COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Dr. Don Nakayama is a renowned pediatric surgeon, researcher and medical educator, says a press release from Mercer University and Piedmont Columbus Regional. According to the press release, he has been appointed as senior associate dean of Mercer University School of Medicine’s Columbus campus and as a medical director of pediatric surgery at Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital.

“Mercer University School of Medicine’s mission is to improve health and bring care to underserved rural Georgia,” said Jean Sumner, dean of the School of Medicine. “No one embodies the heart of that mission more than Dr. Don Nakayama. We, along with Piedmont Columbus, are delighted to welcome Dr. and Mrs. Nakayama to Columbus. We are honored to work with Piedmont Columbus to bring needed care to this region. Dr. Nakayama, professor of surgery, will assume the campus dean position for the Columbus campus. Dr. Maurice Solis was instrumental in his recruitment and will remain a strong and valued member of our faculty.”

Solis said he knew firsthand of Nakayama’s talent for leadership, his passion for teaching and his skill as a pediatric surgeon from working closely with him when he was chairman of the surgery residency program in Macon.

“It is very exciting that he will now be part of the Columbus campus and medical community, and I am extremely pleased to be able to work with him once again,” Solis said.

“We are pleased and extremely fortunate to welcome Dr. Nakayama and his wife Natalie to Columbus,” said Scott Hill, CEO of Piedmont Columbus Regional. “As the medical director of pediatric surgery, he will lead the development of the Pediatric Surgery program at the Children’s Hospital at Piedmont Columbus Midtown. Dr. Nakayama is nationally known and respected and has a track record of successfully developing pediatric surgery programs around the country. This joint recruitment will continue to strengthen our ongoing partnership with the Mercer School of Medicine, and we are excited to start working with Dr. Nakayama to bring pediatric surgical services to the greater Columbus region that will allow our children to be treated right here close to home.”

Nakayama most recently served as a clinical professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“I am privileged to serve the missions of patient care and medical education as the regional dean of the Columbus campus of Mercer University School of Medicine,” said Nakayama. “My goal is to continue the tradition of service and cooperation among the School of Medicine, the Piedmont Columbus Regional Midtown Campus, St. Francis Hospital and the medical community to bring the vitality of academic medicine to the people of Columbus and the rural communities of western, central and south Georgia that we serve.”

Nakayama began his medical career in 1978 upon earning his Doctor of Medicine degree and beginning a residency in general surgery and research fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. He finished a postgraduate fellowship in pediatric surgery at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. After this, he became an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and the director of the Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Nakayama continued on to serve in faculty and leadership roles at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine and West Virginia University School of Medicine.

He has served as the surgeon-in-chief at North Carolina Children’s Hospital, director of the general surgery residency program for The Medical Center of Central Georgia and chair of the Department of Surgery at Mercer and the University of West Virginia.

“Dr. Nakayama is editor of ‘Black Surgeons and Surgery in America’ (American College of Surgeons, 2021), co-author of ‘Saving Lifetimes: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the American Pediatric Surgical Association’ (American Pediatric Surgical Association, 2019), associate editor of ‘Principles of Pediatric Surgery’ (Mosby, 2003), co-editor of ‘Critical Care of the Surgical Newborn’ (Futura, 1997) and author of ‘Atlas of Pediatric Surgery’ (Gower, 1991),” says the press release. “Additionally, he is an author or co-author on more than 200 refereed journal articles and has contributed dozens of book chapters, lectures, reviews, abstracts and conference presentations.”

Nakayama is the editor-in-chief of The American Surgeon and assistant editor of the Journal of Pediatric Surgery. He also serves on the editorial board of Annals of Surgery Open: Perspectives on Surgical History, Education and Clinical Approaches.

He has received research grants from the National Institutes of Health, Samuel and Emma Winters Foundation and American Cancer Society and other organizations.

Nakayama is a member of the Southern Surgical Association, Southeastern Surgical Congress, American Surgical Association, Society of University Surgeons, American Pediatric Surgical Association and American Board of Surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and serves as that organization’s treasurer.

Nakayama earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences from Stanford University. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business.