Karen Vaniver, 56, of Pasco, WA, died June 1. She graduated with honors from Temple University and earned her medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1986. She completed the general surgery residency at Brown—where she received the Resident Teaching Award— and a plastic surgery fellowship at the University of Florida.
Dr. Vaniver maintained a private solo practice in Missouri from 1994 to 2005.
She served on the Heartland Regional Medical Center Wound Care Program, and as president of the Buchanan County Medical Society and the Missouri Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. She spent the latter part of her career at Lourdes Health in Pasco, where she was the chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery. Her practice focused on breast reconstruction and cosmetic surgery of the face, breasts, and body, including reconstruction of complex cosmetic breast surgery problems. She also consulted on the management of complex wounds.
She held several American Society for Plastic Surgery leadership positions during her career, including membership on the society’s Public Education, Instructional Course, Marketing, and Women Plastic Surgeons Steering committees; the Council on State Affairs; and the Young Plastic Surgeons Forum.
Marlene Cutitar ’82 MD’86 RES’92, who was “the closest of friends” with Dr. Vaniver from the first day of their surgical residency together, says she was a true Renaissance woman who did outreach work in Ecuador and Honduras and was also a talented artist, musician, and writer. “Those of us who knew her were so very fortunate; those who did not will wish they did,” she says.
Dr. Vaniver is survived by her mother, Phyllis; a sister and brother-in-law; and one niece and one nephew. Donations in her name can be made to the National Breast Cancer Foundation at nationalbreastcancer.org.