Pediatric Surgeon “Dr. Gus” named 2018 School of Medicine Distinguished Alumnus

Photo of Dr. Gus
Robert "Dr. Gus" Gustafson, M.D.

For 35 years, Robert Gustafson, M.D.—or Dr. Gus, as he’s known to the thousands of children he’s helped throughout the world—has served his alma mater as professor, emeritus surgeon-in-chief and chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery at West Virginia University.

And on Friday, Oct. 5, his friends and colleagues will honor him as the 2018 School of Medicine Distinguished Alumnus during the School’s Alumni Weekend banquet at Lakeview Resort in Morgantown.

A 1976 graduate of the WVU School of Medicine, Gustafson was an outstanding student, surgical resident and cardiovascular fellow at WVU. He trained in pediatric cardiac surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital and returned to WVU in 1983 to establish a pediatric cardiothoracic surgery program to be recognized nationally and internationally for its quality of patient-centered care.

Ever-devoted to the children who need his help, he has performed more than 15,000 surgeries on children from West Virginia and around the world.

Dr. Gus is an elected member of Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha. He won the distinguished service award from WVU Children’s Hospital in 2004 and in 2010 was named Children’s Miracle Network “Outstanding Care Giver from 176 Children’s Hospitals in North America.”

In 2014, Governor Tomblin presented him with the state’s highest civilian award, the “West Virginia State Distinguished Service Award.” He received the WVU School of Medicine Dean’s Excellence Award for Clinical Service in 2015.

He is a member of the Congenital Heart Surgeons’ Society, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Surgeons, Society of Thoracic Surgeons and the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.

He is a former president and governor of the West Virginia Chapter of the American College of Surgeons. He has authored and co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and delivered more than 150 presentations.

For more information on Alumni Weekend, contact Debbie Throckmorton at 304.293.5110.