Mr. President, it is my privilege to present to you a distinguished surgeon and clinical scientist, Prof. Markus Büchler of Heidelberg, Germany, for Honorary Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons.
Professor Büchler trained in surgery in Heidelberg and Berlin, and in 1982 went to Ulm, Germany, with his mentor, Prof. Hans G. Beger. He earned his PhD in 1987, and in 1993 at the age of 37, he moved to the University of Bern, Switzerland, as professor and chair of visceral and transplantation surgery. In 2001, he was called back to Heidelberg to lead the department of general/abdominal and transplant surgery, where he has thrived and now oversees four hospitals.
Professor Büchler’s clinical and scientific interests have focused on the pancreas in particular, and he has established himself as one of the foremost pancreatic surgeons in the world with more than 1,800 published papers, averaging an extraordinary output of 100 papers annually since 2004. In fact, he was the most cited surgeon in Europe in 2012. His significant contributions include sentinel papers on adjuvant treatment of pancreatic cancer, treatment strategies in necrotizing pancreatitis, and highly used consensus guidelines for grading complications of pancreatic surgery. He has espoused the “uncinate first” technique of pancreaticoduodenectomy and still operates every day.
A strong advocate for evidence-based surgical treatment, he founded the German Surgical Study Center for Clinical Trials in 2002. To date, the center has produced 12 randomized controlled multicenter trials, including adjuvant treatment for pancreatic cancer and alternative techniques for pancreaticoduodenectomy in chronic pancreatitis and in pancreatic cancer. His 35-center trial examining the optimal timing of cholecystectomy for acute cholecystitis was the lead presentation at this year’s American Surgical Association meeting.
He also has contributed to multinational consensus statements for mandatory registration of clinical trials and for the responsibilities and rights of investigators regarding scientific data from clinical trials.
Six of his protégés have been appointed chairs of university departments of surgery, and eight have become chief in a community hospital. He impresses all with whom he interacts with the energy and the storm of new ideas and challenges that he generates. He has the gift of motivating people—making each one feel most important at the time.
Professor Büchler has been president of five major organizations, including the German Society for General and Gastrointestinal Surgery and the Deutsche Gesellscheft fur Chirurgie (the German Surgical Society), Germany’s counterpart to the ACS. He has been awarded five honorary doctorates, 22 international honorary memberships, and has served on 46 editorial boards.
Markus and his lovely wife Hedwig have four children, including a son who is a medical student. An enthusiast of soccer and of his Mercedes AMG 63, Professor Büchler is an organizer of an interdepartmental card game called “skat,” which serves to promote collegiality as well as competition among the Heidelberg department chairs.
Mr. President, Prof. Markus Büchler is a role model of an academic surgeon: technically superb, scientifically accomplished, a leader in his field. It is particularly satisfying to present my friend, Markus, for Honorary Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons.