Bigelow Medal Recipients

The 3rd Bigelow Medal was awarded to Dr. Rudolph Matas by Harvey Cushing, MD, the BSS President from 1919 – 1920.

The Boston Surgical Society has awarded 32 Bigelow medals, our highest honor for leadership and acclaim in Surgery.  On June 6, 1921, the inaugural recipient William J. Mayo, MD of Rochester, Minnesota delivered his address “In the Time of Henry Jacob Bigelow”.

Learn more of the first 29 Bigelow Medal Recipients at Chapter 3 of the BSS Red Book

Also, please enjoy this full Annals of Surgery publication by Past-President H. Brownell Wheeler upon the celebration of the Bigelow Medal history and its 1996 recipient David C. Sabiston, Jr, MD.

30th Medalist - William Silen, MD. Boston, Massachusetts


The 96th Annual Meeting was held on December 5, 2011.  President Robert C. Shamberger brought the meeting to order with 142 members and guests present.  A true highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the 30th Bigelow Medal to William Silen, MD, Chair, Emeritus of Surgery at the Beth Israel Hospital and the Johnson and Johnson Professor of Surgery, Emeritus at Harvard Medical School.  We heard of Dr. Silen’s endless example of excellence across a remarkable career in academic surgery and medicine. Revered as the epitome mentor, Dr. Silen would become the first Dean for Faculty Development and Diversity at HMS.  Surrounded by several of his trainees, Dr. Silen was honored with a standing ovation as fitting recognition of his enormous contributions to surgery in general, but also to Boston in particular.

31st Medalist - Murray Brennan, MD. New York, New York


On February 10, 2014, the BSS convened to welcome a true legend in surgery and cancer care, Murray F. Brennan, MD of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.  During his one-of-a-kind address entitled “Evolution of Cancer Care”, 112 members and guests heard Dr. Brennan chronicle decades of care for thousands of sarcoma patients, demonstrating how evidence-based changes in care realized over time have become today’s standards.  Further, he offered parallel lessons learned in the progress of surgical care for other types of cancer.  Of course, this led to a long and spirited discussion.  The highlight of the evening though was the presentation of the 31st Bigelow Medal to Dr. Brennan by President David Brooks on behalf of the Boston Surgical Society, and the standing ovation that followed.

32nd Medalist - Lenworth Jacobs, MD. Hartford, Connecticut


On November 6, 2017 the Society met to award the 32nd Bigelow Medal to Lenworth W. Jacobs, MD, FACS, of Hartford Connecticut.  97 members and guests of the Society were in attendance, including Commissioner William Evans of the Boston Police Department, Mr. James Hooley, Chief of Boston Emergency Medical Services, and Mr. Richard Serino, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health and former Deputy administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  Dr. Jacobs was honored for his long commitment to improved care of injured patients, and for his seminal work in organizing the Hartford Consensus, a group of healthcare professionals who came together after the tragic mass murders in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.   This panel was dedicated to the profoundly simple proposition that the earlier bleeding can be stopped, the more likely it is that a victim will survive.  Out of it arose the “Stop the Bleed” campaign sponsored by the American College of Surgeons.  This is an effort to teach first responders simple techniques to control hemorrhage in the field before help arrives.  Dr. Jacobs was the leader of this effort, and the wide dissemination of these techniques is already saving lives.

Please enjoy the 2017 Bigelow program