Faculty Profile

Barbara Pettitt, MD

Barbara J. Pettitt, MD

Professor of Surgery, Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine

Director, Medical Student Education, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine (encompasses Surgical Clerkship (M3) and M4 Programs)






American Board of Surgery, 1982, 1990, 2001, 2011; Certificate of Special Competence in Pediatric Surgery, 1988, 1995, 2005; Certificate of Special Competence in Surgical Critical Care, 1987, 1994, 2005; Instructor, Advanced Trauma Life Support, 1986-present

Year Joined Emory as a Faculty Member:



As the director of medical student education for the Department of Surgery, Dr. Pettitt has coordinated, managed, and presented a wide array of didactic courses and skills labs to medical students and surgical residents. She has enhanced the scope of Emory surgical trainees' learning experiences by spearheading the development of electronic teaching sites; devising learning objectives, instructional guidelines, and assessment checklists for various simulation training modules of the American College of Surgeons/Association of Surgical Education's Medical Student Simulation-Based Surgical Skills Curriculum; and initiating educational scenarios in trauma evaluation and management using both full-body simulators and actors playing patients.

Since joining the Department in 1985, Dr. Pettitt's tenures as chief of surgery at Hughes Spalding Children's Hospital (now Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding), chief of pediatric surgical services of the Grady Health System, and director of education for the Emory Endosurgery Unit have allowed her to encourage and influence hundreds of surgical and pediatric residents and medical students during their rotations. Beginning in 2011, she has also managed the surgery follow-up clinics that cap Emory's medical student-led surgical trips to Haiti, which are staffed by teams of faculty attendings, residents, and medical students.


View Dr. Pettitt's publications in PubMed.


  • Grady Health System

  • Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston


  • MD, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, Class of 1976

  • General Surgery Internship and Residency, Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center, 1976-1981

  • Pediatric Surgery Fellowship, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, 1982-1984

Postdoctoral Honors and Awards

  • Evangeline T. Papageorge Distinguished Teaching Award, Emory University, 2017

  • Best Clerkship Director, Emory University School of Medicine, Class of 2012, Class of 2016, Class of 2017

  • Olga Jonasson Distinguished Member Award, Association of Women Surgeons, 2014

  • Sir William Osler Society, Honorary Inductee, Emory University School of Medicine, 2014

  • Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Inductee, Emory Chapter, 2013

  • Dean's Teaching Award, Emory University School of Medicine, 2010-2011

  • Distinguished Service Award, Emory Pipeline Program, 2010-2011

  • Philip J. Wolfson Outstanding Teaching Award, Association for Surgical Education/Association of Program Directors, 2009

Current Organizational Memberships

  • American College of Surgeons, Fellow

  • American College of Surgeons Board of Governors: Association for Surgical Education Representative

  • American College of Surgeons/Association for Surgical Education: National Medical Student Surgical Simulation and Skills Curriculum

  • American College of Surgeons, Georgia State Chapter: Executive Committee

  • ACS/APDS/ASE Entering Surgery Resident Prep Curriculum Committee

  • American Academy of Pediatrics, Surgical Section

  • American Academy of Pediatrics, Georgia Chapter: Committee on School Health

  • American Pediatric Surgical Association

  • American Society of General Surgeon: Board of Directors

  • Association for Surgical Education: Board of Directors, ASE Representative to Board of Governors, Faculty Development Committee, Assessment and Evaluation Committee, Clerkship Directors Committee (founder), Simulation Committee, Graduate Surgical Education Committee

  • Alpha Omega Alpha

  • Georgia Surgical Society

  • Georgia Coalition of Medical Educators (charter member)

  • Medical Association of Atlanta

  • Medical Association of Georgia

  • Southeastern Surgical Congress

  • Society of Graduate Surgeons of LAC-USC Medical Center

  • United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE): Children's Health Test Material Development Committee; Step 3 Interdisciplinary Review Committee, NBME Surgery Subject Examination Reviewer

Research Interests

  • Surgical and medical education, including evaluation of instructional and assessment methods, needs assessments of various learner populations, and validation of instruction and assessment of various methods of technical skills training