Robert Singer, MD of La Jolla, is an internationally renowned aesthetic plastic surgeon and noted educator of aesthetic surgery. He received his general surgery training at Stanford University Medical Center and after serving as a physician in the Viet Nam War, took additional training in Santa Barbara.
Dr. Singer has served as president and chairman of the Board of Trustees of American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), chairman of the board of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, president of the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, president of the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation, and president of the California Society of Plastic Surgeons.
He developed a forum to evaluate the safety and efficacy of new aesthetic procedures. He was appointed an ASAPS visiting professor to plastic surgery training programs.
Dr. Singer is the author of numerous scientific articles, and lectures to surgical organizations in the United States and internationally. He has been a media resource for plastic surgery information, including appearances on Larry King. He was invited to give testimony to Congress and the Medical Board of California.
He has held the position of Chief of Plastic Surgery and vice-chairman of the Department of Surgery, Scripps Memorial Hospital. At UCSD, he was granted the position of Clinical Professor of Surgery (Plastic).
- What brought you to La Jolla?
I first visited as a young child on vacation from Buffalo, N.Y. with relatives, and learned to surf and loved it then. I was drafted into the Navy out of my surgical residency at Stanford during the Viet Nam War and was posted initially in San Diego before spending time in the Pacific and Viet Nam as a physician. After completion of my general surgery and plastic surgery training, I had a number of offers for practice elsewhere, but nothing compared to La Jolla. I felt then and still do today that there is no better place to call home.
- What makes this area special to you?
The people, the healthy outdoor lifestyle, weather, the physical beauty, a superb medical community, and growing cultural options. No matter where we travel, I am always happy to come home to La Jolla.
- If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?
Eliminate the marine layer.
- What inspires you?
It’s people in many different walks of life who take pride in what they do, and do things well and with passion. People who think “out of the box” and try to improve things rather than complain about them.
- If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?
I assume you mean aside from my wife, Judith Harris and our daughter Blair. My original list included Niccolò Machiavelli, Catherine the Great, Dian Fossey and Marlene Dietrich, but my wife said that she had already invited them to the table in her interview with the La Jolla Light and I should find my own guests, so, I choose Genghis Kahn, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Moses, Oscar Wilde, Napoleon Bonaparte, Mae West, and Gerald Parsky.
- Tell us what you are reading.
“The Age of the Unthinkable” by Joshua Cooper Ramo, “The Post American World” by Fareed Zakaria, and “Fall of Giants” by Ken Follett.
- What is your most-prized possession?
I prize my experiences in life, not possessions, although I appreciate many things that we have, like our home. The things that I value most are not possessions; they are my wife, our daughter, our cats, and our friends.
- What do you do for fun?
I am an avid tennis player, a hardcore sports fan, a history and geopolitical junkie, and enjoy frequent travel to interesting adventuresome places, especially in Africa and Asia.
Mostly I try to keep up with Judith: becoming an elephant mahout in Thailand, trekking with Masai and Samburo in Kenya, climbing the Virungas with the mountain gorillas in Rwanda.
- Describe your greatest accomplishment.
I will confine my answer to the professional arena. Being chosen by national and international peers as the president of the premier plastic surgery society, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, is the professional pinnacle for any aesthetic (cosmetic) plastic surgeon. It is also knowing that I raised the bar of safety in the field of plastic surgery and ambulatory surgery overall, as well as improving the quality of patient care through involvement in multiple taskforces, lectures, presentations, and publications.
- What is your motto or philosophy of life?
Live in the present and for the future, don’t dwell on the past. If you are standing in place, in reality you are moving backward, because the rest of the world is advancing. Try to be the best you can be, and never stop learning!