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Department of Surgery

Julia A Freischlag, MD

Julie A. Freischlag, M.D., is the Vice Chancellor for Human Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine at UC Davis. She oversees UC Davis Health System’s academic, research and clinical programs, including the School of Medicine, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, the 1,000-member physician practice group, and UC Davis Medical Center, a 619-bed acute-care hospital. With nearly 10,000 employees, more than 815 students, an operating budget of more than $2 billion, $230 million in outside research funding and 860,000 outpatient visits each year, UC Davis Health System is a major contributor to the health care and economy of the Sacramento region and a center of biomedical discoveries that help advance health around the world.

Freischlag is one of the most prominent leaders among the nation’s academic health centers. For more than 15 years, she has led education and training programs at top medical schools in her role as professor and chair of surgery and vascular surgery departments. Freischlag has more than 30 years of experience leading patient-care services either as chief of surgery or vascular surgery at nationally ranked hospitals. Before joining UC Davis Health System, she served as professor, chair of the surgery department and surgeon-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. She led initiatives to expand research, add specialty clinical services, improve patient-centered care and patient safety, redesign the surgical training program and enhance academic career paths for faculty.

Her national leadership includes serving as a former governor and secretary of the Board of Governors and a regent and present chair of the Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons. She is the current president of the Society for Vascular Surgery and a past president of the Association of Veterans Administration Surgeons and the Society for Surgical chairs. Freischlag is the editor of JAMA Surgery and a member of the editorial boards of the Annals of Vascular SurgeryJournal of the American College of Surgeons, and British Journal of Surgery.

She has published more than 200 manuscripts, abstracts and book chapters, primarily addressing the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms, carotid artery disease and peripheral vascular disease utilizing outcome data and clinical trials. Freischlag is an internationally recognized expert in the treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome which can require a specialized surgical procedure to remove the first rib to alleviate compression of the nerves, veins or arteries of the upper extremity. Her present research involves a prospective randomized trial that tracks more than 800 patients from 34 Veteran’s Affairs Medical Centers across the country to compare outcomes in patients who received either open or endovascular repair of their abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Freischlag received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Illinois and a medical degree from Rush University Medical College in Chicago. She completed her surgical residency and post-residency vascular fellowship at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Freischlag has received numerous teaching awards, an achievement award from the Department of Veterans Affairs and several awards from her alma maters. Baltimore Magazine named her “Top Doctor” and Working Mother Magazine selected her as one of the “10 most powerful moms in health care.”

She has mentored students, residents and young faculty and is a frequent speaker on topics ranging from her expertise in vascular diseases, teamwork and patient safety, leadership and work-life balance to women succeeding in health professions. Freischlag has dedicated her career to serving as a role model for her students, a respected colleague across health professions, a strong community leader and a national voice for improving health and health care.


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