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Leaders in Plastic Surgery: The Dingman-Grabb Era 1946–1986

Gingrass, Ruedi, M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: October 2018 - Volume 142 - Issue 4 - p 1102-1103
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000004823
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Disclosure:The author has no financial interest in the publication mentioned in this review.

As a service to our readers, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® reviews books, DVDs, practice management software, and electronic media items of educational interest to reconstructive and aesthetic surgeons. All items are copyrighted and available commercially. The Journal actively solicits information in digital format for review.

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Arun K. Gosain, M.D.

Review Editor

The achievements and contributions of Reed Dingman and Bill Grabb are well detailed in this engaging study by Bob Oneal, their resident and faculty member from 1966 on, and Lauralee Lutz, executive secretary of the section after 1968. This story goes well beyond dry biography, and the many personal anecdotes of former trainees and faculty bring Reed Dingman and Bill Grabb to life, making the book an entertaining read.

Respected and revered by his trainees, Reed Dingman was an inspiration for all. He was thoughtful in his dealings with them and listened to their ideas. His peers elected him president of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons and the Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation in addition to chairman of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Bill Grabb was a great academic, a thinker and stimulator who was very organized and productive. Both are role models for all in academia. Just a few of their many contributions are their three “bibles”: Surgery of Facial Fractures (1964), by Reed Dingman with Paul Natvig; Concise Guide to Clinical Practice (1968), edited by Bill Grabb with Jim Smith; and Skin Flaps (1975), edited by Bill Grabb with Bert Myers. Each was the authoritative book on its topic at the time.

Having earned both D.D.S. and M.D. degrees in the 1930s at the University of Michigan, Reed Dingman returned to the University of Michigan Dental School as an assistant professor and soon became one of the early pioneers of oral and maxillofacial surgery. After training in plastic surgery, he recognized the need for similar training in Ann Arbor and started a preceptorship program at a private hospital in 1948. This became a residency in 1957. Bill Grabb, one of the first residents to complete the program, stayed on at the University of Michigan. Because both Reed Dingman and Bill Grabb saw the need for the plastic surgery program to be involved with the university’s department of surgery, they started discussions with a new chief of surgery in 1960. It took 4 years of compromising with Otolaryngology and Oral Surgery before the Section of Plastic Surgery was created in 1964, with Reed Dingman as section head. In 1973, it became a “3 and 3” program, a forerunner of the integrated programs. When Reed Dingman retired as section head in 1975, Bill Grabb took over until his untimely death in 1982. Reed Dingman then came back as interim head for the next 2 years. The story of the program’s evolution should be of interest to all in academia. Those who appreciate the history of our specialty will enjoy the extensive chapter on clinical research, clinical procedures, and new techniques, which covers 40 years and provides an excellent review.

The epilogue describes the development of the section from 1986 to 2017. Under the leadership of David Smith, Bill Kuzon, and Paul Cederna, the faculty has been expanded, the number of residents increased, and the emphasis on research continued, with residents assigned to laboratory rotations. This harks back to the Reed Dingman and Bill Grabb days, when clinical and laboratory research was a large part of the program. It is a delight to know that in this day of emphasis on measuring faculty productivity in terms of income, research is still important at the University of Michigan.

Copyright © 2018 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons