Perpetuating the Legacy of Excellence of Past Chairman


STONY BROOK, NY, August 19, 2015 — The campaign to establish the John J. Ricotta Professorship in Surgery has officially been launched. This professorship, once funded, will be the first endowed professorship in our department. It will enable us to expand our faculty with a distinguished appointment, and to further our mission of excellence in patient care, education, and research.


The decision to honor John J. Ricotta, MD, professor emeritus of surgery, was based on his distinguished leadership during his tenure here as chairman from 1997 to 2008.

Dr. Ricotta was a dynamic leader at Stony Brook Medicine (known then as Stony Brook University Medical Center). He earned the respect and admiration of all who encountered him. He was not only a great surgeon and physician-scientist, but a great teacher and gentleman. In short, he was for us a model of excellence.

"During the course of his career, Dr. Ricotta has participated in the education of hundreds of medical students, surgical residents, and vascular surgery fellows," says Mark A. Talamini, MD, professor and chairman of surgery. "In addition, he has recruited and helped mentor dozens of faculty members across multiple institutions. His involvement in the professional and personal development of physicians and surgeons remains the highlight of his academic career."

As our department’s leader, Dr. Ricotta hired over 50 full-time faculty members to build and expand the department, including several of our current leaders who continue to distinguish the department’s clinical and academic excellence:

  • Roberto Bergamaschi, MD, PhD, chief of colon and rectal surgery, and leader of Stony Brook Cancer Center's colorectal oncology team;
  • Marvin L. Corman, MD, editor of Corman’s Colon and Rectal Surgery now in its 6th edition ("the gold standard in its discipline," JAMA), and first director of our colon and rectal surgery fellowship program;
  • Alexander B. Dagum, MD, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery, and executive vice chair of surgery;
  • Allison J. McLarty, MD, director of our ventricular assist device program, and associate director of our general surgery residency program;
  • Ghassan J. Samara, MD, leader of Stony Brook Cancer Center's head and neck, thyroid oncology team;
  • Steven Sandoval, MD, medical director of the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center at Stony Brook Medicine;
  • David A. Schessel, MD, PhD, chief of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery;
  • Marc J. Shapiro, MD, director of our surgical critical care fellowship program;
  • Richard J. Scriven, MD, director of our general surgery residency program;
  • Apostolos K. Tassiopoulos, MD, chief of vascular and endovascular surgery, director of our vascular surgery residency program, and director of our Surgical Skills Center;
  • James A. Vosswinkel, MD, chief of trauma, emergency surgery, and surgical critical care, and medical director of Stony Brook Trauma Center.

Several of these physician-scientists are recognized as not only national leaders in their fields but international leaders. All are making surgery better.

Our endowment goal for the professorship is $750K — and we can do it!

About Dr. Ricotta, Dr. Tassiopoulos says: "John is a visionary in medical education. He was instrumental in Stony Brook's becoming one of the first six institutions in the country to adopt an integrated 5-year vascular surgery residency. This training paradigm is now the accepted practice nationwide."

Indeed, Dr. Ricotta has dedicated his professional career to the education and training of surgeons and to advancing the care of patients with vascular disease.

A native of Buffalo, NY, Dr. Ricotta was educated as an undergraduate at Yale University. He earned his medical degree and completed a surgical residency at Johns Hopkins University. Following his surgical residency, he completed a research fellowship in vascular surgery at Walter Reed, and was a registrar in thoracic surgery at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, England.

All told, Dr. Ricotta spent 20 years as a professor of surgery at the State University of New York. He returned to Buffalo, NY, as professor of surgery at SUNY-Buffalo in 1988 where he was chief of surgery at Millard Fillmore Hospitals, founded the department’s Division of Vascular Surgery, and established a vascular surgery training program.

Dr. Ricotta moved to Stony Brook in 1997 to serve as chairman of our department. During his time with us, he strengthened the clinical and academic performance of the department. He worked with the faculty to revamp all our educational programs.

As an academic surgeon, Dr. Ricotta has authored more than 250 articles and book chapters in all areas of vascular disease, and has lectured all over the world on all aspects of vascular care.

Currently, Dr. Ricotta is practicing as a vascular surgeon in Washington, DC, where he is chairman emeritus of the Department of Surgery at Washington Hospital Center and professor of surgery at both Georgetown University and George Washington University. In addition, he is a senior director of the American Board of Surgery.

Other leadership roles in which Dr. Ricotta has performed during his career include serving as president of the Western New York Vascular Society, the Eastern Vascular Society, and the Society of Clinical Vascular Surgery; as secretary of the Society for Vascular Surgery; and as chairman of the Vascular Surgery Board of the American Board of Surgery.

For more information and/or to make a donation (tax deductible), please call us at Stony Brook Medicine's Advancement Office at 631-444-2899.