Oct. 27, 2009 | Being a highly skilled surgeon, a brilliant researcher and the consummate educator makes John B. Cone, M.D., a true “triple threat” and Arkansas’ “go-to guy” for complex general surgery.
That’s according to Ronald Robertson, M.D., professor in the UAMS Department of Surgery and one of many protégés of Cone’s, who honored Cone with the first chair in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Department of Surgery.
The ceremony honoring Cone, known as a pioneer in working toward establishing the state’s first trauma system, was held in front of a crowded room of family and friends Oct. 21 at the Fred Smith Auditorium at the UAMS Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute. He was presented with the Norma and Nolie Mumey, M.D., Chair in Surgery.
“Today is an incredibly important and significant day in the history of UAMS,” said Richard Turnage, M.D., professor and chairman in the UAMS Department of Surgery. “There is no better person to be honored with the fist chair imbedded in the Department of Surgery than John Cone.”
Cone earned his medical degree from UAMS in 1977 and completed a residency in general surgery from 1977 – 1982. His career at UAMS began in the early 1980s as an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery. He joined the UAMS Department of Pediatrics in 1988 and the Department of Anesthesiology in 1985. Cone was promoted to professor of surgery and associate professor of pediatrics in 1996.
Cone’s administrative roles at UAMS include serving as director of the UAMS Trauma Service, chief of the Division of General Surgery and medical director of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. He helped to draft and get passed the Arkansas Trauma Systems Act and chaired the Trauma Systems Advisory Council to assist in the development of a statewide trauma system, of which he was also selected as medical director.
“When John Cone speaks, the Department of Surgery listens,” said Kent Westbrook, M.D., distinguished professor in the Department of Surgery. “When someone looks at John Cone and asks his opinion or for advice, what they’re really saying is, ‘What’s the right answer, John?”
The Norma and Nolie Mumey, M.D., Chair in Surgery was founded as the couple left a bequest to the College of Medicine that also supports student scholarships and the UAMS Historical Research Center. Mumey graduated from UAMS in 1916 and served as a surgeon in the U.S. Army during World War I. He established a practice in Denver in 1924 and held appointments at local hospitals and the University of Denver, and also lectured on medical history at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. As a flight surgeon in the Colorado National Guard, Mumey invented a portable depth perception and visual acuity box for testing pilots.
“This is a great honor that would not have been possible without the love, support and training I’ve received from many people who are here today,” Cone said. “Sharing this with family and colleagues is a tremendous pleasure and one that will not soon be forgotten.”
Cone has served as chief of the Division of General Surgery since 1990. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a member of several professional societies, including the American College of Surgeons, the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, the American College of Critical Care Medicine and the American Medical Association.
Cone’s research interests are the inflammatory response to injury and its regulation, metabolic regulation following injury and energy metabolism. His clinical interests are surgical infections, trauma, surgical complications, surgical care and burns.