William Silen, MD
William Silen, MD is the Johnson and Johnson Professor of Surgery, Emeritus, and was the first Dean for Faculty Development and Diversity at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Silen was a graduate of the University of California School of Medicine at San Francisco (’49). In 1966, he joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School as a professor of surgery and the Chair of the Department of Surgery at Beth Israel Hospital. Dr. Silen is known for his dedication to the training and careers of scores of trainees and faculty, particularly surgeons. Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Silen helped to shape the future of academic medicine by fostering multiple generations of talented trainees and faculty through mentorship to enable them to attain their full potential. Many of these individuals now hold senior leadership positions at academic health institutions throughout the United States and abroad, and are themselves carrying on the mentoring that they learned from Dr. Silen. Through his own work as a clinician, mentor, educator, researcher, and academician, Dr. Silen was an exemplar of excellence. He recognized the importance of mentoring in maximizing one’s potential in academic medicine, which at times included his role as a didactic instructor, a nurturer, a seeker of talent, an upholder of impeccable standards, a tough taskmaster when necessary, a compassionate listener, a dedicated and patient teacher, and a friend.