UMC, UA Appoints U.S. Navy Veteran Dr. Peter Rhee Director of Trauma

Johnny Cruz
Sept. 27, 2007

Peter M. Rhee, MD, MPH, has been appointed medical director of Trauma and Critical Care and professor of surgery at the University of Arizona Department of Surgery.

Dr. Rhee, who once served as the designated surgeon on former President Clinton's China trip in 1998, will provide leadership and patient care for Tucson's only Level 1 Trauma Center at University Medical Center.

Dr. Rhee's previous experience involves some of the busiest trauma centers in the country, including Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC.

He recently served in the U.S. Navy as the director of the Navy Trauma Training Center at Los Angeles County-University of Southern California.

He holds academic appointments as professor of surgery and molecular cellular biology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Maryland, where he was director of the Trauma Readiness and Research Institute for Surgery, performing combat casualty care research; and at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.

On the battlefield, Dr. Rhee was one of the first trauma surgeons to be deployed to Camp Rhino, Afghanistan, and recently started the first surgical unit in Ramadi, Iraq.

The recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal, Dr. Rhee serves as a consultant to the Office of Naval Research, and the Marine Corps Commandants War Fighting Laboratory. Research interests include both basic science and clinical research in the areas of resuscitation, homeostasis, trauma training and monitoring devices. He has more than 140 publications in refereed journals and 10 book chapters.

He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and Critical Care Medicine and has gained national prominence from his committee work for major medical organizations.

Dr. Rhee earned his medical degree in 1987 from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine. He received a master's degree in Public Health - Health Services in 1995 from University of Washington, Seattle, and a Diploma in the Medical Care of Catastrophes in 1999 from the Society of Apothecaries of London, UK.

Dr. Rhee completed his surgical internship at Balboa Naval Hospital, San Diego, and residency in general surgery at the University of California Irvine Medical Center. He completed a fellowship in Trauma and Critical Care at Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington, Seattle.

"Dr. Rhee is not only an exceptional trauma surgeon, but a basic science and clinical researcher who will take the trauma program to a higher level by building a regional and national reputation in the field of critical care," says Rainer Gruessner, MD, chairman of the UA Department of Surgery. "He epitomizes the kind of leader we want for our department, residents, and students, and for the Southern Arizona community."





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