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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Board of Visitors Member Lauded for Inspiring Fellow Female Surgeons

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Dr. Mary E. Maniscalco-Theberge, '78, a member of Old Dominion University's Board of Visitors, was recently selected as the first recipient of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Women in Surgery Committee Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award.

The award is given in recognition of an individual's significant contributions to the advancement of women in the field of surgery.

The award is named after Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, the first female surgeon employed by the United States Army, and the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor. Following her service in the Civil War, Walker devoted her life to supporting women's suffrage, and was a frequent lecturer on health care, temperance and women's rights.

The award will be presented during the Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons, Oct. 16-20 in Washington, DC.

A retired colonel in the U.S. Army, Dr. Maniscalco-Theberge is used to being a trailblazer in areas typically dominated by men.

She is currently the deputy medical inspector for professional services in the Office of the Medical Inspector at the Veterans Health Administration Central Office in Washington DC. She retired as a colonel in the U.S. Army, after spending 16 years of her Army career at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, serving as the first female Chief of Surgery at the Washington, D.C. facility. In this role, she oversaw 13 services and 500 staff members.

She received the Meritorious Service Medal on four occasions, the Army Commendation Medal three times, the Army Achievement Medal three times and the Order of Military Medical Merit.

During her days at Old Dominion, Dr. Maniscalco-Theberge was a leader among men and women, joining the Army ROTC during her second semester and serving as the first female Army ROTC battalion commander during her senior year.

Dr. Maniscalco-Theberge graduated Old Dominion University with a BS in chemistry, earning her medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 1981. Initially positive that she did not want to be a surgeon, soon after beginning her surgical rotation, she realized it was what she was meant to do.

She was appointed to the Board of Visitors in 2013. She currently serves as secretary of the board and as a member of the executive, academic and research advancement and university advancement committees.

Dr. Maniscalco-Theberge is currently president of the Association of Women Surgeons' Metropolitan Washington DC Chapter and past President of the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. chapter of the American College of Surgeons. She is a surgical educator with the ACS and has chaired and taught their "Surgeons as Educators: Principals and Practice" course for over 16 years at the ACS Clinical Congress.

Dr. Maniscalco-Theberge is a native of Norfolk Virginia and currently lives in Reston, Virginia with her husband Dr. Daniel Theberge, an oral surgeon. She has two children, Matthew and Danielle.

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