Dr. Patricia Byers Receives Award for Contributions to Florida’s Surgical Care

A long-time advocate for effective trauma care, Patricia Byers, M.D., professor of surgery at the Miller School of Medicine, was honored with the prestigious Raymond Alexander award from the Florida Chapter of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). She received the lifetime achievement award at the chapter’s annual recognition ceremony in Tampa.

“We are very proud of Dr. Byers’ countless contributions toward advancing the delivery of trauma surgery care and surgical nutrition in our community and nationally,” said Omaida C. Velazquez, M.D., professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery. “For her dedication to clinical services, teaching the next generation, and many scholarly contributions, Dr. Byers richly deserves this important and prestigious recognition.”

A University of Miami surgeon for 31 years, Byers was the state’s trauma medical director and served on the advisory councils for Florida’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Injury Prevention and Brain and Spinal Cord Injury programs. She also served on the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma, as Chair and Vice Chair of the Florida Committee. She currently serves as a governor and president-elect of the ACS Florida Chapter.

For the past few years, Byers has been active in advancing motorcycle safety through her “Survive the Ride” program.

“We talk with patients who have been in a motorcycle crash about how to avoid a second accident,” she said. “Our intervention uses this ‘teachable moment’ to reduce the likelihood of being seriously injured or killed in another motorcycle crash.”

Byers also educates Florida’s EMS agencies about how to stabilize motorcycle victims and get them to a hospital more quickly.

Last year, Byers started a new surgical service at University of Miami Hospital for patients with intestinal failure due to cancer, blood clotting, prior surgery or other conditions, building on the long-standing service at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

“We are getting referrals from throughout South Florida, as well as the Caribbean, Midwest and other locations,” Byers said.

Byers credits Jacksonville surgeon Raymond Alexander, M.D., (1938-1992), for whom the award she received is named, with providing the impetus to establish Florida’s trauma care network.

“Ray was a giant in emergency medical services, who got our state’s 911 and trauma system going,” she said. “Thanks to his leadership, Florida became one of the first states with a legislated trauma system, and it is a deep honor to receive the award in his name.”

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient by setting high standards for surgical education and practice. The college currently has more than 80,000 members, including more than 6,600 Fellows in other countries, making it the largest organization of surgeons in the world.

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