Paul J. Schenarts, M.D., FACS, MAMSE, generates a lot of knowledge through his prolific scholarly output but not a lot of words when it comes to boasting about it.
The associate dean for clinical affairs in DMU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine recently published his 104th peer-reviewed publication. He recently presented his 200th national-level presentation; in November, he’ll see his 34th book/book chapter in print.
“I sometimes get asked, ‘How have you been able to be a practicing surgeon and productive academically?’” he reflects. His advice: “Never multitask, 2) do not do any academic work on night or weekends, 3) helping advance the careers of others rather than my own has opened many new opportunities.”
He’s done so as a surgeon, medical educator and civil servant. Seemingly contrary to his rule against multitasking, Dr. Schenarts also is professor of surgery at DMU and Creighton University’s School of Medicine and medical director of the Omaha Police Department and Epply Airport Fire-Emergency Medical Services. He’s been an attending surgeon at the Veteran’s Administration Health Care System in Minneapolis and Iowa City, IA, and at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He’s held several positions in the Association for Surgical Education; the American College of Surgeons, of which he is a Fellow; and the American Board of Surgery.
In addition, as an example of his commitment to students, he recently was named the national chair of the Committee on Medical Student Education of the American College of Surgeons. The committee comprehensively addresses the educational needs in surgery for medical students during all four years of medical school, supports educational efforts that facilitate the transition from medical school to residency training, and makes available a spectrum of innovative educational programs and materials to medical students, among other goals. He has served since 2020 on the national medical student wellness committee of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, which honors medical students, residents and faculty who are exemplars of compassionate patient care and who serve as role models in maintaining the human connection in health care.
Dr. Schenarts, who joined DMU in 2020 as a professor of specialty medicine, has served his country, too. A retired colonel in the U.S. Army Medical Corps (Reserve), he was commander of a forward surgical team and chief of surgery at a combat support hospital in Afghanistan and chief of surgery at a field hospital in Iraq. He earned several military awards, including the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and an Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, as well as numerous faculty awards at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine and East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine.
And all the while he’s published and presented on a variety of topics, from aspects of surgery to the impact of cell phones in the classroom and clinical practice.
“My favorite publication was my first, ‘Effect of Severe Smoke Inhalation on System Microvascular Blood Flow in Sheep,’” he says.
Dr. Schenarts earned his bachelor of science degree in biology, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, at Fordham University and his medical degree at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine (UCSM). He completed postgraduate training in anatomic and clinical pathology and surgery at UCSM and Maine Medical Center and fellowships at the University of Texas Medical Branch and Shriner’s Burn Institute, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and with the Association for Surgical Education.
He began his academic career as a teaching assistant at the University of Texas Medical Branch and went on to advanced appointments at several institutions, including Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine, University of Nebraska College of Medicine and Creighton University School of Medicine. He’s held numerous clinical and administrative appointments as well. In DMU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, he serves on the strategic planning leadership group; curriculum committee; student government association; chiefs and chairs committee; and the dean’s council. He also chairs the clerkship committee and regional deans committee.
Dr. Schenarts has served in a wide variety of roles in professional organizations, including the American Board of Surgery, American College of Surgeons, Association for Surgical Education and the Association of Program Directors in Surgery, of which he is past president. He’s been a formal mentor in career development and research for many individuals for nearly 15 years.