Summer 2018

Surgery Star Stepping Down

Tufts Medical Center surgeon-in-chief Bill Mackey will stay on until his successor is chosen.

By Laura Ferguson

Bill Mackey, a nationally recognized expert on carotid disease, has announced his retirement as surgeon-in-chief at Tufts Medical Center and Benjamin Andrews Chair of Surgery at the School of Medicine, positions he held for seventeen years. He will stay on until his successor is chosen.

An Atlanta native and a Duke University School of Medicine alum, Mackey came to Tufts Medical Center in 1982, attracted by its vascular training program—one of the first accredited programs in the country. He was named assistant professor at the School of Medicine in 1984 and a professor of surgery in 1999. Triple board-certified in general surgery, vascular surgery, and surgical critical care, he is a past president of the New England Society of Vascular Surgery and the Boston Surgical Society, and also served on the editorial board of the Journal of Vascular Surgery for a decade.

As director of the surgical residency program, which he helped create, Mackey inspired future surgeons. Cited repeatedly for excellence in teaching, he received the 2014 Dean’s Outstanding Mentor Award and the Distinguished Career in Teaching Award from the Class of 2018. “When you start out, you focus on becoming a confident and trusted surgeon; it’s a long and arduous learning curve,” Mackey said. “But as you mature, you become more comfortable with teaching and you want to pass along skills.”

Growing interest in surgery and surgical specialties among Tufts students, he added, speaks to a supportive culture at the School of Medicine. “We pay a lot of attention to each individual, and that sets us apart,” Mackey said. “Surgery can be very difficult—it has real highs and real lows—so you need to be in a supportive environment where you can learn without being afraid.”

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