By Doug Boyd
ECU News Services
Dr. Walter Pories, a pioneering surgeon and researcher at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, is the recipient of the 2013 John P. McGovern Compleat Physician Award.
Pories is a pioneer in bariatric, or weight-loss, surgery, and his team at ECU discovered patients who had diabetes before the surgery showed no signs of it afterward. The surgical procedure Pories developed, called the Greenville gastric-bypass, excludes part of the large intestine from the digestive process. Researchers worldwide are now working to discover how the intestine causes the disease and how to stop the responsible molecules.
Pories came to ECU in 1977 to start the surgery department at the new medical school. He is also a military veteran, having served in the Air Force and Army.
Among other accomplishments, the award recognized Pories for his work in pediatric, thoracic and oncologic surgery, his research into zinc an essential nutrient for life in animals and humans, and conclusive results that the Greenville Gastric Bypass results in durable weight loss and causes a long-term remission of type 2 diabetes.
The John P. McGovern Compleat Physician Award, established in 1993, is presented annually by the Houston Academy of Medicine in collaboration with the Harris County Medical Society, to recognize a physician whose career has been founded on ideals championed by Sir William Osler, the "father of modern medicine": humane and ethical care, commitment to medical humanities and writing, research and harmony between the academician and medical practitioner.
McGovern, for whom the award is named and the recipient of the first award, founded the American Osler Society, dedicated to furthering Oslerian values. Other past recipients of the award include renowned heart surgeons Michael DeBakey and Denton Cooley of Texas.
Pories accepted the award Jan. 18 in Houston..