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David A. Gerber, MD, George F. Sheldon, MD Distinguished Professor of Surgery and Chief of Abdominal Transplant Surgery at UNC Surgery was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal by the United States Secretary of Defense. Congratulations to Dr. Gerber on this well-deserved honor.

“I am deeply moved and somewhat speechless to receive this tremendous honor,” says Dr. Gerber. “I have had the fortune of serving in the U.S. Air Force for almost 30 years and the last decade has been incredibly rewarding as I was assigned to the Uniformed Services University and Walter Reed National Medical Center. In this position, I was able to work closely with leadership in their Department of Surgery and provide a perspective that they have felt was valuable to their mission. Receiving the Defense Meritorious Service Medal has led me to a moment of introspection and reflection and leaves me humbled by those with whom I have worked.”

Below are the details of Dr. Gerber’s service and the letter accompanying the award, showcasing the dedication of Dr. Gerber as Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve.

“Colonel David A. Gerber, United States Air Force Reserve, distinguished himself by meritorious service as General and Transplant Surgeon, Department of Surgery, Uniformed Services University (USU), from March 2009 to April 2020.

During this period, he aided and supported the Chair of the Department of Surgery (DOS), USU in providing critical Renal Transplant Surgery to members of the Department of Defense (DoD). His efforts were focused on the necessary administrative requirements and on the regulatory body for Renal Transplantation. During this period, he assisted the Chief of the Transplant Service, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, by engaging with multiple organ procurement organizations located through the CONUS. He contributed directly to the success and growth of the transplant program. He served as a proponent of organ donation from military members. This work led directly to an increase in Renal Transplantation and health improvement for DoD members. He assisted in the transfer of the Transplantation Service from Walter Reed Army Medical Center to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC). He then aided in its transition to the Joint Service Transplant Program. Colonel Gerber also led the development of a valuable academic Liaison with his civilian institution, the University of North Carolina (UNC). This relationship was of particular value because of the large military population in North Carolina. He then established an integrated support network between WRNMMC and UNC, resulting in immense benefit to DoD members by providing highly coordinated care between WRNMMC and UNC.

Colonel Gerber is an invaluable member of the DOS. He taught multiple Advanced Trauma Life Support courses to matriculating military medical students, advanced degree nursing students, and other military medical professionals. Delivering this trauma education, he prepared military health professionals with the skills needed to save lives on the battlefield. He served as a valued surgical mentor to students interested in military surgical careers and as a resource for the USU Surgery Interest Group. At a more advanced level, he mentored surgical residents interested in Renal Transplantation. He participated in sophisticated surgical research, serving as a DOS representative on the WRNMMC-Vascularized Composite Allograft Board. This board was tasked with developing clinical algorithms for DoD members who would be potential candidates for vascularized allograft transplants such as entire hands. Developments in this area could lead to great improvements in the care of injured military members.

Colonel Gerber was a valued director contributor to the development and ongoing improvement in the DoDs Knowledge Skills and Abilities Program (KSA) for military surgeons. He assisted in the refinement of this effort. His contributions were of great value and have led to improvements in the assessment and treatment of skills of many military surgeons.

The distinctive accomplishments of Colonel Gerber culminated a distinguished career in the service of his country and reflect great credit upon himself, the United States Air Force Reserves, and the Department of Defense.”