Notable Alums


Specialty: General Surgery

Graduation Year: Ph.D. 1965

Allen Silbergleit

Allen Silbergleit, M.D., Ph.D. ’65, was born in Springfield, Mass., and began an early military career in college with the Reserve Officers Training Corps and a special assignment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He went on to medical school at the University of Cincinnati, where he was a student volunteer with Albert Sabin, M.D., in developing the oral polio vaccine, and received honorary membership in the Mitchell Pediatric Society. Dr. Silbergleit went on to Surgical internship and residency at the University of Minnesota as a young U.S. Air Force officer while a resident. Following the completion of his service as chief resident, Dr. Silbergleit was named chief of General Surgery at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. His prior flight training and experience in low-altitude close formation flying expedited his research in high- altitude physiology.

Dr. Silbergleit came to the Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1962 from Sheppard Air Force Base. He was appointed an instructor in Surgery, and during this time he also completed his doctoral degree in Physiology, his residency in cardio-thoracic surgery, and was a clinical investigator for the Veterans Administration. Dr. Silbergleit was appointed assistant professor in 1965, acting simultaneously on faculty as both an assistant professor of Surgery and Physiology and was later promoted to full professor. He is the longest serving member of the Dean’s Council. He has a long history as professor of Surgery and Physiology.

The Association of Program Directors in Surgery created an award in 2015 in honor of Dr. Silbergleit—the Silbergleit Award—which recognizes his longevity and contributions during his 40 years as director of the surgical residency program at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (Hospital). Dr. Silbergleit initiated the five-year surgical residency program. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education awarded Dr. Silbergleit the Parker Palmer: “Courage to Teach” Award in 2007 “in recognition of Extraordinary Accomplishments in Graduate Medical Education.” This award, one of 10 in the nation annually, is the highest recognition a program director can receive.

Dr. Silbergleit is the initial founding member of the Oakland Health Education Program (now the Southeast Michigan Center for Medical Education), centered at Wayne State University and the largest community-based medical education consortium in the United States. He is a Fellow and former Governor of the American College of Surgeons, and has received the Oakland Health Education Program Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Medical Education, the Alexander J. Walt Award of the American College of Surgeons Michigan Chapter, the Wayne State University Surgical Alumnus of the Year Award, the Wayne County Medical Society Humanitarian of the Year Award, the Wayne State University Distinguished Service Award, and the American College of Surgeons State Chair Outstanding Performance Award.

His research in several areas is well known including his work with mycotic aortic aneurysm surgery, which was the cover article of an issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. This work was also described as one of five “Noteworthy Innovations” in an October 2018 Wayne State University School of Medicine Sesquicentennial Historic Timeline Publication.