Walter Pories, MD
About the Provider
Walter J. Pories, MD, FACS,
Professor of Surgery, Biochemistry and Kinesiology at East Carolina University (ECU), Colonel, USA (Ret.)
Dr. Walter J. Pories, earned his BA at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, where he was also a member and treasurer of the Mu Epsilon Chapter of Beta Theta Pi. He received his MD with Honor at the University of Rochester where he also completed his surgical training in general and cardio-thoracic surgery. Following his appointments at the University of Rochester and Case Western Reserve, he became the founding Chairman of Surgery at ECU (1977 – 1990). He is currently the Director of the Metabolic Surgery Research Group at ECU.
Dr. Pories research interests have been in nutrition, pediatric and bariatric surgery. His research interests included the first report that zinc is not only an essential element for plants but also animals. He described the role of the element in wound healing, development and the growth of cancers. During these studies he participated in the fortification of animal feeds as well as the addition of trace elements to parenteral and alimentary formulations. This discovery, made as a second year medical student, was a part of the green revolution. The addition of two cents worth of Zn, added to a ton of feed, accelerated poultry egg laying by 45 days, finished broilers in six weeks instead of ten and increased feed efficiency in swine by 20%.
On graduation from medical school, he joined the USAF for twelve years of service, rendering primary care and obstetrics in France and serving as a part-time fellow in head and neck surger at the University of Nancy. Following his internship, he returned to the University of Rochester to complete is surgical training and serve a year as a biochemist in the Manhattan Project. Following his residency and certification in general and cardio-thoracic surgery, he was named Chief of Surgery at Wright Patterson AFB for five years of the Vietnam War. In 1967, after 12 years as a career military officer, he returned to Rochester as Asst. Professor in an active practice of vascular as well as head and neck cancer surgery. During those two years, he founded and directed the cancer center at the University. In 1969, he moved to Cleveland Ohio to become the Vice-Chair of the Department of Surgery at the Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital and again, founded and directed that city’s cancer center. In 1977, he became the founding Chair of the Department of Surgery of East Carolina University where he maintained a busy surgical practice with a focus on pediatric, thoracic and bariatric surgery.
In 1978, he joined the Army reserves and served as the Commander of the 3274th USA Hospital. He retired from the US Army with the rank of Colonel after 24 years of service with the Legion of Merit. He also received a Presidential Citation for the performance of the regiment under his command in the first Gulf War.
In 1980, he developed the current version of the gastric bypass and was the first to document that the operation produced durable weight loss and the full remission of type 2 diabetes in 83%, even after 9.2 years with a reduction of mortality by 735. To improve the national outcomes from bariatric surgery, he founded the Surgical Review Corporation that developed the international Bariatric Surgery Centers of Excellence Program as well as developing the BOLD database that led to a reduction of the 90 day mortality in the US from about 10% to 0.3%. He was also the first to develop a postgraduate curriculum for graduate surgical education, published through four editions.
His current research interest is the molecular explanation why type 2 diabetes clears within a matter of days following bariatric surgery His group has had uninterrupted funding from the NIH for over three decades.
He served as President of the Society for Environmental Health and Geochemistry, the Association of Program Directors in Surgery, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, as the 2nd Vice President of the American College of Surgeons and Vice President of the Southern Surgical Association as well as editor-in- chief and associate editor of several journals.
Dr. Pories is married to Dr. Mary Ann Rose, Professor at the ECU College of Nursing. They have six children. The couple lives on a farm with cattle, goats, soybeans, deer, dogs, cats and even a small family of bears in the “low grounds” next to the Tar River. His hobbies include cooking, cartooning and watercolors.