Dr. Ethan Baughman: The Rohrich Family Excellence in Plastic Surgery Award

By Jan Jarvis

Dr. Ethan Baughman
Dr. Ethan Baughman

Dr. Ethan Baughman grew up delivering calves, operating on dogs, and vaccinating livestock beside his father, a rural Kansas veterinarian.

“As a teenager, I learned basic pharmacology, wound care, and suturing,” he said.

The experience convinced him to become a surgeon. But instead of following in his father’s footsteps and treating animals, he decided to help people. Now Dr. Baughman, this year’s recipient of The Rohrich Family Excellence in Plastic Surgery Award, is well on his way to achieving that goal, with plans to specialize in face and hand transplantation.

After graduating summa cum laude with a degree in biology from Kansas State University, Dr. Baughman entered the Medical Scientist Training Program at UT Southwestern Medical Center. As a student in the Immunology Graduate Program, his research focused on multiple sclerosis.

During his third year at UT Southwestern Medical School, Dr. Baughman said he recognized the many opportunities opening up in face and hand transplantation. He wanted to be a part of this exciting new specialty.

 “During my lifetime, if I can contribute to just one person getting a hand or face transplant, that will be very satisfying for me,” Dr. Baughman said.

The Rohrich Family Excellence in Plastic Surgery Award recognizes a student who demonstrates superior dedication and achievement in research and clinical work. It was created to honor the parents of Dr. Rod Rohrich, Chair of Plastic Surgery.

“Ethan is a superb and brilliant student with both a Ph.D and M.D., who will be a surgeon-scientist in plastic surgery, which is rare in all of the surgery specialties now,” said Dr. Rohrich, who nominated him for the honor. “He is very dedicated and focused on what he wants to do and become – he wants to make a real difference in plastic surgery going forward, and I think he will do so if he continues to work with the intensity and tenacity that he has had at UTSW.”

Dr. Baughman, who has accepted a plastic surgery residency at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, said he sees numerous possibilities in plastic surgery. He looks forward to the opportunity to help veterans and others who have lost limbs.

“Hand transplants are becoming more of a viable option for people,” he said. “The idea of being able to feel hot and cold again through someone else’s hand is amazing.”

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Dr. Rohrich holds the Crystal Charity Ball Distinguished Chair in Plastic Surgery, and the Betty and Warren Woodward Chair in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 

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