Ralph Ger, MD, FRCCS, FACS

Honored Member Award 1991

R. Benton Adkins, Jr. Distinguished Service Award - 2007

Ralph Ger was born in South Africa in 1921. He graduated M.B.Ch.B. from the University of Cape Town Medical School in 1942, and served as a medical officer during the Second World War. Following the war, he traveled to Britain for surgical training, and obtained the F.R.C.S. (England) and F.R.C.S. (Scotland) in 1953. Returning to South Africa, he held surgery positions at the University of Cape Town and its several hospitals. After falling into political disfavor with the apartheid regime, and losing these appointments, Ralph emigrated to the United States, to join the surgery faculty of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1966, becoming Professor of Surgery in 1973, a post he held for over a decade. Later he became Professor of Surgery at SUNY Stony Brook, Chair of Surgery at Winthrop University Hospital, and Associate Chair of Surgery at Nassau County Medical Center.

His long-standing interest in clinical anatomy had begun while a student demonstrator during the undergraduate anatomy course at medical school, and resulted in the positions of a Lectureship in Surgical Anatomy at the University of Cape Town, and an Examinership in Anatomy for the F.C.S. (South Africa). Beginning in 1969, Ralph began an unbroken period of service in the Department of Anatomy at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, first as Professor, then later as Visiting Professor. As a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, he became aware of the growing concerns the Royal College had about the status and future of anatomy. These concerns led to the establishment of the British Association of Clinical Anatomists (BACA). After attending a BACA meeting in 1982, Ralph and 16 additional like-minded anatomists and surgeons, met in New York City in 1983, to begin the creation on the American Association of Clinical Anatomists (AACA). A Founding Member and officer of the AACA, Ralph was elected a Councilor at this first organizational meeting. At the AACA’s first Annual Meeting the following year, he was chosen President-Elect, then serving as President from 1985-87. It was during this period that Ralph was actively involved in the discussions which led to the creation of the AACA’s official journal CLINICAL ANATOMY, for which he served as its first co-editor from 1988-91. He was chosen the AACA’s Honored Member in 1991. His untiring support of the AACA, especially student-involvement in the Association, made him a perfect candidate for the R. Benton Adkins Distinguished Service Award.

Ralph has received numerous awards from his faculty colleagues, surgical residents, and medical students at both Albert Einstein and SUNY Stony Brook. He was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha at Albert Einstein in 1984, and he holds membership in over a dozen surgical and anatomical societies both in the United States and abroad. Ralph’s strong anatomical commitment supported his main clinical interests in clinical surgery and operative technique. He has had particular involvements in the study and use of muscle and myocutaneous flaps in general surgery, the broad field of treatment of hernias, colonic surgery, and early clinical work with lasers.