James B. Peoples, M.D., Surgical Society

The James B. Peoples, M.D., Surgical Society is an interest group for students in the School of Medicine who are interested in learning more about and pursuing a career in surgery. We have one event per month and encourage those interested in learning more about surgery to attend. Past events include panel discussions of practicing general and specialty surgeons, gown and glove sessions, and a suture lab. There are no dues or attendance requirements, just show up to the meetings when you are free. If you have questions, would like to learn more about the club, or would like to become an officer, please contact us.

Mission Statement

To provide current medical students with information regarding a variety of surgical specialty careers through the coordination of presentations by surgeons who are working in those fields.



Faculty Advisors


Coming Up

Past Activities

Introduction to Surgical Research

Presenter: Priti Parikh, Ph.D., assistant professor and research director, Department of Surgery

2014 Suture Lab at Miami Valley Hospital, April 14, 2014

Ask a Surgeon

Get an inside perspective on what it is like to be a faculty surgeon at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine.

photo of kim hendershotIn 2013, we asked our adviser, Dr. Kim Hendershot, questions about being a surgeon. Her responses are below.

What is a typical day like for you?

One of the interesting things about being a trauma surgeon is that one day is never like the next. So a typical day is not so typical. I do have scheduled office days to see patients, but it sometimes gets interrupted by traumas or emergencies if I am on call. One office day, right before the start of my office hours, a gunshot wound victim came in. He had been shot a number of times, including several wounds to his heart and we had to open his chest in the trauma bay in the ED and once we revived him then we rushed him up to the OR and tried to repair all the holes in his heart. Unfortunately he died later in the ICU but we did all we could to save him. Needless to say, my office had to call all my patients to re-schedule their office visit for that day.

What is a typical week like for you?

Being in academic surgery, we have a fair amount of educational conferences that we schedule for the residents and students, so that is the main “structure” to my week. We have M&M conference, where we discuss those patients who died or had complications. We also have some more interactive conferences—we have a procedure lab for the trauma team, which is where we practice procedures like chest tubes, cricothyroidotomies, resuscitative thoracotomies, all on cadavers.

Besides conferences, I am typically on call at least once or sometimes twice a week. I share rounding responsibilities with my group, so I can expect to be the team “rounder” typically two weeks, sometimes three, out of the month. I also try to find time during my week to work on my ongoing research projects and other academic pursuits, like teaching/mentoring the medical students or residents.

What is your favorite part about surgery?

I definitely love the operating room. Using my hands and my brain is the reason that I went into surgery in the first place.

What is the most challenging aspect of surgery for you?

One of the best parts of trauma surgery is the fact that you never have the same day twice. That can also be one of the most challenging things about trauma surgery too. There’s lots of chaos and multi-tasking that goes into being a trauma surgeon, but I like to take the chaos of a trauma and try to organize it based on all the things I’ve learned over the years. Being a trauma surgeon is sometimes hectic and stressful but bringing someone back from the brink of death is a great feeling. Even though we can’t save everyone, it’s also good to know that we’ve tried everything within our power to do so.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I am married and really enjoy spending time with my husband. We like to watch movies and TV (Big Bang Theory is his current favorite and he’s got me hooked on it too). We also like to go to sporting events—I’m a big Buckeye fan (born and raised) and we go to a lot of the games, even though he is a die-hard SEC fan (Auburn grad). We also have a dog, which I spoil with lots of love and attention-she’s a mutt and has a great, sunny disposition and makes me smile with her greeting when I come home every day.

What advice do you have for medical students interested in surgery?

Surgery is a big time and life commitment, so you definitely want to be sure you love it. If interested, then try to talk to as many surgeons as possible and try to do some shadowing to really see what it’s like. If you’re truly interested, then go for it. I had many people (mostly non-medical) tell me that I was crazy to go into surgery because of the lifestyle. I think the lifestyle of any specialty is what you make of it. You can go into an “easy” specialty and still not see your family if you don’t make the time; you can be a busy and successful “hard” specialist and have a nice family life if you make it a priority. So don’t be afraid of the lifestyle component—it’s difficult to control as a resident but is much easier to control your time as an attending.

About Dr. Peoples

James B. Peoples, M.D.

Elizabeth Berry Gray Chair and Professor of Surgery
Program Director, General Surgery Residency
Wright State University Department of Surgery, 1988-2002
photo of james b peoples

Dr. Peoples was professor of surgery, the Elizabeth Berry Gray Chair of Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine's Department of Surgery, and director of the region's general surgery residency program.

A native of Altoona, Pennsylvania, Dr. Peoples received an A.B. degree in Chemistry from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and an M.D. degree from New York University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in surgery at University of Pittsburgh's Hospitals of Health Center in Pittsburgh. He completed post-graduate continuing education in the Program for Chiefs of Clinical Services at Harvard School of Public Health in 1991 and 1996.

From 1977-1979, Peoples was a major in the Medical Corps of the United States Army where he was stationed at the 121st Evacuation Hospital in Seoul, Korea, and at Kimbrough Army Hospital in Ft. Meade, Maryland. He received the Army Commendation Medal for his service. He was recruited by Dr. Dan Elliott, the founding chair, to join the full time faculty at Wright State University in 1979.

In 1988, Dr. Peoples served as acting chair of the Department of Surgery and was named chair of the department in 1990. Since 1988, he also served as director of one of the largest general surgery programs in the United States. The program trains seven physicians in each year of the five-year program and received a "perfect report card" from its accrediting body in 2001. Dr. Peoples was instrumental in training thousands of physicians and medical students in surgical procedures, and he was regarded as an international authority on surgical diseases. In 2000, he was named the first Elizabeth Berry Gray Chair of Surgery.

Board certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Surgery, Dr. Peoples was a member of several professional societies: the Association for Academic Surgery, Association of Program Directors in Surgery, Association for Surgical Education, Collegium Internationale Chirurgiae Digestivae, Dayton Surgical Society, Dayton Vascular Surgical Society, Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, International Society of Surgery, Midwest Surgical Association, the Montgomery County Medical Society, Ohio State Medical Association, the Pancreas Club, the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, and the Western Surgical Association. In addition, he served on the Program Committee of the Central Surgical Association from 1996-1999 and was that committee's chair from 1998-1999. He was a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons and an Honorary Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons.

A recipient of many honors, Dr. Peoples was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, received the Pittsburgh Surgical Society's Residents Award and the American College of Surgeons, Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter's Residents Award, and was named in Who's Who in the Midwest. Through peer nomination, he was included in The Best Doctors in America: Midwest Region from 1996-2002. He received the House Staff Teaching Award from Miami Valley Hospital in 1996 and was elected to the medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha, in 1997.

Throughout Dr. Peoples career, he authored numerous articles on a wide variety of surgical diseases, and from 1996-1998, he studied the early detection of breast and cervical cancer through a grant from the Center for Disease Control.

Dr. Peoples was very active in the community as well. He served on the Medical Advisory Board of the Community Blood Center of Montgomery County since 1992. He was on the Taste & Toast Committee of the Planned Parenthood Association of the Miami Valley since 1995, and was co-chair from 1996-1997. He was also a dedicated supporter of the Dayton Art Institute. Dr. Peoples passed away after an accident on July 19, 2002.

Last edited on 06/11/2020.