Dr. Rodrigo M. Vianna Achieves Perfect Scores in Evaluation for Prestigious Academic Designation

Following several months of preparation and two grueling days of evaluations by some of the world’s top medical academicians, Rodrigo M. Vianna, M.D., Ph.D., professor of surgery, Director of Transplant Services and Chief of Liver and GI Transplantation at UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital, has been granted the prestigious Livre-Docência designation.

Vianna, who was evaluated by a panel of five reviewers on October 3 and 4 in the Department of Surgery at the University of São Paulo in his home country of Brazil, received a perfect score — a 10 from each reviewer for every portion of the evaluation. A 7 is considered good enough to pass; Vianna is believed to be the first surgeon in five decades to achieve a perfect score.

The designation, which has its origins in Germany and France, is not offered in most of the world, including at universities in the U.S. Its approximate translation in English is “free professor.”

“It means that you are judged to be competent to teach anywhere in the world,” said Vianna. “It is considered to be a level above M.D. or Ph.D. In fact, you can’t even apply without already having those degrees.”

Vianna’s evaluation consisted of six parts:

1. A written test. The applicant is given the topic only an hour before the four-hour exercise; Vianna’s topic was liver cancer.

2. Demonstration of a multi-organ transplant surgery on an animal; Vianna was given a pig. He was evaluated on his surgical skills, his command of the operating room and the quality of his teaching as he performed the procedures.

3. An oral examination involving a human patient.

4. A new doctoral thesis, which was part of the initial application. Vianna’s topic was multivisceral transplantation without the use of an ostomy. He then had to defend the thesis in Brazil.

5. A detailed accounting of his professional career, which was also submitted in advance. Vianna’s was 300 pages, and the panel questioned him extensively, often challenging him regarding decisions he had made about specific patients.

6. A public lecture. Vianna spoke on the history of multivisceral transplantation from the 1950s to today.

“I am very proud to have been judged worthy of the Livre-Docência designation,” said Vianna. “I am also pleased to be able to represent the excellence of the faculty at the Miller School of Medicine and the University of Miami.”

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