Mark Katlic, M.D., M.M.M., FACS
Chairman, Department of Surgery, Director, Aging Surgeon Program
Sinai Hospital, a LifeBridge Health Hospital
From his days as a resident at Massachusetts General Hospital in the early 1980s to his current position as chairman of the Department of Surgery at Sinai Hospital and director of its Center for Geriatric Surgery, one theme has permeated Dr. Mark Katlic’s work.
“I am passionate about dispelling ageism, prejudice based upon chronologic age, by bringing objectivity to the subjects of older patients and older physicians,” he said.
His passion prompted Katlic to write seven books on the subject, with titles such as “Principles and Practice of Geriatric Surgery” and “Cardiothoracic Surgery in the Elderly.”
That passion also prompted him to lead the effort to establish the Center for Geriatric Surgery, which opened in 2012. The center, of which Katlic is director, has gained national and even international attention because, Katlic says, “no one else is really doing it.”
Katlic’s focus on older physicians led him to establish the Aging Surgeon Program at Sinai, a system for evaluating older surgeons to make sure they have the physical and cognitive faculties needed for their exacting work, in 2014.
“All human faculties deteriorate with age, and surgeons are not immune from that,” he said. “So the question is, at what point should surgeons stop operating.” The decision can be difficult, he said, and Sinai’s two-day evaluation provides an objective marker on which to base it.
Katlic’s passion for fair treatment of older patients and surgeons aside, he said his greatest satisfaction as a physician is ”caring for individual patients with cancer and other chest problems.”
He added: “I could not have done any of this without the support of my wife of greater than 45 years, Diane, who has been with me since before medical school, and my daughter, Katherine. Both have given up innumerable family events to see me rush to the hospital.”