Dr Rainer Gruessner

Dr Rainer Gruessner: A Highly Trained and Skilled Surgeon

Dr Rainer Gruessner

Dr Rainer Gruessner is a highly trained surgeon who attended medical school in Germany. Since completing his training he has been associated with medical programs at universities in Germany, Switzerland, and the United States. He was appointed Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine in 2007. In his leisure time, Gruessner is interested in American Indian and contemporary art.

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Dr. Rainer Gruessner: Publications and Manuscripts

Dr. Rainer Gruessner is an expert medical professional currently practicing within the realm of transplantation surgery. He is widely regarded as an innovative leader in his field and has been credited with numerous firsts in the surgical world.


His accomplishments include being involved in the first split pancreas transplant in 1988, he was the first to develop a standardized technique for living donor intestinal transplants in 1997, he was the first to perform a preemptive living donor liver transplant for oxalosis in 1998, he was the first to perform a laparoscopic living donor distal pancreatectomy and nephrectomy in 2000, and the first to perform a robot assisted total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplant in 2012.


Rainer Gruessner obtained his medical degree and his medical thesis (“summa cum laude”) from the Johannes Gutenberg University School of Medicine in Mainz, Germany, in 1983. He obtained his professorial thesis (“Habilitation”) from the Philipps University in Marburg, Germany, in 1991. Dr. Rainer Gruessner did his residency at the Johannes Gutenberg University before completing a 2-year fellowship in transplantation surgery at the University of Minnesota.


He also received additional clinical training in vascular and general surgery at Philipps University in Germany, and in living donor liver transplantation at Kyoto University in Japan. He is a member of the most prestigious surgical societies and has published over 600 manuscripts, abstracts and book chapters.


Rainer Gruessner is the editor of 2 standard textbooks on transplant surgery and has been an invited lecturer at over 100 institutions. He also serves on several boards of general and transplant surgery journals. He is widely regarded as one of the most innovative surgeons practicing today and his been credited with performing a number of firsts in the field.

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Dr. Rainer Gruessner: Numerous Professional Committees

Dr. Rainer Gruessner is a highly dedicated and expert medical professional serving as surgeon in the realm of transplantation. He is a trusted and accomplished surgeon, physician, and scientist devoted to helping patients with life-threatening diseases of the pancreas, liver and intestines. He is responsible for a number of firsts in the surgical world including being involved in the first split pancreas transplant in 1988, he was the first to develop a standardized technique for living donor intestinal transplants in 1997, he was the first to perform a preemptive living donor liver transplant for oxalosis in 1998, he was the first to perform a laparoscopic living donor distal pancreatectomy and nephrectomy in 2000, and the first to perform a robot assisted total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplant in 2012. Rainer Gruessner obtained his medical degree and his medical thesis (“summa cum laude”) from the Johannes Gutenberg University School of Medicine in Mainz, Germany, in 1983. He obtained his professorial thesis (“Habilitation”) from the Philipps University in Marburg, Germany, in 1991. Rainer Gruessner did his residency at the Johannes Gutenberg University before completing a 2-year fellowship in transplantation surgery at the University of Minnesota. He also received additional clinical training in vascular and general surgery at Philipps University in Germany, and in living donor liver transplantation at Kyoto University in Japan. He is a member of the most prestigious surgical societies and has published over 600 manuscripts, abstracts and book chapters. He is the editor of 2 standard textbooks on transplant surgery. He is widely regarded as one of the most innovative surgeons practicing today and his been credited with performing a number of firsts in the field.


Dr. Rainer Gruessner is widely regarded as one of the leaders in the realm of surgical transplantation. He has served for over 15 years in surgical leadership positions, is a member of more than 20 surgical societies and serves on the board on various surgery and transplant journals.

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Dr. Rainer Gruessner: Lifetime of Achievement

Dr. Rainer Gruessner is an exceptional surgeon who has made an ample amount of contributions in the field of transplantation and general surgery. He is credited with the development of many surgical techniques that are both innovative and progressive, aiding towards the advancement of the field of surgery.


Several breakthroughs stand out: In his early years, he was involved in the development of transanal endoscopic microsurgery techniques (TEM) and demonstrated the superiority of abdominal sonography vs. peritoneal lavage in blunt abdominal trauma. After specializing in transplantation surgery, he was the first to do a preemptive living liver transplant for oxalosis in a baby in 1998. Also, he was involved in the first split pancreas transplant in 1988; he performed the first laparoscopic pancreas transplant biopsy in 1995; the first laparoscopic living donor distal pancreatectomy and nephrectomy in 2000; and the first robot assisted total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplant in 2012. Because of his many “firsts”, he is considered to be a pioneer in the introduction of minimal invasive and transplant techniques.


Dr. Rainer Gruessner received his medical degree from the Johannes Gutenberg University School of Medicine in Mainz, Germany, in 1983. He was awarded a “summa cum laude” for his medical thesis by the same institution. He then completed his professorial thesis (“Habilitation”, the German PhD equivalent) at the Philipps University in Marburg, Germany, in 1991. In between completing his medical and professorial theses, Rainer Gruessner did his residency at the Johannes Gutenberg University before going on to complete a two-year fellowship in transplantation surgery at the University of Minnesota. He received additional training at the Kyoto University in Japan, where he gained valuable experience in liver transplantation using living donors.


Due to his extensive training, Dr. Gruessner has been in surgical leadership positions as Chairman or Vice-Chair for over 15 years. Dr. Gruessner has made many scientific contributions that are documented in the medical literature. He has published over 600 book chapters, abstracts and manuscripts. His H-index according to Google Scholar is 55. He has edited two standard textbooks and has been an invited lecturer at over one hundred institutions. He also serves on many editorial boards of journals for general and transplant surgery and is a member of over 20 professional societies. He is viewed among colleagues, fellows, residents and medical students as an innovative surgeon who stands as a figure of progress in his field; and among his patients as a humble, accessible and highly professional doctor.

Dr. Rainer Gruessner: A History in Surgery

Dr. Rainer Gruessner is a highly respected surgeon who was appointed as the Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona in 2007 and also served as Chief of the Division of Transplantation and Surgical Director of the Hepatopancreaticobiliary program. During his tenure, he was responsible for the complete rebuilding and transformation of the Department of Surgery which included the addition of three new divisions along with numerous clinical programs. He recruited over 70 new faculty members: six were highly-recognized division chiefs who subsequently contributed largely to the department’s growing national reputation. Dr. Gruessner implemented robotic and minimally invasive procedures throughout the Department of Surgery’s subspecialties in an effort to reduce length of hospital stay and costs and increase patient satisfaction. With Dr. Gruessner at the helmet, the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Arizona became one of the largest robotic surgery programs in the nation.


His experience at the University of Arizona was just one of the examples of Rainer Gruessner’s successes in the surgical field. He has been in surgical leadership positions for over 15 years. Many of his accomplishments are documented in over 600 manuscripts, abstracts and book chapters. He is the editor of two standard textbooks on transplant surgeryand a third one on “Technological Advances in Surgery” is in the making. Dr. Gruessner has been an invited lecturer at over 100 institutions and serves on many editorial boards of surgery journals.


Dr. Rainer Gruessner’s devotion to transplantation surgery and immunology has been the source of many significant contributions and his development of innovative procedures has helped advance surgical treatment options for patients with life-threatening disorders.

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Dr. Rainer Gruessner: Prestigious Education and Credentials

Dr. Rainer Gruessner is an expert in the field transplantation surgery. He is the former Chairman of the Department of Surgery, Chief of the Division of Transplantation and Director of Hepatopancreaticobiliary Surgery and currently serves as a Professor of Surgery and Immunology at the University of Arizona. Although he has spent most of his career practicing within the United States of America, he received his education in the country of Germany. Rainer Gruessner obtained his medical degree and his medical thesis (“summa cum laude”) from the Johannes Gutenberg University School of Medicine in Mainz, Germany, in 1983. He obtained his professorial thesis (“Habilitation”) from the Philipps University in Marburg, Germany, in 1991. Rainer Gruessner did his residency at the Johannes Gutenberg University before completing a 2-year fellowship in transplantation surgery at the University of Minnesota. He also received additional clinical training in vascular and general surgery at Philipps University in Germany, and in living donor liver transplantation at Kyoto University in Japan. He is a member of the most prestigious surgical societies and has published over 600 manuscripts, abstracts and book chapters. He is the editor of 2 standard textbooks on transplant surgery. He is widely regarded as one of the most innovative surgeons practicing today and his been credited with performing a number of firsts in the field.


Dr. Rainer Gruessner is the former Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona. He held the position from 2007 to the current year of 2014 and was largely responsible for the complete rebuilding of the surgical department including the implementation of three new divisions along with numerous clinical programs. He also recruited over 60 new faculty members in order to significantly increase the operating room case volume. Dr. Rainer Gruessner introduced robotic and minimally invasive procedures throughout all Department of Surgery subspecialties allowing the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery to become one of the largest robotic surgery programs of its kind in the nation.

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Dr. Rainer Gruessner is an expert medical professional practicing within the realm of transplantation surgery. He is widely regarded as an innovative leader in his field and has been credited with numerous firsts in the surgical world. His accomplishments include his involvement in the first split pancreas transplant in 1988, he was the first to develop a standardized technique for living donor intestinal transplants in 1997, he was the first to perform a preemptive living donor liver transplant for oxalosis in 1998, he was the first to perform a laparoscopic living donor distal pancreatectomy and nephrectomy in 2000, and the first to perform a robot assisted total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplant in 2012. He is the editor of 2 textbooks on transplant surgery and has over 600 publications, abstracts and book chapters to his credit. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the European Board of Transplantation. Rainer Gruessner is nothing short of an expert in the realm of transplant surgery and his lengthy list of accomplishments stands as a testament to his success.


Dr. Rainer Gruessner is an expert surgeon, physician, and scientist. He has devoted his career to the innovation and implementation of new surgical procedures resulting in less invasion and higher success rates. His work within the School of Medicine at the University of Arizona was pivotal to the success the school now enjoys. Dr. Rainer Gruessner was responsible for completely rebuilding the Department of Surgery through the recruitment of over 60 new faculty members, 6 nationally reputed division chiefs and the establishment of three new divisions. He was also instrumental in implementing various new clinical programs within the divisions as well.

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Dr. Rainer Gruessner: Former Chief of the Division of Transplantation and Director of Hepatopancreaticobiliary Surgery at the University of Arizona

Dr. Rainer Gruessner is an expert medical professional practicing within the realm of transplantation and general surgery. He is widely regarded as an innovative leader in his field and has been credited with numerous firsts in the surgical world. His accomplishments include his involvement in the first split pancreas transplant in 1988, he was the first to develop a standardized technique for living donor intestinal transplants in 1997, he was the first to perform a preemptive living donor liver transplant for oxalosis in 1998, he was the first to perform a laparoscopic living donor distal pancreatectomy and nephrectomy in 2000, and the first robot assisted total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplant in 2012. He is the editor of 2 textbooks on transplant surgery and has over 600 publications, abstracts and book chapters to his credit. Rainer Gruessner is nothing short of an expert in the realm of transplant surgery and his lengthy list of accomplishments stands as a testament to his success.


Dr. Rainer Gruessner is also the former Director of Hepatopancreaticobiliary Surgery at the University of Arizona. He is largely responsible for expanding not only the hepatopancreaticobiliary program, but the Department of Surgery as a whole as well. He initiated the development of three new divisions including various new clinical programs within the Department of Surgery. Rainer Gruessner also introduced robotic and minimally invasive procedures throughout all the surgical department’s subspecialties. He is credited with transforming a below-average Department of Surgery into one with a national reputation.

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Dr Rainer Gruessner: Owed a Public Apology

Dr Rainer Gruessner, a renowned transplant surgeon, has been cleared of all charges against him. An independent panel ruled on August 25, 2014 that Dr Rainer Gruessner did not improperly alter or direct others to alter records, allegations that led Gruessner's suspension in September 2013, and later to his termination.


The panel, consisting of three nationally acclaimed liver transplant surgeons, found that Dr Rainer Gruessner "acted reasonably" and said that University Physicians Healthcare UPH), the practice plan that employs College of Medicine faculty at the University of Arizona Medical Center "did not meet its burden of proving that" Gruessner's subsequent termination was justified.


The panel also said that Dr Rainer Gruessner deserves to have his name cleared, and that he is owed a public apology.


On September 5, 2014, UPH finally agreed that the termination was wrong and offered an apology.


"I am absolutely delighted that I've finally been fully vindicated after fighting to be able to tell my story," Gruessner said in a statement issued after the ruling. "If only the administration would have given me the opportunity a year ago, we could have avoided all of the costs and heartache over the last year."


Dr Rainer Gruessner has said all along that the allegations against him were a political ploy by then-Dean Steven Goldschmid, who wanted to force Gruessner's departure. The panel agreed.


At the time of his wrongful termination, Dr Rainer Gruessner was the Chairman of Surgery and Chief of Abdominal Transplantation at the University of Arizona. He is an accomplished surgeon who has been in surgical leadership positions for sixteen years.

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Dr. Rainer Gruessner cleared of all charges and completely exonerated

Dr. Rainer Gruessner, a world renowned surgeon and academic leader, was unanimously exonerated by a hearing panel that consisted of national liver transplant experts selected by both sides as impartial and knowledgeable in the issues relevant to this case. The hearing on August 5, 2014 was brought about by a Pima County Superior Court ruling designed to rectify administrative maleficence by the University of Arizona Health Network. On March 7, 2014, Judge Carmine Cornelio found that Dr. Gruessner was terminated without the appropriate level of due process that is required for such decisions by state institutions. Specifically, the Judge was not convinced the decision to terminate Dr. Gruessner was reasonable by a preponderance of the evidence and mandated that a fair and impartial panel be assigned by UPH to review their decision.


The most important finding of the Hearing Panel was their opinion that Dr. Gruessner acted reasonably in requesting the database corrections. The University of Arizona Health Network used only one specific case to explain their allegation – one in which it was claimed that Dr. Rainer Gruessner removed himself from a case in which the patient died. This idea was strongly rejected by the panel. Dr. Waldrum, CEO of the University of Arizona Health Network, testified that his decision to terminate Dr. Gruessner was not based on a review of the operative report for this case or other records. When these records were reviewed by the Hearing Panel, they easily concluded that “Dr. Gruessner would not aptly be designed the primary surgeon.” The panel also noted that the University of Arizona Health Network did not change any of the database records back after they identified the changes, suggesting a lack of conviction by the University of Arizona Health Network in their core allegations used to justify firing Dr. Gruessner.


It seemed particularly troublesome for the Hearing Panel that almost all those in support of the the University of Arizona Health Network “testified” by reading court transcripts of their March 7 testimonies. In contrast, support of Dr. Gruessner was provided by in-person or live telephone testimony. The panel accepted Dr. Gruessner’s position that the root cause of this controversy was misunderstandings driven by the “charged political rivalry with Dr. Goldschmid”. The Panel felt that these problems could have been readily avoidable with a modicum of good will and trust, which was not provided to Dr. Gruessner. Instead the hearing panel felt that the University of Arizona Health Network appeared to choose avenues that escalated conflict despite their own acknowledgment in his outstanding clinical capabilities and “explosive” growth of transplantation under his prior leadership. Repeated testimony during the hearing pointed to Dr. Goldschmid’s specific culpability in these events. Failure of the University of Arizona Health Network to allow Goldschmid to testify himself seemed to further reinforce this message to the hearing panel. In fact, not allowing Dr. Goldschmid to testify sent as strongly contradictory message to the hearing panel as the failure of UPH to change back the database changes they uncovered.


Regarding Dr. Gruessner’s resignation as the transplant program director, the panel decided that UNOS was required to be notified of this event, Gruessner’s notification did not cause harm to UPH and allegations to the contrary were not cited initially as grounds for termination. Because a hearing designed to follow “due process” must focus on the written notice of reasons for termination, this and all other allegations raised at the hearing against Dr. Gruessner were deemed “unrelated to the issues of the case”.


Based on their determination about wrongful termination, the panel recommended that the University of Arizona Health Network issues a public apology to Dr. Gruessner and that Dr. Gruessner’s reputation be restored as evidenced by immediate reinstatement as a Professor of Surgery at the University of Arizona Medical Center.

On September 5, 2014, UPH finally agreed with the panel’s decision that the termination was wrong and offered an apology.

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Dr. Rainer Gruessner cleared of all charges and owed a public apology

On August 25, 2015, Dr. Rainer Gruessner was cleared of all charges that had resulted in a wrongful termination by the University of Arizona Health Network. This unanimous landmark decision was reached by a Distinguished Panel of three of the most prominent transplant surgeons in the United States from the Cleveland Clinic, Emory University, and Mt. Sinai New York Medical Center.


Earlier this year, a Pima County Superior Court had found that Dr. Gruessner’s right to due process had been violated. He was never given a chance to respond to the false allegations which left him with no other choice than to file a law suit in order to clear his name. Shortly thereafter, then Dean Goldschmid was removed from his position.


After the August, nine hour public hearing, the independent Panel found that the termination of Dr. Rainer Gruessner was wrongful. It resulted from false allegations by the former Dean of the College of Medicine, Steven Goldschmid, and CEO Michael Waldrum. Testimony at the hearing pointed to the fact that Dr. Goldschmid had created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation at the College of Medicine which was recently confirmed in a college-wide faculty survey. Dr. Goldschmid retaliated against Dr. Gruessner after Gruessner at the invitation of an influential University committee had commented on the former Dean’s failures to raise the College’s academic and clinical standing. Further testimony revealed that Dr. Goldschmid had misled the leadership of the University of Arizona in fabricating the baseless allegations against Dr. Gruessner. As a result of this testimony the Panel compelled UPH to clear Dr. Gruessner’s name, pay undisclosed damages, and to issue a public apology to Dr. Gruessner.


On September 5, 2014, UPH finally agreed with the panel’s decision that the termination was wrong and offered an apology.

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Dr Rainer Gruessner: Never Quit

Dr Rainer Gruessner has always been a believer in the idea that nothing is impossible, and that no challenge is too great or overwhelming to be overcome and conquered. An innovative and talented physician who consistently rises up to new challenges, Gruessner encourages people in every profession to never give up on the pursuit of their objectives, and to meet new obstacles head on and with enthusiasm.


Surgery, particularly transplantation, is certainly not without a high degree of technical and intellectual difficulty, presenting many new and unique challenges to anyone in pursuit of a medical career. A well-qualified and established transplant surgeon with years of surgical experience, Dr Rainer Gruessner has had the opportunity to face many new and challenging hurdles throughout his career, though he has always managed him through difficult obstacles with diligence and tenacity. Working in an academic environment, as Gruessner knows, offers professionals the chance to not only work together to solve complex problems, but to also combine both creativity and methodology to develop improvements, if not solutions, to what may have seemingly been insurmountable obstacles.


Dr Rainer Gruessner was appointed Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in 2007 and he has enjoyed numerous opportunities to meet difficulties head on, and to work with colleagues to discover and develop new techniques and methods that increase the chance for success during what can be complex surgical procedures. An expert in transplantation, Gruessner has directed teams that have successfully performed multiple organ transplants at once, overcoming what were previously daunting obstacles to provide patients a better chance at survival and good health.
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Dr Rainer Gruessner: Respected Surgical Researcher

Aside from being one of the top transplant surgeons in the country, Dr Rainer Gruessner is also an invested and expert medical researcher. The recipient of many research grants throughout his career, Gruessner is always seeking new information on the latest in procedure and treatment, an effort to improve the care patients receive in the fields of both surgery and transplantation.


Dr Rainer Gruessner and his colleagues have participated in many important translational research projects aimed at discovery of better treatments and more precise and effective surgical methods. As a professional constantly seeking and developing medical innovation, Gruessner understands the importance of innovation to the field of general and transplant surgery. He passionately pursues new and exciting methods of treatment and procedure that have the patient’s best interests at heart.


Dr Rainer Gruessner has been the member of many academic committees, editorial boards and professional societies that seek new information through collaboration and research. Gruessner is an enthusiastic and involved physician who has a vested interest in the future of medicine and surgery. Transplantation is more than just a skill of Dr Rainer Gruessner, it’s his life work, which is why he has been involved in so many new and cutting-edge surgical treatments throughout his career.


Dr Rainer Gruessner, a surgical pioneer and leader in the Arizona medical community, knows how important it is to stay at the forefront of medical technology and technique, which is why is forever committed to the research needed to make the fields of general and transplant surgery more effective than ever before.

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Dr Rainer Gruessner: A Nationally Accomplished and Respected Surgeon

Dr Rainer Gruessner is a humble and friendly man, and a casual encounter with him might leave the impression of a successful but rather ordinary man. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.


Dr. Gruessner is a very accomplished surgeon who has performed many notable “firsts” in the fields of surgery and transplantation during the course of his career. He was involved in the world’s first split pancreas transplant in 1988, and he described and performed the first standardized technique for living donor intestinal transplants in 1997. In 2012, Dr Rainer Gruessner and his team performed the first robot-assisted total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplant.


Gruessner was appointed Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine in 2007, and served as the Surgical Director of the University’s Hepatopancreaticobiliary Program and the Surgical Director of the Abdominal Transplant Program. He is a tenured Professor of Surgery and Immunology. Dr Rainer Gruessner received his medical education in Europe, where he graduated in 1983. He was awarded a rare “summa cum laude “ for his Doctoral Thesis. At Philipps-Universität in Marburg, Germany, he completed his Professorial Thesis (“Habilitation”, the German PhD-equivalent). He completed a transplantation fellowship at the University of Minnesota in 1989. He moved on to be the Professor of Surgery and Chairman in the Department of General and Transplant Surgery at University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, and a tenured Professor of General and Transplant Surgery at the University of Minnesota, where he was also Vice Chair of the Department of Surgery.


Gruessner is a member of numerous prestigious professional societies, including the American Surgical Association, the Halsted Society, the Society of Surgical Chairs, the Transplantation Society and the Society of University Surgeons. He is a Board member for many professional journals, including Pancreatic Disorders and Therapy, the Journal of Investigative Surgery, Clinical Transplantation and Transplant International. He is also a devoted family man, and the proud father of two medical students.

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Dr Rainer Gruessner: Map Collector

Dr Rainer Gruessner is a surgeon who was appointed Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine in 2007. Dr Rainer Gruessner has been in surgical leadership positions or the last sixteen years, either as chair or vice-chair.


Gruessner is also a leading authority on diabetes mellitus, transplant immunology, and clinical transplantation.


Dr Rainer Gruessner has many interests outside of the discipline of medicine. He studies American Indian culture and contemporary art, and is also a collector of books and maps.


As Gruessner knows, a map must have been printed or drawn at least one hundred years ago in order to be considered an antique. Many antique maps include the date the map was published, either in the title or in other parts of the map where publication information is included. These dates usually refer to the first year the map was offered for sale or the year the right to print the map was obtained. Dates on maps are not entirely reliable. Many maps were issued for more than one year without any changes having been made. For example, many 19th Century mapmakers did not change the dates on their atlas maps. For these maps, collectors like Dr Rainer Gruessner look at the content of the map, or for other clues that will provide them with a more accurate dating.


Gruessner is specifically interested in maps of the Americas of the 16th and 17th century when very little was known about the New World. “These maps are completely inaccurate, but they give us an understanding of how cartography and the mapping of America has evolved over time.”


Dr Rainer Gruessner keeps fit by playing tennis, skiing, swimming, and by running. He is also a music lover who plays the piano and organ.

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Dr Rainer Gruessner: Native American Culture

Dr Rainer Gruessner was appointed chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine in 2007. It is a role that kept him extraordinarily busy, but he still manages to find time to pursue those things that interest him outside of medicine.


One of the things that interest Gruessner is American Indian culture and art. As a resident of Tucson, Arizona, there is much that Dr. Gruessner can learn about in his own back yard. Indigenous people have lived in present-day Arizona for thousands of years, and more than one fourth of the State’s area is reservation land.


Among the many Native American cultures indigenous to Arizona is the Navajo Nation, which, as Dr Rainer Gruessner knows, has the largest Native American reservation in the United States. Navajo culture and traditions were centered on family life. Navajo culture has always been centered on ceremonies and rituals. Some of their chants may last as long as nine days and require dozens of helpers.


It was of particular interest to Gruessner that the most important Navajo ceremonies are for treatment of ills, both mental and physical. The Navajo culture used sand painting as a spiritual way to heal the sick. When they sand painted, they made the painting in a smooth bed of sand, which was only temporary. Crushed yellow ochre, red sandstone, gypsum, and charcoal were used to create the images during their chants. The chants were for the Earth people and the holy people to come back into harmony, which provides them protection and healing.


Dr Rainer Gruessner has taken great pride in the fact that his department has trained a total of 7 Native Americans to become surgeons. All of them have gone back to the reservations and practice surgery there at the major hospitals. His is the residency program that has trained the most Native Americans in the last 10 years.


Dr Rainer Gruessner has been in surgical leadership positions for sixteen years, in either Chair or Vice-Chair positions.
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Dr Rainer Gruessner: Witness to a Tragic Day and its Surgical Management

Dr Rainer Gruessner is a highly skilled medical professional. He was appointed chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine in 2007, where he also served as the Surgical Director of the Abdominal Transplant Programs and the Director of the school’s HepatoPancreaticoBiliary Program.


Dr. Gruessner oversaw the surgical management of the victims of the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona, when former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot and seriously wounded during a public appearance. Six people lost their lives and many others, including Rep. Giffords, were wounded. “This is obviously a sad day for the families, for the community, for the state of Arizona, and for the nation,” Dr Rainer Gruessner said at the time. “Our hearts go out to the families of the victims.”


Gruessner told reporters that it was a situation that was difficult to be prepared for, but that his surgeons were ready for the challenge. “Within an hour, six patients were in the operating room. We had four trauma surgeons, two neurosurgeons, one cardiothoracic surgeon, and one vascular surgeon simultaneously in the operating rooms. It took 38 minutes for the most critical injured person to be transferred to the operating room.”


Rainer Gruessner went on to introduce reporters to two of his division chiefs, Dr. Peter Rhee and Dr. Michael Lemole, but he first commended the performance of all surgeons involved on that terrible day. “We were able to help today because of our readiness and the willingness of volunteers to support us, not just the physicians but also the entire operating room staff. Everyone did a fantastic job. And I think our community and the state can be proud of what happened here at the hospital within a very short time.”

Dr. Rainer Gruessner - In Surgical Leadership Positions for over 15 Years

Dr. Rainer Gruessner is an extremely dedicated and caring medical professional who is currently a Professor of Surgery and Immunology at the University of Arizona. He is a renowned and successful surgeon, doctor, and scientist who has devoted himself to helping patients with life-threatening disorders of the pancreas, bowel and liver. He is the pioneer of many groundbreaking developments in the field of transplantation surgery and immunology. He was involved in the first split pancreas transplant in 1988; he performed the first preemptive living donor liver transplant for oxalosis in a baby in 1998; the first laparoscopic living donor distal pancreatectomy and nephrectomy in 2000; and the first robot assisted total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplant in 2012. Rainer Gruessner obtained both his medical degree and his medical thesis, “summa cum laude,” from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. He did his residency in surgery at the same school before moving to the United States to complete a 2-year fellowship in transplant surgery at the University of Minnesota.


Dr. Rainer Gruessner was appointed as the Chairman of the University of Arizona’s Department of Surgery in 2007. During his tenure, he was responsible for the complete overhaul and rebuilding of the school’s surgical department which included the addition of over 70 faculty members, six divisional chiefs and the implementation of many new clinical and robotic surgery programs. Dr. Rainer Gruessner introduced minimally invasive surgical procedures, such as robotics, throughout all the Department of Surgery’s subspecialties. The Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery then became one of the largest robotic surgery programs in the nation.