Benjy F. Brooks, MD Outstanding Clinical Faculty Award: Thaddeus Puzio, MD, FACS

By Roman Petrowski, Office of Communications

Dr. Thaddeus Puzio - Benjy Brooks Clinical Faculty Award Award

Thaddeus Puzio, MD, FACS (left) is the 2023 winner of the Benjy F. Brooks, MD Outstanding Clinical Faculty Award. (Photo by Dwight Andrews/Office of Communications)

Thaddeus Puzio, MD, FACS, assistant professor in the Department of Surgery, is the 2023 winner of the Benjy F. Brooks, MD, Outstanding Clinical Faculty Award.

“I was truly surprised and felt honored to win this award,” Puzio said. “Life is all about paying things forward. I am truly thankful to have reached a point in life where I can share the knowledge that others have passed to me along the way.”

Established in 1991 by the Alumni Association, the Benjy Brooks Award is presented by the McGovern’s Student Surgical Association to recognize individuals who, “complement and enhance the education program by serving as role models for students.” It is named in honor of Dr. Benjy Brooks, the first board-certified woman pediatric surgeon in the United States, who joined McGovern Medical School’s faculty in 1973 and remained active in the life of the Medical School until her death in 1998.

Medical students may nominate faculty or residents for the award.

Puzio said that he has too many mentors to name, but that the Department of Surgery is full of great teachers.

“I fell that teaching is probably the most important aspect of academic medicine,” Puzio said. “If you take that way, we lose the next generation of physicians. So, for me, I focus on teaching, especially at the bedside, as much as I do clinical care provided to the patients.”

Puzio received his medical degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in 2013. He completed his residency in general surgery at the University of North Carolina in 2018 before fellowship in surgical critical care at Indiana University in 2019 and traumatology at McGovern Medical School in 2020.

Puzio thanked his wife and kids who support, encourage, and motivate him, as well as Lillian Kao, MD, who he says “gave me an opportunity to work at this great institution,” and his partners who “help make our trauma center the best in the nation.”

Former recipients of the Benjy F. Brooks Teaching Award include  Walter M. Kirkendall, MD, 1991; William S. Fields, MD, 1992; James T. Willerson, MD, 1994; Harold T. Pruessner, MD, 1995; Herbert L. DuPont, MD, 1997; Larry D. Scott, MD, 1998; Herbert L. Fred, MD, 1999; Becky L. McGraw-Wall, MD, 2000; Terry K. Satterwhite, MD, 2001; Cheves M. Smythe, MD, 2002; Ian Butler, MD, 2003; Francisco Fuentes, MD, 2004; Pedro Mancias, MD, 2009; Lisa Armitige, MD, PhD, 2010; Octavio Pinell, MD, 2011; Kyle Woerner, MD, 2013; Daniel Freet, MD, 2016; Tom C. Nguyen, MD, 2017; Sasha D. Adams, MD, 2018; David R. Hall, MD, 2019; Manish N. Shah, MD, FAANS, 2020; and Allison Speer, MD, FACS, 2021; and Ritha Belizaire, MD, 2022.