On November 1, 2016, the Georgia Medical Society awarded Linda M. Sacks, MD, a Physicians Lifetime Achievement Award at its Annual Healthcare Heroes Dinner and Awards Ceremony. She had been a neonatologist with Pediatrix Medical Group of Georgia, a MEDNAX affiliate.
Dr. Sacks is a recently retired Chief Medical Director and head of the Level III NICU at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah. She championed evidence-based practice, medical research, continued education and community. As Memorial’s Chief of Staff from 2004-2005, she was the first female physician to hold that position. Dr. Sacks was specifically known for her support and guidance of residents and nurses in the neonatal unit.
Her career spanned 30 years as a neonatologist and educator in Georgia. In addition to encouraging her staff to remain active in self-improve through case studies and skills contests, she welcomed and even expected questions to enhance the theoretical and practical knowledge of those working under her. Dr. Sacks’ previous experience as a clinical trial principal investigator allowed her team to engage in clinical research. She was also an instructor of neonatal education for the S.T.A.B.L.E. Program.
As an educator, Dr. Sacks had a unique style of teaching. In the nomination letter for Dr. Sacks’ achievement award, Diane Youmans RN, MSN, Perinatal Palliative Care/Bereavement Coordinator at Memorial University Medical Center wrote, “One year, we traveled about Southeast Georgia teaching physicians how to place thoracotomy tubes in babies with a pneumothorax. There was no medical model available, so Dr. Sacks carved out cantaloupes, created blood vessels out of pipe cleaners and created a pretty realistic, somewhat messy model.”
In addition to Dr. Sacks’ medical responsibilities, she served as a board member for Ronald McDonald House of the Coastal Empire, and a member for March of Dimes Georgia Program Services Committee and the Chatham County Fetal and Infant Mortality Committee. A longtime Clinical Associate Professor of neonatology at Medical College of Georgia, she was well published in professional journals and editorials. Dr. Sacks also has a flair for creative writing, through prose, poetry and a recent e-book of vignettes from the NICU.
In her recommendation letter, Youmans spoke of Dr. Sacks’ many positive attributes and qualifications, and she closed the letter with a personal touch. “As a representative of her nursing staff, I want to thank her for the many years of mentorship, friendship and support,” Youmans wrote. “She is the best ‘boss’ I have ever had and one of my favorite teachers.”
Dr. Sacks completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania, medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York and her residency at Children’s Hospital.