Dr. James Anderson's 'enduring legacy' for his colleagues, patients and Wyoming
By Carol Solie, M.D. Oct 13, 2015
It’s my pleasure to announce Dr. James Anderson as the Wyoming Medical Center 2015 Physician of the Year. In nearly 35 years at Casper's community hospital, Dr. Anderson has made such a difference to medical care not only at Wyoming Medical Center, but throughout the state of Wyoming.
Dr. Anderson was born in Scottsbluff, Neb., and graduated from Natrona County High School in Casper. He got his bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming and completed his medical degree at the University of Colorado. He completed training in general and vascular surgery at the University of Washington and joined the medical staff at Wyoming Medical Center in 1981. Dr. Anderson is board certified in general and vascular surgery.
Dr. Anderson has made important contributions in the fields of vascular surgery, general surgery and trauma care. His outcomes in managing carotid vascular disease have been outstanding. Health Grades has recognized his work on several occasions with its most prestigious five-star designation.
He was instrumental in achieving American College of Surgeons Committee on trauma certification for Wyoming Medical Center. He was recognized by the American College of Surgeons in 2008. At the ACS annual meeting in 2008, Dr. Anderson received the meritorious achievement award for his work on trauma at the local, state and national levels. He was a member of the national ACS Committee on Trauma, the Wyoming Governor’s committee on Emergency Medical Services and helped pass state legislation systematizing the Wyoming’s response to trauma.
Dr. Anderson has been a teacher of many physicians. He was instrumental in getting Wyoming included in the WWAMI program. This program of regional medical education including Washington, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska and Montana has been recognized by the Association of American Medical Colleges with the Outstanding Community Service Award and has been identified as the nation's top primary-care, family medicine and rural medicine training school by U.S. News & World Report for the past 23 years. This program provides assistance to Wyoming natives seeking careers in medicine. He’s on the faculty at the University of Washington and the University of Wyoming serving as a clinical instructor in surgery and an assistant professor.
Dr. Anderson regularly teaches Advanced Trauma Life Support courses, which prepare physicians all over Wyoming to handle trauma. Even at very small hospitals, ED physicians need to be able to stabilize and safely transport trauma victims. ATLS brings them the skills to do this successfully. Dr. Anderson has also been committed in supporting the Frontiers of Medicine conference, serving in planning and leadership roles and is a favorite speaker. The Frontiers of Medicine event is the premier CME event in Wyoming and brings primary care docs from all over the state to Jackson Wyoming in February to showcase WMC’s resources and the expertise of the its physicians. He has also been a strong supporter of our multi-specialty cancer conference in which pathology, imaging, surgeons and oncologists collaborate planning the treatment of cancer patients.
Dr. Anderson teaches in the operating room. His team of scrub techs and nurses is proud of the work they do together. He also teaches many physicians who call on him for help with tough cases. One physician remarked to me that if you ever need help in the OR, he is the one to call. Not only are his surgical skills are respected by all, but his first response is always “I’ll be right there.”
Watch: Wyoming Medical Center OR staff pay tribute to Dr. Anderson with this humorous look at a day in the life of one of our busiest surgeons.
Dr. Anderson is one of our busiest physicians. When he goes on vacation, we have to send staff home early. Over the last 13 years for which I could pull records, Dr. Anderson has attended 8832 patients and performed 11,792 procedures. Now, he was practicing here for an additional 22 years before that time, so I think it’s safe to say he’s performed at least 25,000 surgical procedures at Wyoming Medical Center. When you add in the Surgical Center, it’s 32,000 surgical procedures in his career, and he’s not through yet.
Dr. Anderson has generously contributed his time to the Wyoming Medical Center Board of Directors serving for two separate nine year terms. He’s also served on the Wyoming Board of Medicine, the licensing and disciplinary body for physicians in the State of Wyoming, including being elected to the presidency of the Medical Board. Dr. Anderson has served the medical staff as leader of the Surgical Division and a member of the Medical Executive Committee. Jim has been instrumental in recruiting top notch physicians to Wyoming Medical Center.
It’s safe to say that Wyoming Medical Center would be a very different place without James Anderson. If we were to imagine a WMC without James Anderson, it might be a place without a trauma program, without the numerous physician specialties we have and without the statewide referral network that benefits the hospital and the people of Wyoming. We are profoundly grateful for the contribution he has made to our community. As a personal note, it was very impressive to me to review his body of work. Dr. Anderson, you have created an enduring legacy for your colleagues, your patients and the state of Wyoming.
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Carol Solie, M.D., is chief medical officer at Wyoming Medical Center. Prior to joining WMC in 2010, Dr. Solie practiced obstetrics and gynecology for 16 years and served as the vice president of medical affairs at Marion General Hospital.