Omer, George E., 1922-Variant names
George E. Omer, M.D.
Born in Kansas City, Kansas on December 23, 1923, George E. Omer (1922-) became a nationally recognized orthopaedic surgeon in the United States Army before establishing himself as a prominent surgeon and academician specializing in hand surgery in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area. The son of southern Colorado homesteaders, George Omer received his B.S. in Chemistry from Fort Hays Kansas State University in 1944. Having completed one year of medical school at the University of Kansas, Omer enlisted in the United States Army, becoming a second lieutenant in the Medical Administrative Corps. In 1947, Omer returned to medical school at the University of Kansas, receiving his medical degree in 1950. During his internship at Bethany General Hospital in Kansas, Dr. Omer was inducted into the U.S. Army for the second time as a physician draftee in the Korean War. He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division and then later to orthopaedic service at Fort Benning Hospital. In 1952, Dr. Omer accepted an orthopaedic residency at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas and made the decision to pursue a medical career in orthopaedic surgery with the United States Army.
After completing his residencies at Brooke Army Medical Center and William Beaumont General Hospital in El Paso, Texas, Omer held the position of Chief Orthopaedic Surgeon at Fort Riley, Kansas. During his twenty years of service with the U. S. Army, Dr. Omer served as Chief of the Hand Surgery Unit at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Denver, Director of the Orthopaedic Residency Training Program and Orthopaedic Pathology courses at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and the Director of the Hand Surgery Center as well as Chief of the Orthopaedic Residency Training Program and Orthopaedic Service at Brooke Army Medical Center. For his service, Dr. Omer received the United States of America Legion of Merit Medal and earned the ranking of Colonel.
In 1970, Dr. Omer left the military and accepted a position at the newly founded Department of Surgery at the University of New Mexico. Originally a division of the Department of Surgery, the Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation Department became freestanding after his arrival with Dr. Omer as Chairman. From 1970 until 1990, Dr. Omer held three concurrent academic appointments at the University of New Mexico. In addition, Omer worked as the Interim Medical Director at The Carrie Tingley Hospital for Children 1970-1972 and 1986-1987 and also served as the Assistant Dean for Graduate Education at the University of New Mexico Medical Center from 1979 to 1981. In 1990, Dr. Omer became Professor and Chairman Emeritus in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation. Under Dr. Omer's leadership, the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation expanded from two physicians to seventeen full-time professionals and developed a division in sports medicine and the first academic division of hand surgery in the United States.
Dr. Omer retired in 1990 and resides in the Albuquerque area with his wife Wendie and family.
From the guide to the George E. Omer, Jr. Oral History Collection, 1950-1999, (New Mexico Health Historical Collection, UNM Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center.)
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