LazarJ. Greenfield was born in Houston, Texas and attended Rice University before graduating with Honors from Baylor University College of Medicine in 1958. He trained in general and thoracic surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1958-1966. During his training he spent two years in the Public Health Service doing research at the National Heart Institute of the NIH.
Dr. Greenfield began his academic surgical career as Assistant Professor of Surgery and Chief of Surgical Services at the Veteran's Administration Hospital at The University of Oklahoma Medical Center in 1966. He was named a Markle Scholar and rapidly ascended the academic ladder to become Professor of Surgery in 1971.
In 1974, Dr. Greenfield was appointed the Stuart McGuire Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, VA. He remained in that position until 1987 when he was appointed the F.A. Coller Distinguished Professor of Surgery and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University Of Michigan School Of Medicine. Over the years, he developed an outstanding department of surgery which rose to the national ranking of number 4 in research awards from the NIH. After 15 years as Chair, he retired from that responsibility and was appointed Interim Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and CEO of the University of Michigan Health System from 2002-2003. He then pursued a sabbatical at the Center for Medical Devices at the FDA from 2003-2004. He retired from the University in 2004, but remains a consultant to the FDA and to the Medical Product Surveillance Network. From 2004-2011 he was Editor-in-Chief of Surgery News, the monthly publication of the American College of Surgeons and Associate Editor of the ACS Web Portal.
Dr. Greenfield is certified by the Boards of General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Thoracic Surgery. He has been highly productive having published 128 book chapters, 111 abstracts, and more than 404 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals as well as two major textbooks of surgery. He has served on the Editorial Board of 15 scientific journals and on an NIH Study Section. Dr. Greenfield is best known for his development of an intracaval filter device to prevent pulmonary embolism that bears his name. He has received many awards including the Rene Leriche Prize, the Roswell Park Medal and the Jacobson Innovation Award of the American College of Surgeons. Annual research awards in his name have been established by the Humera Society of the Medical College of Virginia and the Section of Vascular Surgery of the University of Michigan. He is recognized as an expert in vascular surgery and has lectured extensively in the United States and abroad. He has been elected to membership in 51 scientific and professional societies and received honorary membership in nine additional organizations. He has served as member and then President of the Lifeline Foundation and Chair of the Board of the American Surgical Association Foundation. As a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons he served on the Board of Governors, the Advisory Council for Vascular Surgery, as 1st Vice-President, and President-elect in 2010, resigning in 2011. He represented the College at the White House Conference on Presidential Disability in 1996. He has served on the national board of the honor society Alpha Omega Alpha, and has been listed annually in Best Doctors in America. He has been elected President of the American Surgical Association, the American Venous Forum, the Society of Surgical Chairs, American Association of Vascular Surgery, International Federation of Vascular Societies and the Halsted Society. He has been a Director of the American Board of Surgery and has served as Chairman of the national ACGME-Residency Review Committee for Surgery. In 1995, Dr. Greenfield was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science. He has been designated a Johns Hopkins Society Scholar and has received Distinguished Alumnus Awards from Rice University and Baylor University College of Medicine.
In addition to his successful career as a surgeon, Dr. Greenfield has been happily married to his wife, Sharon, since 1956. They have three children and eight grandchildren. His oldest son is Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Arkansas.