American College of Surgeons Honors Five Fellows with Surgical Humanitarian and Volunteer Awards
SAN DIEGO: Five surgeons have received the 2022 American College of Surgeons (ACS)/Pfizer Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards in recognition of their selfless efforts as volunteer surgeons providing care to medically underserved patients.
The extraordinary contributions of these five honorees were recognized at the 2022 ACS Clinical Congress at the Annual Board of Governors Reception and Dinner last night. The awards are determined by the Surgical Volunteering and Humanitarian Awards Task Force of the ACS Board of Governors and are administered through the ACS Operation Giving Back program.
ACS/Pfizer Global Surgeon University Award were presented to James Allen Brown, MD, FACSgeneral surgeon in Johns Island, South Carolina, for his nearly two decades of work teaching and training physicians in surgery in Cameroon.
During his time as a US Navy surgeon and as a private physician, Dr. Brown served on several medical missions in Latin America, Asia and Africa. In 2003, he traveled to northern Cameroon for 2.5 weeks, where he witnessed an overwhelming lack of surgical services and where determined surgical training could help fill those gaps. In 2008, Dr. Brown and his wife moved to Cameroon full time, in partnership with the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS), a non-profit organization dedicated to high quality surgical training in Africa.
Dr. Brown’s contributions to academic surgery in Cameroon, through his work at Mbingo Baptist Hospital, have been comprehensive and transformative. Among his accomplishments, he established a residency review committee comprised of all PAACS training program directors, the hospital’s chief administrator, senior nursing supervisor, chaplain chief and chief residents of each program.
Throughout his time in Cameroon, Dr. Brown advocated for improved training for surgical residents. It has partnered with many international university programs to establish partnerships to receive residents and faculty for rotations and research in global surgery; worked to obtain hospital accreditation from regional surgical societies such as the College of Surgeons of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa; and established collaborative relationships with national surgeons, hospitals and medical schools to share resources, improve consultations and provide training.
Eid B. Mustafa, MD, FACSreceived ACS/Pfizer International Surgical Volunteer Award for his more than 30 years of volunteer surgical and medical services to the people of the Palestinian West Bank, in addition to other underserved areas of the Middle East.
Dr. Mustafa was born in the West Bank and received his medical training in Egypt before moving to the United States to complete his residency and training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. After training, he moved to Wichita Falls, Texas, where he was the only plastic and reconstructive surgeon practicing for many years. His international volunteering began in earnest in 1987, when he met Charles Horton, MD, the founder of Physicians for Peace, who worked with Dr. Mustafa to launch medical missions to the West Bank the following year.
Most years, Dr. Mustafa traveled to the West Bank between 10 and 21 days. His initial efforts focused on birth defects, burn care, and reconstruction after injury. As his missionary work evolved, he recruited a multidisciplinary team focused on the needs of each community, including specialists in urology, orthopaedics, peripheral vascular surgery, non-pump cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology and in physiotherapy. With the advent of minimally invasive surgery during this period, he arranged for equipment and education to be provided in the West Bank to meet the growing interest.
Dr. Mustafa has been an international ambassador for the AEC, taking pride in his scholarship and advancing the ideals of the College. He began teaching Advanced Trauma Life Support program directors in the West Bank years ago, at a time when political divisions prevented formal recognition and certification of the course.
Two ACS/Pfizer Resident Surgical Volunteer Awards were presented this year. The first recipient Alexis Bowder, MDgeneral surgery resident in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, received the award for her 10 years of volunteer work in practice, education and research, primarily in Haiti.
Dr. Bowder has been involved in global volunteer work since 2012, when she spent six weeks as an interpreter at a primary care clinic in Honduras between her first and second year of medical school. Between her third and fourth years of medical school, she worked for a year at the Hôpital Universitaire Mirebalais in Haiti, as a research associate with Harvard Medical School’s program in Global Surgery and Social Change. As a sub intern, Dr. Bowder recorded the vital signs of all surgical patients and removed dressings before rounds. In the operating room, she filled various roles, ranging from circulating to first assistant. Patients seen at the surgical clinic or around the hospital were given her phone number and could contact her if they had any perioperative issues. In addition to working with the Haitian team, she was the liaison for all surgical teams visiting from the United States or abroad. She helped visitors get to the hospital, locate patients to assess and plan procedures.
As a resident, even with ongoing political conflicts primarily in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, she continued regular trips to Haiti where she redirected her clinical and educational efforts to also include St. Boniface Hospital in Fond-des-Blancs. . While continuing to be involved in daily rounds and postoperative patient care, Dr. Bowder began to devote more time to developing the surgical research skills of Haitian medical students, residents, and faculty, and supporting their clinical research. .
The second ACS/Pfizer Resident Surgical Volunteer Award was given to Matthew Goldshore, MD, MPH, PhDresident in general surgery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for his work in establishing the Center for Surgical Health (CSH), which serves as an entry point to high-value surgical care for patients who typically rely on the ward urgency for treatment.
Dr. Goldshore’s background in public health helped him develop the skills necessary to become a key part of the development of CSH, which opened in 2021. CSH has developed a model of sustainable surgical access for Philadelphians not policyholders that relies on partnerships with community organizations, with several partners across the city helping to expand clinical services.
Recognizing that changing the landscape of surgical care for vulnerable populations requires a multi-pronged approach, including improving access to surgical consultation and intervention, interdisciplinary public health research and outcomes clinics, and beyond, Dr. Goldshore has implemented an individual patient-centered approach. system that the CSH co-locates in health centers for the evaluation of surgical diseases. Patients are immediately matched with an interdisciplinary personal patient navigator team comprised of medical, nursing, legal and social work interns. The team walks the patient through their perioperative journey, registers them in the Penn Medicine system, and submits requests for state medical assistance.
Education and advocacy are critical components to successfully running a practice like CSH, and Dr. Goldshore is intimately involved in supporting each of these pillars. He is a leader in courses at CSH, the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, and the Measey Surgical Education program funded by a grant he submitted. As an advocate, Dr. Goldshore was instrumental in securing funding for CSH and for key personnel through the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Perelman’s Department of Surgery.
Ted Sugimoto, MD, FACS, received ACS/Pfizer Surgical Humanitarian Award for his more than three decades of work providing surgical care to underprivileged patients in several African countries.
Dr. Sugimoto first became involved in medical volunteering while a medical student, traveling in the Dominican Republic. He and his wife, a registered nurse, chose to pursue full-time work abroad after his training in general surgery. In 1989, he began his full-time career in surgical volunteering in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and has since divided his time between the DRC, Kenya, Senegal and Somalia.
Much of Dr. Sugimoto’s surgical career has been spent in the DRC and Somalia, two volatile regions, and he and his family were at times in personal danger due to conflict. For example, in 2002 he was working in eastern DRC when tribal disputes escalated into war, leading to the massacre of at least 3,000 people from the two tribes involved in the conflict. Many patients, hospital workers and others were killed. Much of the hospital, built in the 1950s, and surrounding homes and structures were destroyed, including the house where the Sugimoto family had first lived when they moved to the DRC. Throughout these dire situations, Dr. Sugimoto continued to provide care to residents and those who were victims of the conflict.
Despite the relative stability of Kenya and Senegal, Dr. Sugimoto worked with underserved populations in these areas, often providing care to patients who could not receive care in public hospitals due to their inability to cover costs. .
Editor’s note: Photos of the winners are available upon request from the AEC Public Information Office. E-mail: [email protected].