Anthony G. Charles, MD, MPH Honored with The Oliver R. Rowe Distinguished Professorship.
On Monday, May 13, 2019, Anthony Gbolahan Charles, MD, MPH, was honored with the Oliver R. Rowe Distinguished Professorship. The event, which took place at the Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill, was marked by speeches that touched upon the impact and history of the Professorship as well as comments that honored and recognized the late philanthropist Oliver R. Rowe and the remarkable career of Dr. Anthony Charles.
During the event, Cristy Page, MD, MPH, Executive Dean, UNC School Of Medicine, expounded on the value of a distinguished professorship and what it means to UNC Surgery, and to the individual to which it is bestowed. “A Distinguished Professorship,” she explains, “is one of the most prestigious awards that we can bestow on our faculty and a symbol of the value your colleagues have placed on your research and scholarship, teaching and service. It represents the importance of legacy for future generations and the accomplishments of the individual being celebrated, in this case, the very deserving Dr. Anthony Charles.”
Anthony Meyer, Chair Emeritus, UNC Department of Surgery, touched upon the history of the Oliver R. Rowe Distinguished Professorship of Surgery. It was established in 1976 to support the NC Jaycee Burn Center through a generous gift from the late Oliver Reagan Rowe. Mr. Rowe received a BS in engineering from UNC in 1925, graduating first in his class, and as a TarHeel he left behind a lasting impact. The Oliver R. Rowe Distinguished Professorship recognizes the late Mr. Rowe’s legacy of business leadership and philanthropy in North Carolina. The professorship established through his generosity helps recruit and retain world-class surgeon leaders and support advancement in the UNC Department of Surgery for generations to come.
The Rowe Distinguished Professorship recognizes Dr. Charles’s accomplishments as a remarkable surgeon, teacher, and leader in NC and around the world. Dr. Anthony Charles is Professor, Chief of the Division of General and Acute Care Surgery, Director of Adult ECMO, and Director of Global Surgery of the UNC Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases. Dr. Charles is recognized as an academic surgeon scientist passionate about global surgery research outcomes and clinical practices, as well as the advancement of the education mission of our institution through high quality learning experiences.
Dr. Charles joined UNC as a research fellow in June 2006 and the Department of Surgery as an Assistant Professor in August 2006. His interest in outcomes research led him to earn his MPH from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health in August 2008. In 2013, Dr. Charles became an Associate Professor with tenure, and in 2018, a Professor with tenure in the Department of Surgery. He was also recently named the Director of Global Surgery of the UNC Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases and inducted into the Order of the Golden Fleece, UNC’s oldest and highest honorary society.
Dr. Charles has been a Principal and Co-principal Investigator on numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health with a focus on trauma and burn injuries and health care disparities. He has 94 peer-reviewed publications in top tier journals, five book chapters, and 31 published abstracts to his credit.
In his role as Medical Student Clerkship Director, he has a direct impact in shaping the learning experience for the next generation of physicians. Dr. Charles has received numerous medical student and resident teaching awards, including the UNC School of Medicine Distinguished Medical Alumni Teaching Award.
In her remarks, Dr. Melina Kibbe, Chair of the Department of Surgery, spoke about Dr. Charles’ many accomplishments, not just as a general surgeon but in his multiple roles as an educator, mentor, researcher, husband, and father. She spoke at length about his journey to becoming a physician including the intertwined love story between he and his wife Celeste noting that, “this is not the path of an individual but one who is supported by many.”
During her speech, Dr. Kibbe referenced Dr. Trista Reid who had remarks about Dr. Charles. “Anthony Charles has been my mentor for over 12 years now, from when I was a medical student, a public health student, a general surgery resident, and now a faculty member. His infectious energy, passion for teaching, and ability to excel in all areas of academic surgery were pivotal in inspiring me to go into academic surgery. Whenever I have a question or concern he is always there for me, and I can’t thank him enough for all that he has done for me as a mentor and a friend!”
Dr. Charles concluded the evening with his own remarks thanking the many people in the room who came to support him and to celebrate this accomplishment with him. “My journey here has been a very interesting one. A lot of people have helped me get to where I am today. First I want to thank my wife and my children, their support has been pivotal to my success. When I finished my fellowship I had a private practice job lined up. One of my mentors recommended I try academic medicine first, so I moved to Carolina and I haven’t regretted a day since.”
He continued by thanking Dr. Anthony Meyer for recruiting him and to George F. Sheldon, MD, Chair Emeritus, UNC Department of Surgery for taking him on as a mentee. Dr. Charles joked about their weekly hour long mentor meetings and the sage advice Dr. Sheldon imparted to him. He finished his remarks by thanking Dr. Kibbe and Dr. Patti for continuing the UNC Surgery dedication to academia, scholarship and excellence.
Dr. Kibbe put it simply when she said, “Anthony – you are a true inspiration to all of us. We are fortunate to know you, and to work alongside you. While I did not have the pleasure of knowing him personally, I know that Dr. Sheldon would be extremely proud of you, as we all are.”
To see photos from the event click here.