Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Endowed Professorships

The John Rhea Barton Professorship of Surgery

Created in 1877 through a bequest of Susan R. Barton, the widow of John Rhea Barton, MD, this Professorship was the first endowed chair in surgery in the U.S.and the first chair at the Perelman School of Medicine. It is traditionally occupied by the Chairman of the Department of Surgery.

John Rhea Barton, MD (1796–1871) graduated from the Perelman School of Medicine in 1818 and commenced his surgical career that same year as the appointed surgeon of the Almshouse of Philadelphia. Dr. Barton joined the Pennsylvania Hospital Surgical Staff in 1823 and worked under the renowned Philip Syng Physick, MD.

Dr. Barton’s work in the healing of joint injuries was noted throughout the medical community. He is credited with the development of the “Barton Bandage,” a figure-eight bandage to support an injured jaw, and the “bran dressing,” which aided in the treatment of leaking compound fractures. An article published by Dr. Barton on wrist injury led to the reference of a specific injury—the “Barton fracture.”

Current Chairholder:

The John Rhea Barton Professorship of Surgery is currently open.



Previous Chairholders

D. Hayes Agnew, MD 1877–1889 Isidore S. Ravdin, MD 1945–1959
John Ashhurst, Jr., MD 1889–1900 Jonathan E. Rhoads, MD 1959–1972
J. William White, MD 1900–1910 William T. Fitts, MD 1972–1975
Edward B. Martin, MD 1910–1918 Leonard D. Miller, MD 1975–1983
John Blair Deaver, MD 1918–1922 Clyde F. Barker, MD 1983–2001
Charles Harrison Frazier, MD 1922–1936 Larry R. Kaiser, MD, FACS 2001–2008
Eldridge Lyon Eliason, MD 1936–1945 Jeffrey A. Drebin, MD, PhD 2009–2017