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John Lemuel Cameron

John Lemuel Cameron


Cameron, the Alfred Blalock Distinguished Service Professor of Surgery and former director of the department of surgery at Johns Hopkins, was born in Howell, Michigan. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1958 and his medical degree from Johns Hopkins in 1962. After an internship in surgery at Johns Hopkins, Cameron served in the U.S. Army as a research surgeon at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research from 1963 to 1965. He then returned to Johns Hopkins to complete his surgical residency and fellowship.

Cameron joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins in 1971 and rose through the ranks of the department of surgery. In 1984, he was appointed surgeon-in-chief of the hospital and chairman of the department of surgery, positions he held for nineteen years. Cameron’s career has been distinguished by excellence as a surgeon, clinical investigator, and teacher.

An expert in alimentary tract diseases and pancreatic cancer, Cameron has contributed significantly to research of the pathophysiology and management of benign and malignant diseases of the pancreas. In 1978, he performed one of the world’s first pancreas transplants. In 1985, he developed a surgical technique involving placement of a shunt to allow patients with a potentially fatal liver disorder called Budd-Chiari syndrome to lead normal, active lives. Cameron is most often associated with the Whipple procedure, a pancreaticoduodenectomy devised by Allen O. Whipple of Columbia University in the 1930s. It is a complex operation used to treat a variety of pancreatic diseases including pancreatic cancer. Cameron has performed over 2,000 Whipple operations, refining and perfecting aspects of this procedure over the years. He has worked steadily and successfully to lower the mortality rate from the procedure to less than two percent. Moreover, he has collaborated extensively throughout his career with pathologists, geneticists, and oncologists to further research into the origins and treatment of pancreatic cancer. In 2009, he was a recipient of the Hope Funds Awards of Excellence in cancer research.

Committed to teaching, Cameron has trained a body of leading surgeons. Fifteen of his trainees have become directors of surgical programs at major medical institutions. At Johns Hopkins he has built a highly expert team of pancreatic surgeons.

Cameron has published over three hundred articles and ninety book chapters. He has served as the editor of nine books and various journals, including Advances in Surgery.

He has been a major leader in professional organizations, serving as president of the American College of Surgeons; Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract; Southern Surgical Association; Society of Clinical Surgery; Society of Surgical Chairmen; the American Surgical Association; and the Halsted Society.

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