Three Surgeons Honored with Endowed Titles

Three Albany Med surgeons named to endowed positions were recently celebrated at a reception at the Hilton Garden Inn:

  • Edward Lee, MD, Paul E. Francis Distinguished Chair in Colorectal Surgery
  • Ashit Patel, MD, FACS, Chao Family Distinguished Professor in Plastic Surgery
  • Brian Valerian, MD, Susan Droege Distinguished Chair in Surgery

The highest honor bestowed on a faculty physician, endowed Chair and Professor positions are supported through the investment of a designated financial gift. Endowed titles carry considerable prestige and commitment to the recipient’s field of study by providing a permanent, stable source of departmental funding.

Paul E. Francis first encountered Dr. Lee during what he calls his “great medical adventure” of 2012, when he went into septic shock and was hospitalized at Albany Med for two weeks. He credits Dr. Lee and the team at Albany Med with saving his life, and thanked Dr. Lee for the compassion he showed toward his wife and children while he was in a coma. “Dr. Lee is one of the finest people I’ve ever met,” he said.

Jerome Chao, MD, FACS, a former chief of Plastic Surgery at Albany Med and the founder of Chao Plastic Surgery in Latham, explained that his gift is a way to thank the Albany Med family for taking a chance on him when he was a young surgeon, and to thank his parents, wife and children for their support throughout his career. His generosity will allow Dr. Patel to continue to strengthen the Division’s teaching, research, clinical services and recruitment efforts.

Susan Droege felt an instant connection with Dr. Valerian when they met in 2005, and he has managed her colorectal care since. She explained that Dr. Valerian’s “kind, generous nature” inspired her to look for a way to ensure that he’s able to continue to share his personal, educational and surgical gifts with patients, fellows, students and the entire community. “I stand before you today to say that he has truly made a difference in our lives,” she concluded.

KMarie King, MD, Chief of Surgery and the Henry and Sally Schaffer Chair of the Department of Surgery, noted that there are now 12 endowed chairs and professorships among Albany Med’s Department of Surgery faculty. “We are so proud to see our dedicated physicians’ clinical skills, compassion and unwavering commitment to the community recognized through these prestigious appointments,” she said.