JACOB C. HANDELSMAN was born and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He received his undergraduate degree from The Johns Hopkins University in 1940 and in the same year was admitted to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Handelsman and his wife, Shirley, married shortly before he received his medical degree in 1943. After graduation, he served for 18 months as an intern and assistant resident at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Thereafter, he was chief surgeon in the 391st station hospital with the 88th Infantry Division in Udine, Italy. In 1947, Dr. Handelsman returned to The Johns Hopkins Hospital completing his surgical residency under Dr. Alfred Blalock in 1950.
For over 60 years, Dr. Handelsman dedicated himself to the Johns Hopkins institutions. He served as a student, post-graduate fellow, associate professor, and advisor to the Department of Surgery. During his time as a resident, Dr. Handelsman was awarded a Halsted Fellowship in Surgery and worked with Dr. Richard Bing in his pioneering cardiac catheterization lab. It was in this laboratory that the diagnostic studies of various types of congenital heart diseases were developed. As a member of the medical faculty from 1950 to 1970, Dr. Handelsman taught a generation of third-year medical students and was the surgeon-in-charge of the surgical outpatient clinics. He did this while maintaining a private practice as a general surgeon specializing in the areas of pediatric surgery, thoracic surgery, and inflammatory bowel disease. In 1989, upon his retirement from private practice, Dr. Handelsman took on the position of director of Same Day Surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Dr. Handelsman was an early diplomat to the American Board of Surgery and was a member of American College of Surgeons, the Society of University Surgeons, the Maryland Medical and Chirurgical Society, and the Baltimore City Medical Society. He also served as president of the Baltimore Academy of Surgery. Dr. Handelsman was active in the Baltimore community with the Man Alive Drug Program and the Learning Bank Adult Literacy Program. He died in 2013.