Courtney M. Townsend, Jr., MD, FACS, FRCSEd(hon), is a Professor of Surgery in the Department of Surgery at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). He holds the Robertson-Poth Distinguished Chair in General Surgery and has nearly five decades of experience in general surgery and surgical oncology.
After earning his undergraduate degree in History and English at the University of Texas at Austin in 1965, Dr. Townsend earned his medical degree from UTMB in 1969. He remained at UTMB to complete his surgical internship (1970) and surgical residency (1974). He then completed a fellowship in surgical oncology at the University of California-Los Angeles in 1976.
Dr. Townsend joined UTMB in 1978 and soon after was elevated to several leadership positions. Most notably, he served as the John Woods Harris Distinguished Chairman in the Department of Surgery from 1995-2014.
Throughout his career, Dr. Townsend has served in a variety of respected positions in addition to his clinical and academic appointments at UTMB: President of the American College of Surgeons (2016-2017), American Surgical Association (2007-2008), Southern Surgical Association (2004), and American Pancreatic Association (1992-1993); Editor-in-Chief of the highly regarded Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice (Editions 16-21); Chairman of the American Board of Surgery (2006-2007) and American Surgical Association Foundation (2013-2014); and President-Elect of the Texas Surgical Society (2018-2019).
Additionally, Dr. Townsend has held numerous committee responsibilities at professional medical organizations/societies and several editorial positions at scientific journals: ACGME Residency Review Committee for Surgery (1994-1999); James IV Association of Surgeons, Inc., Board of Directors (1999-2002); Texas Cancer Council Member (1992-2010); Editorial Advisory Board Member for The American Journal of Surgery; and Deputy Editor for the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
Dr. Townsend has received many awards for his commitment and contributions to surgery, science, and medicine. These include the UTMB Academy of Master Clinicians Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award (2017); the Roberto Logrono, MD, Award for Professionalism in Medicine (2017); the Society of University Surgeons Lifetime Achievement Award (2017); being named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (2018); being named a UTMB Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus (1986); the Texas Cancer Council Award for Physician Achievement in Cancer Control (1990); the John P. McGovern Lifetime Achievement Award in Oslerian Medicine (2012); and being named a Founding Member of the Academy of Master Surgeon Educators of the American College of Surgeons (2018).
Dr. Townsend also has an extensive research and editorial portfolio. He has authored 368 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals, 125 book chapters in medical textbooks, and 375 published abstracts. He has also been the principal investigator on several NIH-funded grants totaling in over $30 million in research funding over his career.
Dr. Townsend has been described as the consummate surgeon-scientist, mentor, teacher, and colleague.
MD, University of Texas Medical Branch - Galveston, TX, 1969
Surgery, University of Texas Medical Branch - Galveston, TX, 1970
General Surgery, University of Texas Medical Branch - Galveston, TX, 1974