Established to promote the advancement of knowledge, practice and teaching of surgery.
The Cohn-Rives Society, as its members refer to it, is the official alumni organization of the New Orleans LSU Department of Surgery and was established in 1964 to honor James Davidson Rives who presided as Head of the Department of Surgery from 1947-1962. In addition to paying tribute to Dr. Rives, the organization established a Visiting Professorship in the Department of Surgery in his name. This annual lectureship, the first one established at LSU, is held each spring in New Orleans.
This is how Dr. Cohn describes the pirpose and objectives of the Lectureship Series: "There were several distinct objectives in the selection of Visiting professors. When the Rives Society started, almost all medical students were residents of Louisiana (still largely true), and many may never have been outside the state. They had rarely had any contact with teachers other than the LSU faculty. To a lesser extent most of this was also true for residents. Providing a contact with a name they had seen in textbooks or in journal articles provided an extra spark to their education, even if the views expressed were at odds with local thoughts. Seeing our facilities and the endless clinical opportunities at Charity Hospital gave visitors a new appreciation of LSU, even though they had been familiar with stories and journal reports of Charity experiences. Hearing the caliber of student and resident presentations gave the guest something to remember about LSU and to spread around the country. As a very substantial benefit to us, it provided access for our residents to find additional training in specific fields not covered here. In time, exposure to outside surgical thoughts was widened to include individuals who were here for major meetings and would come to the school for a lecture or student class. As more meetings came to New Orleans, these opportunities were extended.
The importance of the impression the guest would take away from LSU was stressed to students and residents throughout the year, not just in the interval immediately preceding the visit. This built up interest and anticipation well in advance of the visit; and assured optimum attendance at all sessions and superior presentations by all. As time went on it also gave returning former residents an opportunity to compare the performance of the current group with their own of previous years."