Ira A. Ferguson Lectureship

Dr. Ira Ferguson

Dr. Ira Ferguson, Sr., was born in Anniston, Alabama, on February 5, 1896. His parents were farmers and owned a dry goods store. After graduating from Alabama Presbyterian College in 1917 he joined the Marine Corps and served on the 23rd Ambulance Co. during WWI in the French and German campaigns. When the war ended he enrolled in the Medical College of Alabama, later transferring to Emory in 1920. Graduating at the top of his class, he then did his internship and residency in surgery and gynecology at Grady Memorial Hospital and was the first chief resident in surgery at Wesley Memorial Hospital, renamed Emory University Hospital in 1932. Upon completing his residency, Dr. Ferguson began private practice in Atlanta while supervising residents at Grady. By 1939, he was an Associate Professor of Surgery of the Emory School of Medicine.

In 1942, Dr. Ferguson was appointed Colonel and Chief of the surgical service of Emory's 43rd Base Hospital Unit, which had served in WWI and had been reactivated for WW II. In 1943, the Emory faculty, staff, residents, and alumni serving on the 43rd sailed to North Africa and were stationed there for eight months, then sailed to Italy on D-Day. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Ferguson was assigned to the 11th Evacuation Hospital for the invasion of southern France. He later received the Bronze Star.

Upon returning home, Dr. Ferguson resumed teaching at Grady and became a consultant to the Veterans Administration, regularly inspecting hospitals throughout the southeast and conducting disaster training courses for national defense. He came into contact with Tuskegee Veterans Administration Hospital and was instrumental in initiating Alabama's first residency program for African-American surgeons at the institution in 1948.

He was appointed Chief of Surgery at Grady in 1956 and took a leading role in integrating it with Emory and the Atlanta VA hospitals to create the Emory University Affiliated Program, a consortium that strengthened the curriculum. In 1961, he retired from Grady to work solely at The Emory Clinic until his complete retirement in the late 1960s. After a lifetime of considerable academic, clinical, and national service, Dr. Ferguson died in February 1970.

The establishment of the Annual Ira A. Ferguson Lecture was made possible by a generous gift from Dr. Ira Ferguson, Jr., to honor his father. Ira Jr. retired from Emory in 1990 after thirty years of exemplary service as a general surgeon.

Speakers, Annual Ira A. Ferguson Lecture, 2008 – To Date





Caprice C. Greenberg, MD, MPH

– Morgridge Distinguished Chair in Health Services Research, Division of Surgical Oncology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Surgical Coaching for Performance Improvement


Rebecca M. Minter, MD

– A.R. Curreri Distinguished Chair, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Would I Trust You to be My Surgeon?


Amy J. Goldberg, MD

– Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University
– Surgeon-in-Chief, Temple University Health System

From Bench to Bedside: Changing Practice and Saving Lives


Robert Samuel Decosta Higgins, MD, MHSA

– William Stewart Halsted Professor and Director, Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
– Program Director, Cardiovascular Residency Program, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
– Surgeon-in-Chief, Johns Hopkins Hospital

Surgery in the New Millennium: Can We Honor the Past and Create a Substantial Future?


John G. Hunter, MD

– Mackenzie Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University

Surgical Residency Redesign: Is it Time?


Gerard M. Doherty, MD

– James Utley Professor and Chair of Surgery, Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine
– Surgeon-in-Chief, Boston Medical Center

Differentiated Thyroid Cancer


Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD

– Founding Director, Division of Education, American College of Surgeons
– Adjunct Professor of Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago

Preparation of Residents for Independent Practice: Challenges, Opportunities, and New Directions


Timothy J. Eberlein, MD

– Bixby Professor and Chairman, Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine
– Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor and Director, The Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center
– Surgeon-in-Chief, Barnes-Jewish Hospital

Surgical Training: A New Paradigm


Barbara Lee Bass, MD

– John F. & Carolyn Bookout Distinguished Endowed Chair, Methodist Hospital Department of Surgery
– Executive Director, Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation and Education (MITIE)
– Professor of Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University

Building the Infrastructure for Surgeon Retooling: Who's Responsible?


L.D. Britt, MD

– Brickhouse Professor of Surgery and Chairman, Department of Surgery, Eastern Virginia Medical School
– President, American College of Surgeons
– President, American Association for the Surgery of Trauma

The Future of Acute Care Surgery: Ongoing Challenges


John Tarpley, MD

– Professor of Surgery, Department of Surgery, Vanderbilt School of Medicine
– Assistant Chief of Surgical Service, Nashville Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
– Program Director, General Surgery Residency, Vanderbilt Medical Center

Teaching in the OR… $1000 per hour… or Priceless?


Alexander S. Rosemurgy, II, MD

– Professor of Surgery and Medicine, University of South Florida
– Director, Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, USF
– Surgical Director, Tampa General Hospital Digestive Disorders Center

Portal Hypertension


Charles M. Ferguson, MD

– Associate Professor of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital

Ira A. Ferguson, Sr., MD, and the Other Tuskegee Experiment


««return to top