UCSF academic surgeon wins ACS' 2011 Distinguished Service Award

The Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) presented Mary H. McGrath, MD, MPH, FACS, of San Francisco, CA, with the College's 2011 Distinguished Service Award on October 23, during its Annual Clinical Congress in San Francisco. The Board recognized Dr. McGrath with the College's highest honor for her "steadfast commitment to the initiatives and principles embodied by the American College of Surgeons," her numerous contributions to the College through service, her work as a clinical and academic surgeon, and her dedication to improving the quality of surgical patient care.

Dr. McGrath currently serves as professor of surgery in the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. A graduate of the St. Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO (1970), she completed an internship in pathology (1970-1971) and a residency in general surgery (1971-1976) at the University of Colorado Medical Center, Denver. She moved to New Haven, CT, to train as a plastic surgery resident at the Yale University School of Medicine (1976-1978) and to undertake a fellowship in hand surgery at the University of Connecticut and Yale University (1978).

In acknowledging Dr. McGrath's work as an academic surgeon, the Regents noted her "outstanding clinical and academic contributions to the field of plastic surgery especially in the areas of breast, hand, wound healing, new technologies, and workforce issues made during her appointments." Dr. McGrath's career as an academic surgeon started at Yale in 1978 with a position as assistant professor of surgery in the school of medicine's division of plastic and reconstructive surgery. In 1980, she became an assistant professor of surgery in the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University, New York, NY. She moved to the George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC, in 1984, where she was appointed chief of the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery, director of the residency training program, and served as associate professor of surgery and, later, professor of surgery. She has held her current position of professor of surgery, division of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, since 2003.

Since becoming a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons in 1983, Dr. McGrath has given "exceptional service to the American College of Surgeons and has served for over 20 years in noteworthy leadership roles." She has been First Vice-President (2007-2008), Vice-Chair of the Board of Regents (2005-2006), member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents (2002-2006), Regent (1997-2006), Chair of the Committee on Ethics (2003-2006), Chair of the Ethics Curriculum Subcommittee (1999-2008), Chair of the Committee on Emerging Surgical Technology and Education (2002-2007), Chair of the Communications Committee (2005-2007), Chair of the Nominating Committee of the Board of Regents (2002), Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Archives and Properties (1999-2002), Chair of the Council of Advisory Council Chairs (1996-1998), and Chair of the Advisory Council for Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery (1995-1998). She served on the Board of Governors Executive Committee and as a Governor-at-Large representing the District of Columbia. She has also served as a "valued member of numerous other committees across the broad spectrum of College activities at national and local levels," including the Development Committee, Research and Optimal Patient Care Committee, Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program Committee, Central Judiciary Committee, Committee on Continuing Education, Pre- and Postoperative Care Committee, and National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Policy Committee.

At the local level, Dr. McGrath served as President of the ACS Metropolitan Washington Chapter and on the chapter's Executive Committee, Program Committee, and as a representative to the College's Young Surgeons Committee. Additionally, Dr. McGrath was Editor-in-Chief and a contributing author for the ACS publication Ethical Issues in Clinical Surgery, which the Board of Regents called a reflection of her "exemplary commitment to heightening awareness and increasing the expertise of practicing surgeons and residents in examining the ethical underpinnings of surgical practice."

In addition to recognizing Dr. McGrath for her involvement with the College, she is being commended for her noteworthy contributions to improving the quality of surgical patient care across the nation through collaborative relationships with the U.S. government and national health care organizations. She has served as a panel chairman, voting panel member, nonvoting panel member, and consultant for the Food and Drug Administration and as a panel member and reviewer for the National Institutes of Health. Dr. McGrath currently serves on the Board of Commissioners of The Joint Commission. Furthermore, her commitment to surgical education has included serving as a director of the American Board of Plastic Surgery and she currently is vice-chair of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education's Plastic Surgery Residency Review Committee.

In acknowledgement of the dedicated, continued service to and on behalf of the College and the surgical community and the positive leadership shown throughout her distinguished career, the Board of Regents is pleased to recognize Dr. McGrath's outstanding contributions by awarding her the College's highest honor, the 2011 Distinguished Service Award. 

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