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Gearhart Named Robert D. Jeffs Professor

December 02, 2010

  Jeffs Professor


Above: John Gearhart, M.D., second from left, with Alan W. Partin, M.D., Ph.D., and Johns Hopkins University President Ronald Daniels, J.D., at right, gathered before a portrait of Robert D. Jeffs, M.D., after the Dec. 1 ceremony.


Director of Pediatric Urology John P. Gearhart  is the inaugural recipient of The Robert D. Jeffs Professorship in Pediatric Urology. President of Johns Hopkins University Ronald Daniels officially accepted the new professorship for Johns Hopkins in a Dec. 1 ceremony at which Gearhart was installed as the new Robert D. Jeffs Professor of Pediatric Urology.  


"It's a tremendous honor," said Gearhart, who trained with Jeffs and succeeded him as director of pediatric urology in the James Buchannan Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins and at Hopkins Children’s. "He taught us the truth of science and that excellence was always expected and he lived what he preached." 


The founding chief of pediatric urology at Johns Hopkins and a trailblazing surgeon in his field, Robert Jeffs died in 2006.  


Like his predecessor, Gearhart is among the world's leading experts on urogenitial malformations in children, most notably those related to bladder and clocacal exstrophy. Today he heads a world-class Division of Pediatric Urology specializing in the reconstruction of these birth defects in children, including those who have undergone previously failed exstrophy closures elsewhere. In the summer of 2010, Gearhart and his colleagues performed their division’s 1,000 exstrophy surgery, employing the multistage technique that Jeffs developed and perfected in the 1970’s. 

"Bob (Jeffs) took a major birth defect which consigned children to a reclusive, dismal existence and devised a three-step technique to repair it, basically altering the lives of thousands of children throughout the world," said Gearhart. 


A 1975 graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Gearhart completed his internship and a residency at the Medical College of Georgia, where he also served as chief resident in urology. After a fellowship in pediatric urology at the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital at the University of Liverpool School of Medicine and service on the faculty of St. Mary’s Hospital in Huntington, W.Va., he joined the Brady Institute at Johns Hopkins in 1984 as a pediatric urology fellow and trained with Jeffs.  He succeeded Jeffs as professor and director of pediatric urology in 1996. His own mentees, former fellows at Johns Hopkins, include many current chiefs of pediatric urology in prestigious medical institutions across the nation and abroad. 


The Jeffs Professorship was endowed partially by a bequest from long-time Johns Hopkins supporter Zanvyl Krieger (A&S 1928), combined later with the  support of friends, grateful families and The Department of Urology at Johns Hopkins, led by Department Chair Alan Partin, M.D., Ph.D. 


“For a lifetime of work done superbly well, we are thrilled to honor Dr. Robert Jeffs,” said Daniels at the Dec. 1 installation. “And to Dr. John Gearhart, we offer our heartiest congratulations and profound thanks for leading us toward a future of limitless possibility.”  

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