Besner Appointed Pediatric Surgery Chief At Nationwide Children's Hospital

June 25, 2012

Gail E. Besner, MD, has been appointed chief of Pediatric Surgery at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She is program director of the Residency in Pediatric Surgery, principal investigator in the Center for Perinatal Research in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s and co-director of the Burn Program. In addition, Besner is a professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

“Nationwide Children’s is home to one of the very first and most distinguished training programs in Pediatric Surgery in the U.S. and the position of chief of Pediatric Surgery has been held by some of the finest pediatric surgeons in the world,” said R. Lawrence Moss, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief at Nationwide Children’s and the E. Thomas Boles, Jr., Professor of Surgery at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “We recently completed an extensive national search for our next Pediatric Surgery chief, a process which attracted interest from a spectacular group of candidates. I am very pleased that we have been able to appoint the consensus top choice among this superb group, our own Dr. Gail Besner. The search committee and the leadership of this organization strongly believe that Dr. Besner has the vision, the determination and the skills necessary to lead our Pediatric Surgery program to new heights.”

During the last 21 years, Besner has achieved a level of academic excellence that places her among the most acclaimed pediatric surgeons in the world. In the process, she has authored more than 130 original scientific articles, delivered over 200 presentations, mentored dozens of fellows and has been awarded seven patents. Besner is a member of every significant surgical organization in her field and has served as visiting professor around the United States and in several continents.

“Dr. Besner is one of the most accomplished investigative surgeons in the world,” said John Barnard, MD, president of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “Very few pediatric surgeons have such a distinguished track record of research funding from the National Institutes of Health. She is a leading figure in the study of neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis and the discovery of novel therapies that have the potential to save lives of fragile premature newborns afflicted with this devastating disease.”

Besner has been a tireless advocate for surgical education at Nationwide Children’s and throughout the U.S. Under her leadership of the Pediatric Surgery Fellowship program at Nationwide Children’s, the program has been able to attract some of the most sought after applicants in the country. She is a continuous ‘favorite’ of general surgical residents and medical students and was voted the Outstanding Teacher of the Year by  surgical trainees earlier this month.

“Dr. Besner is an exemplary researcher and educator, but first and foremost she is a practicing physician and surgeon to hundreds of patients every year.” Moss added. “It is rare for an individual who has achieved such a degree of academic achievement to be such a talented and dedicated clinician. Gail is a superb technical surgeon who brings the same skill necessary to successfully separate complex conjoined twins to every child requiring her care.”

Besner earned her medical degree from the University of Cincinnati and completed an internship and residency in Surgery at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, a research  fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital, and pediatric surgery fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Buffalo prior to her appointment at Nationwide Children’s in 1991.

"During the years I have been at Nationwide Children's Hospital I have seen it transform from an excellent community hospital caring for the children of central Ohio, to a top-ranked powerhouse in children's care,” Besner said. “I am so excited to begin this new position, and to work with our superb team of pediatric surgeons to elevate our program from one of excellence to one of widespread renown."

NOTE TO EDITOR:  Dr. Besner is a resident of Dublin.

Dr. Gail Besner, chief of Pediatric Surgery at Nationwide Children's Hospital. 

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.5 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at