Presidents From Florida of National Organizations
Louis Mcdonald Orr, M.D. | Victor A. Politano, M.D. | Robert Dixon Walker III, M.D.
Louis McDonald Orr, M.D.
President — American Medical Association, 1959
by Ernest Costantino, Jr., M.D.
Dr. Louis McDonald Orr, a urologist from Orlando, Florida, was the 113th President of the American Medical Association. Fifty-nine years old at the time, Dr. Orr had built a distinguished record of service to the public, to the medical profession, and to his country. He was elected a vice speaker of the AMA’s House of Delegates in June 1955 and served until June 1958, when he became President — Elect of the AMA. Dr. Orr was a delegate from the Florida Medical Association to the AMA from 1948 through 1958. He was a founder of the Southeast Branch (which later became the Southeast Section) of the AUA and was Secretary-Treasurer from 1938-1941. He was President of the Southeastern Section of the ADA from 1942-1943. Three of Dr. Orr’s office associates, Dr. Russell Carson, Dr. Jim Campbell, and Dr Miles Thomley, also became presidents of the SESAUA. Dr. Orr became President of the American Medical Association from 1959 to 1960. The Chair of Urology at Emory University in Atlanta was established in memory of Louis M. Orr, an alumnus of the university, after Dr. Orr’s death in 1961, following his term of office as President of the AMA.
Dr. Orr was a strong opponent of governmental control of medicine. He emphasized that the greatest danger from government regulation was, not the cost in dollars and cents, but the loss in the quality of care rendered to patients, and the loss of the personal relationship between doctor and patient.
A veteran of two World Wars, Dr. Orr was drafted into service in World War I, while a student at Emory College at Oxford, Georgia. During World War II Dr. Orr again entered service in July 1942 and rose from major to colonel in the Army Medical Corps. He was executive, and later, commanding officer of the 15th Hospital Center, European Theater of Operations from 1943 to 1945.Dr. Orr’s public service included serving as trustee of Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, from 1937 to 1951. For seventeen years he was President of the Central Florida Civic Music Association. In 1938 he and his wife, Mrs. Dorothy Brown Orr, provided the financial assistance, which made possible the establishment of the fourth blood bank in America and the first blood bank service in Florida. The Louis M. Orr Foundation for Cancer Research stablished a radio isotope program in Orange Memorial Hospital, Orlando, Florida.
(Note: For more on Dr. Orr see Section II.)
Victor A. Politano, M.D.¹
President — American Urological Association, 1984
President — Society For Pediatric Urology, 1979 – 1981
by Rafael Gosalbez, M.D.
Victor A. Politano was born in Marion, Pennsylvania, in 1919. After completing his undergraduate studies at Marshall University in West Virginia, he obtained his medical degree from Duke University. During World War II Lieutenant Commander Politano served three years in the United States Navy, spending the final year of the war in the Pacific theater. In 1953 Dr. Politano completed his residency in urology at Duke University and then began a fellowship in urology with Dr. Wyland Leadbetter at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital. While at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Politano’s contributions to the treatment of vesicoureteral reflux became one of the pillars of the development of pediatric urology as the subspecialty we know today.
It is quite remarkable that the Politano-Leadbetter technique for the correction of vesicoureteral reflux-is still, almost forty years later, the most widely used of all other techniques in the United States and abroad. While there have been multiple modifications, the basic principle of re-creating a submucosal tunnel has remained unchanged.
Dr. Politano became the second full time Professor and Chairman of the Department of Urology at the University of Miami, School of Medicine in 1962. Currently Chairman Emeritus, he built and chaired the Department of Urological Surgery at the University of Miami until 1991. The Victor A. Politano, Endowed Chair in Urology was established in 1982 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Miami. In 1995 his lifetime work on behalf of the university was rewarded with the exclusive Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award.
An innovator and outstanding reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Politano has also made significant contributions to the field of reconstructive urology, including the development of surgical techniques for ureteral imbrication, the ileal sleeve for severely dilated ureters, and many others.
Dr. Politano is a visionary and he epitomizes the complete urologist. His contributions to the treatment of urinary incontinence with periurethral injection of polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon) in adults and periureteral injections to correct secondary reflux, created the foundation for collagen injections in children today. Dr. Politano began his work in this area in 1964.
Dr. Politano has contributed more than 160 publications to the urological literature. He has held many offices, including the presidency of the Society for Pediatric Urology from 1979 to 1981, culminating as President of the American Urological Association in 1984, an achievement no other recipient of the Pediatric Urology Medal may claim. (Dr. Politano was awarded the Pediatric Urology Medal in 1995.) In 1997 he became President of the Clinical Society of Genitourinary Surgeons.
He has traveled the five continents as visiting professor and guest lecturer, inspiring others in the quest to find solutions to urological problems in children and adults alike.
The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Dr. Politano’s achievements have been recognized, not only by his peers but also by presidents of foreign countries, where he has contributed to the development of urology through lectures, seminars, and the training of numerous foreign graduates, who later returned to their countries. It is hard to think of another individual who has contributed more to the development of urology, in general, and Pediatric Urology, in particular, in South America. Of proud Italian descent, he has maintained particularly close ties with Italy where he was awarded the Tetradramma d’Oro in 1982 (Award of Merit given to outstanding foreign citizens of Italian descent.), and selected as Man of the Year by the Italian Foundation in 1983.
The consummate clinician and educator, in his seventh decade Dr. Politano continues to work regularly to the delight of his patients who 40 and 50 at a time continue to fill the waiting room of the university clinic in Miami.
The axiom that behind every great man is a great woman stands true once again. His lovely wife, Aida, always behind him, is a constant source of support and inspiration.
(Note: For more on Dr. Politano see Section III, University of Miami.)
Robert Dixon Walker III, M.D.
President — Society For Pediatric Urology, 1986 – 1987
by Ernest Costantino, Jr., M.D.
Dr. R. Dixon Walker Ill’s distinguished career in pediatric urology began at the University of Miami, School of Medicine, where he was a medical student and met Dr. Victor Politano. In 1968 he completed his urology residency at the University of Florida Shands Teaching Hospital and Clinics, Gainesville, Florida. After training he began active duty in the U.S. Navy as a medical officer at the United States Naval Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee. He also found time to be an instructor in urology at the University of Tennessee, College of Medicine.
In 1970 Dr. Dixon joined the faculty at the University of Florida, College Medicine, Division of Urology in Gainesville as an assistant professor of surgery. In 1973 he began postgraduate training with Mr. D. Innes Williams at the Hospital for Sick Children, in London, England. In 1974 he returned to the University of Florida as an associate professor of pediatrics, and after two years became Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics. He rapidly developed what has become one of the premier pediatric urology services in the nation. Dr. Dixon served as Chief of Staff, University of Florida, Shands Teaching Hospital and Clinics from 1975 to 1976.
Dr. Dixon has written numerous articles. His writings include chapters in 29 books and participation in 112 papers on medical topics. His outstanding abilities were recognized by appointments as editor of many publications including as, Editor of Pediatric Urology, Journal of Urology, from 1992 to the present, 1997.
Dr. Dixon was elected president or chairman of numerous organizations and committees including, committees of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Board of Urology, Society for Pediatric Urology, and the American College of Surgeons. He was President of the Florida Urological Society, 1990 to 1991 and Governor of the American College of Surgeons, 1991 to 1995. In 1986 he became president of the Society of Pediatric Surgery.
Dr. Walker finds time for voluntary services outside the field of urology. He was a member and, then, Chairman of the College of Medicine Admissions Committee, member of the University Senate, member and President of the Faculty Council, and Medical Director of the Children’ Medical Service, 1980 to present, 1997.
¹From the original presentation article:
Gosalbez, Rafael, “Pediatric Urology Medal — Victor A. Politano,” Journal of Urology, Vol. 156, p. 811, August 1996.