Ronald R. Salem, M.D., Lampman Professor of Surgery, professor of diagnostic radiology, and chief of the medical school’s Section of Surgical Oncology, is the recipient of the 2011 David J. Leffell Prize for Clinical Excellence.

Salem’s accomplishments since his arrival at Yale 22 years ago include establishing the Oncologic and General Surgery group, now one of the busiest clinical practices in the Department of Surgery. A specialist in treating pancreatic cancer Salem is an expert in performing the Whipple procedure, in which the head of the pancreas is removed.

At an April 9 ceremony, Dean and Ensign Professor of Medicine Robert J. Alpern, M.D., characterized Salem as “absolutely dedicated to patient care. . . . He works with extreme compassion, and his extraordinary caring nature is evident to all of his patients.” Colleagues who nominated Salem for the prize praised “his availability, his calm disposition during critical moments, and above all his counsel.”

Salem earned his medical degree at the University of Rhodesia and completed a general surgery residency at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital in London. He was chief resident and a research fellow at the New England Deaconess Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Center in Boston.

The annual prize was established in 2008 by David J. Leffell, M.D., the David Paige Smith Professor of Dermatology, professor of surgery, and deputy dean for clinical affairs, and his wife, Cindy, to mark Leffell’s 30th Yale College reunion. The award recognizes a faculty member who exemplifies clinical expertise, skilled teaching, and the highest standards of care and compassion for patients.