Dr. Stephen Barnes named chair of surgery

Photo of Stephen Barnes, MD

Stephen Barnes, MD, has been named the chair of the Department of Surgery, effective Aug. 1. Dr. Barnes has served as interim chair since February and has shown tremendous leadership of the department’s faculty and staff. He will serve as the Hugh E. Stephenson, MD, Endowed Chair for the Department of Surgery.

Dr. Barnes, professor and chief of the Division of Acute Care Surgery, joined our health system in 2008. As a former U.S. Air Force surgeon, he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and directed the training of critical care air transport teams for global casualty movement at the Center for Sustainment of Trauma & Readiness Skills (C-STARS) Cincinnati. He brought his knowledge of military breakthroughs in resuscitation, transfusion medicine, damage control surgery and patient movement to our Frank L. Mitchell Jr., MD, Trauma Center.

His military background has been invaluable as he served as the planning chief for MU Health Care’s COVID-19 incident command team since March 2020. He continues to use his expertise to help guide our pandemic response.

Dr. Barnes’ research interests include the inflammatory response to injury, the economics of surgery in health care, and best practices in the care of the acutely ill and injured. Dr. Barnes led a national team funded by a $5.3 million federal grant to improve training for combat medics. With United States Department of Defense funding, MU established the Combat Casualty Training Consortium (CCTC).

He earned his medical degree from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and completed his general surgery internship, residency, and fellowships in trauma surgery and surgical critical care at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. While on active duty at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine he completed additional fellowship training in advanced gastrointestinal and minimally invasive surgery. He is board certified by the American Board of Surgery in General Surgery with added qualifications in Surgical Critical Care. He and his spouse Mary and their four children, Sidney, Ansley, Grayson and Hayden, are all still in Columbia, with Ansley and Grayson attending the University of Missouri.