Dr. Hilger Perry Jenkins probably had more to do with the success of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Medical Motion Picture program than any other person. He was born in 1902, the son of an architectural designer, which some believe brought an innate artistic ability to his ingenious methods of teaching. Dr. Jenkins was known not only as a highly creative personality, but also as a humble and modest person.
Dr. Jenkins graduated from the University of Chicago with a BS degree in 1923 and from Rush Medical College with an MD in 1927. After completing a surgical internship at Presbyterian Hospital, he joined Dallas Phemister, MD, FACS, at the University of Chicago, becoming the first surgical resident at the new Billings Hospital. He stayed on the faculty of the department of surgery at the University of Chicago until 1946, when he became chief of surgery at Woodlawn Hospital and clinical professor of surgery at the University of Illinois. He was highly regarded for his outstanding services as a plastic and general surgeon, and for his contributions to surgical education, and returned to the University of Chicago in 1960 as professor of surgery.
Dr. Jenkins became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS) in 1934 and served as an ACS Governor from 1952 to 1958. Throughout his storied career, he maintained an avid interest in the use of audio-visual materials in surgical education, and served as the Chair of the ACS Committee on Medical Motion Pictures from 1951-1966. He originated the program “Spectacular Problems in Surgery” for the ACS annual Clinical Congresses.
For his unique contribution to ACS and outstanding contribution to the organization and production of the Cine Clinics, the College’s motion picture program produced especially for the Clinical Congress, he received the College’s Distinguished Service Award in 1959, the College’s highest honor. Computer-generated video-based education programs for Fellows stand directly on the shoulders of Dr. Jenkins and his vision, and what he was able to accomplish.
In 1967 he received the prestigious McClintock Award at the University of Chicago before an audience giving him a standing ovation, an award not generally given to a man of his young age. He served as President of many surgical associations and an emeritus professor at the University of Chicago where he gave an AV presentation on pelvic conditions to the Chicago Medical Society, only two days before his untimely death on January 17, 1970.
Dr. Jenkins leaves a rich heritage of outstanding teaching films and scientific publications. Many of his notes on the production of his own films, as well as the records of the Committee on Medical Motion Pictures, can be found in the ACS Archives.
- ACS Bulletin, Apr. 1970, 31.
- Trans Am Surg Ass’n, 1970, 69-70.
ACS Archives Highlights is a series showcasing the vibrant history of the American College of Surgeons, its members, and the history of surgery. For further information on our featured highlights, search the Archives Catalog or contact the ACS Archivist.