Department of surgery honors retiring faculty

Michael Good, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine (left) and surgery chairman Kevin Behrns, M.D. (second from right) gather with retiring faculty surgeons (left to right) M. Brent Seagle, M.D., W. Robert Rout, M.D., and Richard J. Howard, M.D., Ph.D., at a reception held in their honor. Photo by JR Hermsdorfer, Photographer, UF News Bureau

Celebrating a total of more than 80 years of service to the UF College of Medicine, the department of surgery honored three talented surgeons June 16.

“This is really immeasurable and unique,” said department chair, Dr. Kevin E. Behrns, of the contributions given and advances made throughout the years by Richard J. Howard, M.D., Ph.D., W. Robert Rout, M.D., and M. Brent Seagle, M.D.

During an afternoon retirement reception, Behrns recognized the physicians as three of the best educators within the department.

“We will allow them some respite, but we will be calling on them for their expertise,” Behrns said.

College of Medicine Dean Michael Good, M.D., said he has had the honor of working with all three surgeons, and each has helped shape his life and practice.

Howard, the Robert H. and Kathleen M. Axline professor of surgery, joined UF in 1979. He has held numerous leadership roles, including medical director of the Shands Transplant Center at the University of Florida and chief of the division of transplantation. He is a leader in the field of surgical infections and an advocate for boosting organ donation rates.

College of Medicine surgical residents celebrate Dr. Robert Rout's style and recognize his dedication to their education by wearing bow ties during a special grand rounds lecture given by Rout and other longtime UF surgical faculty, Drs. Seagle and Howard. All three surgeons retire this summer. Photo by JR Hermsdorfer, Photographer, UF News Bureau

Rout, an associate professor of surgery, who joined UF in 1985, also served as chief of surgery at the Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center during his tenure. He introduced laparoscopic abdominal surgery at the UF College of Medicine and Shands. He was one of the first in Florida to perform a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, and the first in the state to perform a TEM, transanal endoscopic microsurgical, resection of a rectal tumor.

Seagle joined UF in 1986 and is currently an associate professor and chief of the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery. He has served as co-director of the UF Craniofacial Center for more than two decades. He has dedicated his time and talents to helping children in underserved countries including, Russia, Angola and Honduras by providing much-needed surgical care for patients with disfiguring congenital birth defects such as cleft lips and palates.

The day’s events began with a special grand rounds lecture where insight and wisdom was offered by each retiring surgeon. Key messages included keeping family first, selecting good mentors, listening and communicating well with patients, knowing success comes in the form of teamwork, and never denying your basic beliefs.