In acknowledgement of her steadfast commitment to the initiatives and principles of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), Barbara Lee Bass, MD, FACS, is the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Service Award. An ACS Fellow since 1987, Dr. Bass is the John F. and Carolyn Bookout Distinguished Endowed Chair and chair of the department of surgery at Houston Methodist Hospital, in Houston, TX. The Distinguished Service Award (DSA) is the ACS’ highest honor and will be presented during the Convocation ceremonies at the 2013 Clinical Congress, 6:00–8:00 pm, Sunday, October 6, in Ballroom AB of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC.
Leadership in the ACS
The DSA is given to Dr. Bass in appreciation of her exceptional service to the ACS “for more than 20 years in noteworthy leadership roles,” according to the award citation. Dr. Bass served as an ACS Regent (2001–2010) and on the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents (2005–2009). As a Regent, she was a member of the Finance Committee (2005–2010), the Member Services Liaison Committee (2004–2008), the Central Judiciary Committee (2002–2005), the Women in Surgery Committee (2000–present), and the Scholarship Committee. She is a Past-Chair of both the ACS Committee on Education (2003–2006) and the Clinical Congress Program Committee (2005–2011).
Previously, Dr. Bass served on the ACS Board of Governors (1995–2001), as a member of the Governors’ Executive Committee (1998–2001), and ultimately as Chair (1999–2001). She chaired the Governors’ Committee on Surgical Practice (1997–1998) and was a member of the Governors’ Committees on Socioeconomic Issues (1996–1998) and Physician Competence (1999–2001).
Dr. Bass is a surgeon champion of the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®) and served on the Steering Committee for that program (2004–2010). In addition, she served on the ACS Health Policy Advisory Committee (2008–2010) and the Transition to Practice Workgroup (2012).
Dr. Bass has held leadership roles in many other professional organizations as well, including serving as chair of the American Board of Surgery, president of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, and president of the Society of Surgical Chairs.
She has inspired other women in surgery and as a result has received the Nina Starr Braunwald Award and the Distinguished Member Award from the Association of Women Surgeons.
Dedicated surgical educator
The award also is presented “In acknowledgement of her outstanding clinical and academic contributions to the field of general surgery” and “her commitment to teaching the next generation of surgeons,” the citation states. In addition to her previously mentioned positions at Houston Methodist Hospital, Dr. Bass is the executive director of MITIE, the Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation and Education, a state-of-the-art education and research facility developed to safely train practicing health care professionals in new technologies and procedures. She is professor of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, and senior member of The Methodist Hospital Research Institute.
Dr. Bass has mentored 27 pre- and postdoctoral fellows, presented and published more than 130 manuscripts, and delivered more than 70 named lectureships and invited talks. Dr. Bass’ research programs in gastrointestinal cell biology, computational surgery, surgical outcomes sciences and clinical research have been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Veterans Affairs (VA) Research program, the National Science Foundation, and other groups. Her first grant was an ACS Faculty Research Award in 1987.
Before taking on her roles at Houston Methodist Hospital in 2005, Dr. Bass was associate chair for research and academic affairs, general surgery residency program director, and professor of surgery at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. While at the University of Maryland, Dr. Bass also served as chief of surgery at the VA Medical Center in Baltimore. Earlier appointments included faculty positions at the George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC; the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD; the VA Medical Center, Washington DC; and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. then in Washington, DC.
Dr. Bass graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from Tufts University, Medford, MA. She earned her medical degree from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, where she was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Society. She completed her surgical internship and general surgery residency at George Washington University and completed a gastrointestinal surgical research fellowship at Walter Reed, during which time she served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps.