Behrns named interim chairman of surgery

Dr. Kevin E. Behrns has been named interim chairman of the University of Florida department of surgery.

Behrns, the Robert H. Hux professor of surgery, joined the UF College of Medicine in 2005 as chief of the division of general surgery, which includes gastrointestinal surgeons, surgical oncologists, and trauma and burn surgeons. He also serves as department vice chairman and as the general surgery residency program director.

According to Dr. Michael Good, interim dean of the College of Medicine, Behrns’ proven record in these roles shows he has the qualities needed to lead the department and strengthen its presence and influence as a leader in patient care, research and education.

Behrns replaces Dr. Bill Cance, who chose to step down June 30 after nearly six years of service in the position. Cance will remain a professor in the division of surgical oncology, where he wishes to devote more time to the pursuit of translational program development in cancer and to his role as president of the Society of Surgical Oncology.

“Dr. Cance leaves the chair’s role with the department well-positioned for continued growth and improvement under his successor,” Good said.

A gastrointestinal surgeon, Behrns focuses on hepatobiliary and pancreatic diseases. He heads the Surgical Laboratory of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Pathobiology, a National Institutes of Health-funded research lab that is interested in the role of chronic inflammation in the regulation of liver and pancreatic cell growth control.

In 1983, he received his bachelor’s degree with highest honors from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. He earned his medical degree at the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn., in 1988, where he continued with his general surgery residency training at the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education.

Behrns began his career in academic medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1995, where he served first as an assistant professor, then as an associate professor, until coming to UF. He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society, and his commitment to education has been recognized with numerous teaching awards.