A true institutional treasure, Dr. Stanley R. Mandel served the School of Medicine and UNC Hospitals as a gifted surgeon, educator and administrator over a span of 44 years before retiring, for the second time, in 2013. He founded the organ transplantation program, served as the hospital’s chief of staff and orchestrated a remarkable turnaround in the culture and standard of care in the operating rooms.
Dr. Mandel received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University and his medical degree from the University of Virginia. Following an internship and one year of residency at Duke University Medical Center, he returned to the University of Virginia, where he became chief resident in general surgery and then in thoracic-cardiovascular surgery.
Dr. Mandel joined the UNC faculty as assistant professor of surgery in 1970 and achieved the rank of professor in 1978. He performed the first renal transplant procedure at UNC and served as director of the organ transplantation program for 27 years.
In 1989, Dr. Mandel was named executive associate dean for clinical affairs of the School of Medicine and chief of staff of UNC Hospitals. He held both positions until 2002. He also served as medical director of Ambulatory Care and Operating Rooms at UNC Hospitals starting in 1994. He “retired” in 2002.
A former president of both the Carolina Organ Procurement Agency and the Southeastern Organ Procurement Foundation, he also served as president of the North Carolina Chapter of the American College of Surgeons in 1995.
From 1998 to 2005, Dr. Mandel was Global Medical Director for Teleflex Medical, a provider of devices used in surgery and critical care, in Research Triangle Park.
In 2005, he was persuaded to return to UNC in the newly created position of Medical Director of Operating Rooms. At that time, the operating rooms were “plagued with numerous problems…operational and organizational challenges,” according to Gary L. Park, president of UNC Hospitals. “Drawing on his many years of experience as a surgeon here, Dr. Mandel set a course of success in the operating rooms that continues to pay huge dividends today,” says Mr. Park. “He methodically approached every problem with data and a calm demeanor. His unapologetic focus on patient safety and quality has enabled UNC to achieve national recognition in many operative areas.”
“Stan held the hospital and medical staff accountable to the patients we have the privilege to serve,” Mr. Park continues. “He was clearly a patient advocate, and he would let the appropriate team members know when we failed to live up to the patients’ expectations.”
Richard H. Feins, MD, Professor of Surgery at UNC, credits Dr. Mandel with assembling and wisely leading a team that “quickly turned around the culture in the OR such that quality of care, excellence in education and professionalism in behavior became the norm.”
Susan Phillips, RN, vice president of perioperative services at UNC Hospitals, describes Dr. Mandel as “an innovative and quality improvement-focused leader, always keeping the patients’ wellbeing as his highest priority. He is a physician with heartfelt compassion and a teacher I value and respect greatly.”
David A. Zvara, professor and chair of anesthesiology, worked closely with Dr. Mandel after coming to UNC in 2008. “His deep sense of loyalty to the institution, his care for the patients and their families, and his sense of right and wrong were guiding beacons for me in how I approached my position and my interactions with others,” Dr. Zvara says. “He is a role model for all physicians.”
Mr. Park says of Dr. Mandel: “He is humble. He treats everyone with dignity and respect. He was relentless in his pursuit of excellence in the operative suite. He is honest, trustworthy and one of the hardest working individuals that I have had the privilege to work with. His loyalty and commitment to the University is unwavering.”
In recognition of his exceptional service to the School of Medicine, UNC Hospitals and the people of North Carolina, we are proud to present the Distinguished Faculty Award to Dr. Stanley R. Mandel.