Dr. Dennis Ashley Named School of Medicine’s Inaugural Will C. Sealy Endowed Chair of Surgery

Dr. Dennis Ashley

MACON – Mercer University today named Dennis Ashley, M.D., the inaugural Will C. Sealy Endowed Chair of Surgery in the School of Medicine (MUSM).

The chair recognizes internationally renowned former MUSM surgery chair and Navicent Health surgeon Will C. Sealy, M.D. Dr. Sealy was born in Roberta in 1912 and obtained undergraduate and medical degrees from Emory University and postgraduate training at Duke University. After serving in the United States Army Medical Corps during World War II, he returned to Duke, where he served on the faculty until 1982.

After a brief retirement, Dr. Sealy assumed the chair of surgery at MUSM and helped to revitalize the surgery department at Navicent Health. He is best known as “the father of arrhythmia surgery” for his work to map the electrical pathways of the heart and develop operations severing them to treat various arrhythmias.

“I had the honor of being a third-year student on MUSM’s first surgery rotation at Navicent, and Dr. Sealy was the chair,” said Jean Sumner, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine. “His skill as a surgeon was second only to his integrity and commitment to professionalism. He focused always on what was best for the patient and held everyone, including students, to the very highest standard. He was kind and thoughtful and respectful of all members of the healthcare team. He was an outstanding teacher and took great interest in students both personally and professionally. I always felt honored to have known him and to have worked under his guidance.”

Dr. Ashley serves as director of trauma and adult critical care at Navicent Health and a professor of surgery at MUSM. He practices in general surgery, surgical critical care and critical care medicine at Navicent Health.

“Dr. Dennis Ashley is the definition of physician leadership,” said Dr. Sumner. “He is an outstanding surgeon and  has served his patients, Mercer University School of Medicine and Navicent admirably. His commitment to improving care of the trauma patient and surgical care of all patients in this state has led to deserved national recognition. His unwavering drive toward excellence in patient care and medical education has made Georgia a safer, better place. He is truly a leader whose service we should emulate.”

Dr. Ashley earned his bachelor’s degree from Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, and M.D. from the University of Kentucky. He completed his general surgery residency at The Medical Center of Central Georgia and MUSM, followed by a trauma fellowship at Grady Hospital, Emory University School of Medicine, in Atlanta. His surgical critical care fellowship was completed at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Ashley is a member of numerous medical societies, including the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the Southern Surgical Association and the Society of University Surgeons. He is a member of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, where he serves as chair of the Information Technology Committee. He also serves as one of Georgia’s Governors for the American College of Surgeons, and is currently the chairman of the Georgia Trauma Care Network Commission.

About Mercer University School of Medicine (Macon, Savannah and Columbus)

Mercer University’s School of Medicine was established in 1982 to educate physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and health care needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. Today, more than 60 percent of graduates currently practice in the state of Georgia, and of those, more than 80 percent are practicing in rural or medically underserved areas of Georgia. Mercer medical students benefit from a problem-based medical education program that provides early patient care experiences. Such an academic environment fosters the early development of clinical problem-solving and instills in each student an awareness of the place of the basic medical sciences in medical practice. The School opened a full four-year campus in Savannah in 2008 at Memorial University Medical Center. In 2012, the School began offering clinical education for third- and fourth-year medical students in Columbus. Following their second year, students participate in core clinical clerkships at the School’s primary teaching hospitals: Medical Center, Navicent Health in Macon; Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah; and The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The School also offers master’s degrees in family therapy, preclinical sciences and biomedical sciences and a Ph.D. in rural health sciences.