Chair of surgery at USD's Sanford School of Medicine retiring

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- One of the longest-serving department chairs at the Sanford School of Medicine of The University of South Dakota is retiring this month. John Ryan, M.D, has served as chair of the surgery department since 1991. During that time, he’s also been a professor and chief of surgery for the VA Medical Center.

"John is highly committed to medical students and medical education," said Rodney Parry, M.D., and medical school dean. "Interest in our surgery department greatly increased under his stewardship, and he was very encouraging of both men and women to consider the field. He is an outstanding educator."

As chair, Parry said, Ryan emphasized the importance of physical diagnosis to aid surgery. "Students and residents greatly benefitted from understanding the intricacies of conducting first-rate bedside examinations," Parry added. "He always says that a careful pre-operative exam decreases surprises in the operating room."

Ryan, a native of Dublin, Ireland, graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He completed his surgical residency in Pittsburgh, Pa. His fellowships include surgical oncology, transplantation and vascular surgery. In 1992, he established the first transplant program in South Dakota helping people with kidney failure. He has had more than 40 peer-reviewed articles published and has served as assistant editor of the South Dakota Medical Journal. He also has served as an examiner for the American Board of Surgery and an international examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

In addition to continuing his duties at the VA, Ryan will continue his association with the school as a professor emeritus. Robert Van Demark, Jr., M.D., has been named the interim surgery chair while a search is conducted for a permanent chair.