History and Commitment to Surgical Education
The College of Medicine was established in the late 1860s by Dr. Washington Freeman Peck who initiated the efforts to create a state supported medical school in Iowa City. The College of Medicine's first class began in 1870, where Dr. Peck served as the first Dean of the Faculty and Chairman of the Department of Surgery, in which he served for 20 years.
After Dr. Peck served as the first Chairman, the department has had such notable chairmen as Dr. Frank Peterson, Dr. Sidney Ziffren, Dr. Carol Scott-Conner, and now Dr. Ronald Weigel, who were or are all leaders in their surgical specialties and dedicated to surgical education. An example of this dedication to surgical education was highlighted through the development of the Ziffren Professorship, which was established to honor Dr. Sidney Ziffren and is designated to be held by the Director of the Surgical Residency Training Program. The current holder of the Ziffren Professorship is Dr. John Sharp, who has been the Residency Director since 1999, and who has completed both a general surgery residency and vascular fellowship here at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Dr. Sharp continues to follow the rich tradition set by the former program directors and departmental chairmen.
The residency training program itself has evolved and grown through many decades, facing numerous changes in both society and in the medical community; however, the program has and will continue to provide a superior education developed through a resident-centered atmosphere.