Dr. Tomas A. Salerno Inducted into Brazil’s National Academy of Medicine

Tomas A. Salerno, M.D., professor of surgery, Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Vice Chairman for Faculty Development and Mentoring in the Department of Surgery, and Chairman of the University of Miami Faculty Senate, was inducted into Brazil’s National Academy of Medicine, one of the oldest and most exclusive medical academies in the world, on May 7.

Salerno, a native Brazilian, is a highly regarded cardiac surgeon who continues to have strong ties to his home country through the Miller School’s numerous training programs for Brazilian physicians.

“I was honored to be inducted into the Academy,” said Salerno, who was joined at the ceremony in Rio de Janeiro by his wife, children nephew and niece, as well as by his mother and several cousins who live in Brazil. “It’s a very formal event. They march you into a large room where all the members are present. You stand up front, and they read your qualifications and hang a medal around your neck. Then the members all get in line and come forward one by one to shake your hand. These were the top physicians in the country, including all the leaders of Brazilian cardiac surgery. I come from humble beginnings, and I never imagined a moment like that in my life.”

The Academy was founded in 1829, when Brazil was a monarchy. By charter, membership is restricted to 100 representatives of the country’s medical elite — 40 internists, 40 surgeons and 20 physicians from other areas of medicine. Appointment is for life; a member has to die for a vacancy to occur. To become a member, you have to be recognized by your peers, not nominated by your friends. The primary requirement is a very high level of academic achievement.

There are also foreign inductees, but Salerno is only the 56th in the Academy’s history. He is, however, the second Miller School surgeon to be inducted in the past year. Alan S. Livingstone, M.D., the Lucille and DeWitt Daughtry Professor and Chairman of Surgery, was inducted in 2014.

“Tom’s induction into Brazil’s National Academy of Medicine is a tremendous recognition of his skills as a surgeon,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School and CEO of UHealth. “This is a rare honor, and it demonstrates that his colleagues outside the U.S. hold him in very high regard. To have him inducted the year after Alan’s induction — two of our top surgeons in one year — is even more unusual and speaks to the world-class quality of our physicians in the Department of Surgery and throughout the entire Miller School of Medicine.”

As is required of all new members, following the induction ceremony, Salerno gave a lecture on cardiac surgery — advances he had seen during his career and advances he predicted in the future.

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