students, patients and colleagues.

One of Dr. Langer’s contributions to U of T is the creation of the surgeon scientist program, which provides research training for surgical residents interested in careers in academic medicine, and fosters the development of surgical specialties. He also helped introduce an income-sharing plan in general surgery that ensures surgeons are compensated for time spent in research and teaching.

“As a physician leader, Bernie Langer was a true innovator, an extraordinarily gifted surgeon and a great teacher,” says Dr. David Naylor, dean of the Faculty of Medicine. “The surgeon scientist program he created has been widely emulated in other clinical departments across Canada and is a cornerstone of the department’s international reputation.”

As current chair of the Division of General Surgery, Dr. Zane Cohen will hold the Langer Chair. The annual endowment income will be used to retain and recruit faculty, support the surgeon scientist program, and promote innovation and fund research in general surgery.

“I am extremely honoured that my colleagues and students have chosen to recognize me in this way and to recognize my wife, who has been tremendously supportive of my work and made it possible for me to spend much of my time in my career,” says Dr. Langer (MD 1956). “It is also very gratifying to see the great accomplishments of the graduates of the surgeon scientist program, who make up the next generation of academic surgeons in our department and elsewhere.”


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