John a. Moncrief Award Details

John A. Moncrief, known to his friends as Jack, was one of the founders of the American Burn Association and it’s third President. The son of an Army physician, he was born in Manilia, P.I. on July 22, 1924. He attended the Citadel and Cornell University as an undergraduate and received his medical degree from Emory University Medical School in 1948. He then entered the Army Medical Corps and interned at Brooke General Hospital. Between 1950 and 1954 he completed his training in surgery at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, with a year’s interruption to serve as Chief of General Surgery at the 8054 Mobile Surgical Hospital and the 10th Station Hospital in Korea. While at Barnes he initiated his long association with Dr. Carl A. Moyer, whom he credited with awakening his interest in both burns and surgical research.

His training completed, Dr. Moncrief spent a year as chief of General Surgery at Fort Sill Army Hospital. In 1955, he was assigned to the U.S. Army Surgical Research Unit, then commanded by Dr. Curtis Artz with whom he began a friendship that would persist and grow through the remainder of their lives. During this three year assignment he focused his clinical and investigative skills in wound management and, with Dr. Bruce MacMillian, carried out the first clinical studies of massive burn wound excision.

Dr. Moncrief returned to the Surgical Research Unit in 1961 to serve as it’s Commander and Director for the next seven years. His guidance was instrumental in the development of Sulfamylon burn cream and the demonstration of the clinical effectiveness of topical chemotherapy in preventing burn woundsepsis. Multidisciplinary research, already a characteristic of the Unit, flowered under his direction, and topics ranging from techniques of wound excision and the use of temporary biologic dressings to resuscitation and post burn hypermetabolism were explored. His enthusiasm for surgical research and burn care was contagious, and many surgeons assigned to the Unit, on returning home after completing their military service, developed burn units of their own.

Dr. Moncrief retired from the Army in 1968 and joined Dr. Artz at the Medical College of South Carolina as a Vice-Chairman of the Department of Surgery. In the ensuing eight years, despite failing health, he practiced in the development of the Burn Unit there and was active in a number of national organizations. He received the Harvey Stuart Allen Award for Trauma in that year, and gave the Scudder Trauma Oration for the American College of Surgeons in 1977. His death in 1977 brought to an untimely end a stellar career spanning a quarter century during which his efforts and those of a few like him transformed burn care from an onerous surgical duty to a dynamic and successful model of teamwork in the care of the injured.

The John A. Moncrief Award is presented to fire services for outstanding contribution in the area of burn prevention or burn care. The award can be for an individual or an organization.

The Moncrief Award was first presented in 1994. It is sponsored by the American Burn Association and carries an honorarium of $2 000 and an engraved medal.

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