Earlier this evening, five members of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) were named recipients of the 2012 Surgical Humanitarian and Volunteerism Award of the College and Pfizer in recognition for their selfless efforts as volunteer surgeons who provide care to medically underserved patients, domestically and abroad. Catherine R. deVries, MD, FACS, Salt Lake City, UT and Russell E. White, MD, FACS, Bomet, Kenya, received the Surgical Humanitarian Award; Brendan C. Brady, MD, FACS, Canandaigua, NY, received the Surgical Volunteerism Award for domestic outreach; Raymond R. Price, MD, FACS, Salt Lake City, UT, received the Surgical Volunteerism Award for international outreach; and Robin T. Petroze, MD, Charlottesville, VA, received the Surgical Volunteerism Award for outreach during surgical residency training.
The Surgical Volunteerism Awards were presented in conjunction with the award program's sponsor, Pfizer, Inc, during the American College of Surgeons Board of Governors dinner, which is one of the highlights of the College's 2012 Annual Clinical Congress being held this week in Chicago. The volunteerism award is given "in recognition of those surgeons and surgical residents committed to giving something of themselves back to society by making significant contributions to surgical care through organized volunteer activities."
Dr. deVries received the Surgical Humanitarian Award for dedicating 20 years of her career to improving urological care around the world. A practicing pediatric urologist, founder and director of the Center for Global Surgery at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and professor of surgery at the university, Dr. deVries recognized the unmet needs of children with genitourinary conditions and anomalies, and developed a model of care tailored to the needs of these patients. In 1994, she founded International Volunteers in Urology, the first not-for-profit organization specifically focused on teaching urology in resource-poor settings. Using a comprehensive, sustainable approach, IVU (now IVUmed) oversees highly skilled teams that train physicians and nurses in most areas of urology throughout Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The far-reaching impact of these educational partnerships can be seen in countries like Vietnam, where early IVUmed trainees have established a urology training center in Ho Chi Minh City, which treats more than 1,000 patients annually and trains local physicians. In Honduras, local partners now conduct their own surgical outreach workshops. Similar successes have been achieved in the 30 countries where IVUmed is active and further leveraged by a wide range of international partnerships.
Dr. White received the Surgical Humanitarian Award for his dedication to improving surgical care in Bomet, Kenya, where he serves as chief of surgery and surgery residency director at Tenwek Mission Hospital. Dr. White relocated to Kenya in 1997 to pursue the post of chief of surgery at Tenwek, a 300-bed hospital with a catchment of more than 8.5 million. He has a special interest and expertise in esophageal cancer, the most common malignancy in Kenya. His presence at Tenwek has influenced its evolution into the busiest center in Kenya for palliative and curative treatment of esophageal cancer as evidenced by his caseload of approximately 2,000 patients and his extensive research on the etiology, screening, and treatment of this disease. In addition, Dr. White recently established a cardiac surgery program to address the high local incidence of rheumatic heart disease. Through Dr. White's leadership, Tenwek actively collaborates with many academic and governmental institutions in the U.S. and Africa. He was instrumental in establishing Tenwek's general surgery residency program in 2008 and has overseen it since as program director. One of the first surgical residencies in Kenya located outside Nairobi, the five-year program now has 10 active residents and will graduate its first class at the end of 2012.
Dr. Brady received the Surgical Volunteerism Award for domestic outreach in recognition of his extraordinary service to the underserved migrant population in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. He is a general surgeon with the Canandaigua Medical Group, Canandaigua, and medical director of Finger Lakes Community Care Network, Canandaigua. It was a 2004 encounter with a migrant farmworker that motivated Dr. Brady to offer his services to Finger Lakes Migrant Health (since renamed Finger Lakes Community Health), which provides health care to approximately 8,600 migrant farm workers. Understanding the significant barriers this itinerant population faces in accessing quality surgical care, such as lack of transportation, language, and cultural barriers, as well as financial costs, Dr. Brady established a surgical clinic to augment the primary care and mobile health services provided by the agency. In addition to consulting and treating patients at the clinic, Dr. Brady made arrangements with F. F. Thompson Hospital, Canandaigua, to address more serious conditions at reduced rates by offering his services gratis. As a result, migrant farm workers in the Finger Lakes area can get surgical care otherwise unavailable. Furthermore, for 20 years, Dr. Brady also has served on the board of directors and as an officer of the Monroe Plan, which provides the underserved in the greater Rochester area with health insurance and access to health care providers.
Dr. Price received the Surgical Volunteerism Award for international outreach for his contributions toward improving surgical care in Mongolia and other countries, as well as his commitment to promoting the importance of surgery worldwide. Dr. Price practices general and trauma surgery with Intermountain Surgical Specialists, Salt Lake City. He also is director of graduate surgical education at the Intermountain Medical Center, an adjunct associate professor at the University of Utah, and a founding member and associate director of the university's Center for Global Surgery. Over the past decade, Dr. Price has focused on improving education and access for surgical care globally, particularly to resource-poor areas in Indonesia, Mexico, Ethiopia, Ecuador, China, Belize, Nigeria, Haiti, and Mongolia. His most significant work has been in Mongolia, where he has guided the country's transition toward laparoscopic surgery through his role as the medical programs director for the Swanson Family Foundation. Through his collaboration with the Health Sciences University of Mongolia and the Mongolian Ministry of Health, the use of laparoscopy in the country's capital and the creation of regional treatment and diagnostic referral centers throughout Mongolia emerged. These efforts also have provided a vehicle to improve and expand basic and emergency surgical care through education and infrastructure enhancements.
Dr. Petroze received the Surgical Volunteerism Award for outreach during surgical residency training for her collaboration with the medical leadership in Rwanda to improve the quality and availability of surgical care. She is a general surgery resident and research fellow at the University of Virginia (UVA), Charlottesville and a research fellow at the National University of Rwanda. In 2010, Dr. Petroze was awarded a Fogarty International Clinical Research Fellowship to study the burden of surgical disease in Rwanda, which included conducting a nationwide hospital survey to define surgical capacity; developing and implementing a trauma registry at two university teaching hospitals; and conducting a nationwide study to determine surgical needs at the community level. She fostered communication and collaboration among local and international surgical partners in Rwanda by helping to organize the inaugural Strengthening Rwanda Surgery meeting in 2011. She also was a volunteer instructor for a 2011 Advanced Trauma Life Support® course that certified every surgeon in Rwanda and was later invited to help the Ministry of Health develop a national injury care and prevention plan. Additionally, Dr. Petroze has been instrumental in developing an educational exchange between UVA and the surgical training program at the National University of Rwanda.
Drs. deVries, White, Brady, Price, and Petroze bring the total number of recipients of the ACS Surgical Volunteerism Award to 30, since the award was inaugurated in 2003. The surgical humanitarian and volunteerism awardees are determined by the ACS Governors Committee on Socioeconomic Issues, and the awards are administered through the ACS Operation Giving Back program. The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 78,000 members, and it is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.
American College of Surgeons