Hepatobiliary Hands of Hopkins

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This historical perspective documents the role that John L. Cameron played in advancing hepatobiliary research, education, and surgery at Johns Hopkins in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Summary of Background Data:

Dating back to William S. Halsted in the 19th century, leaders of the Department of Surgery at Johns Hopkins have been interested in hepatobiliary disease and surgery. John L. Cameron had broad hepato-pancreato-biliary (HPB) interests when he completed his surgical training. Over the next 3 decades, he focused on the pancreas. As a result, many faculty and trainee hepatobiliary careers were launched.


This perspective is based on 18 years of service as a surgical resident and faculty member at Johns Hopkins. An extensive literature search on the hepatobiliary publications of Halsted, Trimble, Blalock, Longmire, Zuidema, and Cameron was undertaken for this manuscript. Numerous hepatobiliary publications from Johns Hopkins from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s were also reviewed.


John L. Cameron's early biliary interests included stones, infections, malignancies, and strictures. He was innovative with respect to portal hypertension and Budd-Chiari surgery and supportive when liver transplantation emerged in the 1980s. Volume-outcome studies in the 1990s included hepatic and complex biliary surgery. He supported and encouraged studies of biliary lithotripsy, laparoscopic cholecystectomy, clinical pathways, hepatobiliary cysts, and gallstone pathogenesis.


Lessons learned by many who worked with John L. Cameron included the importance of mentorship, innovation, friendship, and collaboration. He taught leadership and change management by example. He fostered a multidisciplinary approach and encouraged randomized controlled trials.

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