Numann Campaign: Honoring a Caring Surgeon
A Tribute to Patricia J. Numann, MD


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Professor of Surgery and Distinguished Service Professor, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and Breast and Thyroid Surgeon at Upstate's University Hospital

In honor of her life's work and outstanding dedication, SUNY Upstate is creating its first endowed chair: the Patricia J. Numann MD, Chair of Surgery. Through its research and patient care funds, this endowment will help attract more fine surgeons like Dr. Numann. In addition, plans are being made to name the Breast Care Center in her honor. We hope you will contribute to this $1.5 million campaign which pays lasting tribute to the skill, leadership and compassion of a truly remarkable woman.




Forty years ago, when Dr. Numann graduated from medical school at SUNY Upstate, less than one percent of surgical residents were women. This did not dissuade her from becoming an inaugurator of firsts, both locally and nationally.


  • First woman surgeon at SUNY Upstate.
  • First woman medical director at SUNY Upstate.
  • First woman vice president of the American College of Surgeons.
  • First woman to serve on the American Medical Association's Council on Scientific Affairs.
  • Founder of the American Association of Women Surgeons.
  • First female faculty member at SUNY Upstate to be named Distinguished Teaching Professor by the State University of New York. She is also a Distinguished Service Professor.
  • Founder of Central New York's first comprehensive breast care program. Association's Council on Scientific Affairs.
  • First woman chair of the American Board of Surgery.


Throughout her surgical career, Dr. Patricia Numann has treated an estimated 12,000 patients, but they never feel part of a crowd. Dr. Numann is noted for her devotion and her warm, caring manner — she is the surgeon who always holds the hands of her patients before surgery in the operating room.


"In the operating room, I am often the only person the patients know. That's why I am there to hold their hands. I value their trust in me."


One of the things Dr. Numann likes most about her specialties in endocrine surgery and breast surgery are the long-term relationships she has with patients. "I follow thyroid patients for 10 years and breast patients for life," she explains. "I love what I do."


Growing up in a small town in the Catskills instilled in Dr. Numann a special fondness for this region. Despite being enticed with excellent and lofty positions elsewhere, Dr. Numann elected to stay here and, in so doing, has given back to her community every day.


When contemplating her role as educator, Dr. Numann also gives credit to her students for her decision to stay in Syracuse. "I enjoy them. I cannot imagine life without them." They — as well as thousands of patients — are grateful legacies of this renown, talented and caring surgeon, professor and mentor.