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Clarence T. Sasaki, MD Announces Clinical Retirement

February 03, 2021
by Cecelia Smith

After more than five decades, Clarence T. Sasaki, MD, Charles W. Ohse Professor of Surgery (Otolaryngolgy) at the Yale School of Medicine, has retired from his clinical practice as of November 20, 2020. Dr. Sasaki’s prominent career is distinguished by his passion for the academic mission, and as a champion of surgical leadership at Yale. He was the longest serving Chief of Otolaryngology, serving more than 30 years, between 1981 and 2012.

“Dr. Sasaki’s legacy as a master surgeon and educator will continue to impact future generations of Otolaryngologists with the annual Clarence T. Sasaki Lectureship, and through his research. We are grateful for his many contributions to the Department of Surgery,” said Dr. Benjamin Judson, Division Chief of Otolaryngology.

Dr. Sasaki continues his tenure with emeritus status, and with a new appointment in the Division of Otolaryngology as a Senior Research Scientist.

Dr. Sasaki obtained his medical degree from YSM in 1966, after receiving his BA from Pomona College in Philosophy. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Keese Prize in Research. His medical education was briefly interrupted during the Vietnam Conflict; he served as Captain MC in the 95th Evacuation Hospital in DaNang, Vietnam. Here, his operative skills matured so much so that he earned the Army Commendation Medal before returning to the Yale-New Haven Medical Center to complete his residency in 1973.

Dr. Sasaki joined the YSM Faculty in 1973 as Instructor, quickly rising the ranks to Chief of Otolaryngology in 1981. For the next three decades, Dr. Sasaki led the surgical specialty to preeminence, both nationally and internationally, through his contributions to Head & Neck Cancer surgery, Laryngology, and surgery of the Skull Base. He directed the care of thousands of patients under his wide-based referral practice for tumors of the sinuses, ear, throat and neck. His clinical contributions and establishment of multidisciplinary disease management aided the development of Yale’s Head and Neck Cancer Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital.

Dr. Sasaki’s illustrious career is complemented by over 420 journal publications and 6 textbooks. He served as the Principal Investigator on eight NIH funded grants and fulfilled appointments on three consecutive NIH Study Sections along with the NIDCD Board of Scientific Counselors. His dedication to investigative surgery is reflected in the many awards he received, which include The American Academy of Otolaryngology’s First Prize in Research, The Triological Society’s Edmund Prince Fowler Award, The American Laryngological Association’s Casselberry Award, The American Broncho-Esophagological Association’s Broyles-Maloney Award, The Chevalier Jackson Award from the ABEA, and the ALA Award and James E. Newcomb Award of the American Laryngological Association.

Dr. Sasaki’s life-long devotion to scientific discovery has shaped the very fiber of our Division and the way we care for our patients. We are grateful for all that Dr. Sasaki has given over the years and we are enthusiastic to have him continue his life’s passion of research with the division.

Dr. Benjamin L. Judson, Division Chief of Otolaryngology

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Submitted by Christy Collins on February 03, 2021