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School of Medicine discoveries

June 4, 2010

The day Lazar Greenfield was honored by the ACS

Former Stuart McGuire Professor and Chair of Surgery Lazar J. Greenfield, M.D., FACS, has been honored by the American College of Surgeons with its 16th Jacobson Innovation Award.

Greenfield, who led the surgery department for 13 years starting in 1974, was recognized for developing a device known as the Greenfield filter. Introduced the year before Greenfield arrived on the MCV Campus, the implantable device is designed to prevent blood clots from reaching the lungs, where they can be fatal.

“He did a great deal of work on the filter while here,” said the current Stuart McGuire Professor and Chair of Surgery James Neifeld, M.D. During his tenure as surgery chair, “Dr. Greenfield helped to establish the criteria for placement of the vena cava filter, worked to make placement of the filter safer and trained many surgeons — and surgeons to be! — on use of the filter.”

Neifeld, who earned his medical degree from VCU in 1972, remained on the MCV Campus and completed his residency training in Greenfield’s surgery department. He remembers Greenfield as a model chairman. “He listened, did not jump to conclusions but collected the appropriate information on which to make a decision, was genuinely interested in his residents and was a great role model. As a junior faculty member who advanced up the ladder while he was Chair of the Department of Surgery, [I found him to be] a wonderful mentor, who did his best to provide whatever was needed to help us advance to higher academic ranks. He became a good friend, and I was privileged to work with him again as a member of the Editorial Board of Surgery News, a publication of the American College of Surgeons.”

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Updated: 04/29/2016