Dr. David Smith to lead newly established Department of Plastic Surgery

The USF Health Morsani College of Medicine’s (MCOM) Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery has become a freestanding Department of Plastic Surgery – a transition approved by the USF System Faculty Senate and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. David J. Smith, Jr., MD, who worked with faculty and leadership to determine the feasibility of granting departmental status to the Division of Plastic Surgery, has accepted the role as founding chair of the new Department of Plastic Surgery.

“The recognition of plastic surgery as an independent multidisciplinary specialty is not only a national trend — it will also support our college’s long-term strategic growth,” said Charles J. Lockwood, MD, senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine. “As our first chair of the Morsani College of Medicine’s Department of Plastic Surgery, Dr. Smith will oversee operational and financial performance, and foster the department’s excellence in education and training, translational research, and clinical care.”

David J. Smith, Jr., MD

Dr. Smith will also work closely with Paul Kuo, MD, new chair of the Department of Surgery, to ensure that the overall surgery department continues to advance in all academic mission areas.

“I look forward to helping recruit the best and brightest faculty and trainees and working with other surgical and medical specialties to grow our new department and expand its services,” Dr. Smith said.

Dr. Smith joined USF’s medical college in 2004 as a professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery, a division he would go on to direct.  Since 2015, while maintaining a demanding surgical practice, he oversaw and managed USF Health’s Office of Continuing Professional Development and served as chief medical officer and then chief executive officer of the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation.  In August 2017, Dr. Smith stepped out of these roles to dedicate all his efforts to exploring the feasibility of creating a Department of Plastic Surgery.

Under Dr. Smith’s division leadership, plastic surgery faculty performed over 3,000 operative cases and saw more than 8,000 outpatients in fiscal year 2017.  USF’s accredited, integrated plastic surgery residency has been approved for an additional slot effective July 2018, which will increase the six-year program’s total number of trainees to 24 (four residents each year). In addition, plastic surgery faculty and residents conduct bench-to-bedside clinical trials for the treatment of burn and scar wounds, flaps, and hand reconstruction. They currently participate in 11 active clinical trials sponsored by national and international organizations such as the American Burn Association, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

After receiving his MD from Indiana University School of Medicine, Dr. Smith completed a residency in general surgery at Emory University and another in plastic surgery at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis.  He conducted a Kleinert Fellowship in hand surgery in Louisville, Ky.

Dr. Smith has been recognized nationally and internationally for research on the pathophysiology of wounds, particularly in relation to burn injury.  He is also a leader in plastic surgery education who has made major contributions to the educational process, including credentialing and certification.