SIU Surgeon Honored with Folse Endowed Chair


March 28, 2013

photos from the event

SIU Surgeon Honored with Folse Endowed Chair

Dr. John Mellinger, professor and chair of the division of general surgery, has been named the second recipient of the J. Roland Folse, M.D., Endowed Chair in Surgery at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Memorial Medical Center established the endowment in 2009 to honor Folse’s 29-year career as the first Department of Surgery Chairman for Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and his many extraordinary contributions to the field of surgical education. 

“An endowed chair is the highest honor that a university can bestow on a faculty member who has had a distinguished career in a particular field of study,” said Dr. J. Kevin Dorsey, SIU’s dean and provost. “Dr. Folse started the department and brought it to a level of international recognition, particularly in the area of surgical education. Dr. Mellinger continues that legacy with his interest in surgical education and teaching the next generation of surgeons.” Interest earned from the endowment will be used to further research and education in the area of surgery.

“Memorial Medical Center is honored to recognize the accomplishments of both Dr. Folse and Dr. Mellinger through our support of this endowed chair,” said Edgar J. Curtis, president and chief executive officer of Memorial Health System. “We are proud to partner with SIU School of Medicine to continue Dr. Folse’s legacy of serving the community as an exceptional clinician, researcher and educator for generations to come. 

“We are also very grateful for the opportunity to recognize Dr. Mellinger for the valued contributions in surgical education he has made during his remarkable career.”

Mellinger is currently the professor and chief of SIU’s division of general surgery and program director of the general surgery residents. Prior to joining the SIU faculty, he served as residency program director, chief of gastrointestinal surgery and director of the Surgical Skills Laboratory at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.            

Throughout his career, Mellinger has achieved the highest honors for academic and teaching excellence. He has received more than 30 teaching awards over the course of his career, including two national teaching awards, and frequently serves as visiting professor to medical schools throughout North America. He is recognized as a leader by his peers through his current service on the boards of the Association of Program Directors in Surgery, for which he currently serves as president-elect, and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, for which he currently co-chairs the Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery Committee. He has also served as academic dean for the Commission on Medical and Dental Education of the Christian Medical and Dental Association, a group which puts on continuing education conferences for health care workers in developing countries, and on the advisory council for the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons, a group that is developing surgical residency training programs in Africa.

Mellinger served a fellowship in surgical endoscopy at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Cleveland (1990). He completed his general surgery residency at Blodgett Memorial Medical Center/St. Mary’s Hospital/Michigan State University (1989). He earned his medical degree graduating with honors from Case Western University in Cleveland (1984). Mellinger served four years in the U.S. Air Force. Mellinger is board certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery. He is a member of numerous academic and professional organizations including the American College of Surgeons, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, Association for Surgical Education and Association of Program Directors in Surgery. 

Mellinger’s clinical practice interests include gastrointestinal endoscopy, including ERCP, gastrointestinal surgery and laparoscopic surgery. He has given over 160 presentations at regional, national, and international meetings, and co-authored more than 80 research publications and book chapters.

For 29 years, Folse was chair of the department of surgery and helped establish and recruit faculty for seven divisions of the department. He joined the faculty in 1971 and retired from the chairmanship in 2000. 

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The mission of SIU School of Medicine is to assist the citizens of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health-care needs through education, patient care, research and service to the community.


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