Family-Inspired Professorship in Plastic Surgery

Three things motivated Jerome D. Chao, MD, FACS, and his wife, Katherine, to make a $1 million gift to Albany Med and they all had to do with family.

The founder of Chao Plastic Surgery, in Latham, Dr. Chao said he found himself thinking about who had helped him achieve the prolific career he enjoys today—a nearly two-decade run that included seven years of service to Albany Med as chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery.

First, he said, his parents—his late mother, Sun Faye Chao, and his father, Hsin Cheng Chao, MD—gave him inestimable support.

His wife and his children, Matthew and Madeleine, also made sacrifices (“this is especially true in medicine,” he said, “you’re not home a lot”).

And, finally, Albany Med, provided “the home that gave me my start in academics.”

To honor these profound forces, Dr. Chao and his wife established the Chao Family Distinguished Professor in Plastic Surgery.

“When people hear ‘plastic surgery,’ they often think of cosmetic surgery,” Dr. Chao said. “Much of the work being done at Albany Med is reconstructive—cleft and craniofacial surgeries for children, breast reconstructions and other interventions for cancer patients. Our gift supports teaching, research, clinical services and recruitment to help the plastic surgery team operate at their fullest potential.”

Ashit Patel, MD, FACS, chief of the division, holds the endowed professorship. “We’re deeply grateful for the gift, which is allowing us to grow as a division,” he said. As the current president of the New York State Society of Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Patel added, “the professorship reflects positively on the institution, as a whole, and helps relay that we have some great things happening here in Albany.”