Past recipients of the ACS/Pfizer Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards: Where are they now?

Dr. Price

Dr. Price (center, front row) in Mongolia.

Dr. Price

Dr. Price receiving the Presidential Friendship Medal.

Dr. Ellis

Dr. Ellis addresses the health care needs of a patient at OCMC.

Neurosurgery in Western Kenya

A recent Ruben J. Williams Foundation mission trip to rural Western Kenya: two neurosurgical teams, from Moi University and Johns Hopkins, operating together to treat a young child with an extra-axial tumor.

Neurosurgery in Western Kenya

A recent Ruben J. Williams Foundation mission trip to rural Western Kenya: two neurosurgical teams, from Moi University and Johns Hopkins, operating together to treat a young child with an extra-axial tumor.

Dr. Hayanga

Dr. Hayanga

Dr. Kingham

Dr. Kingham and Martin Weiser, MD, FACS, participating as faculty in courses on the management of colorectal cancer and starting a minimally invasive surgery program at Obafemi Awolowon University Hospital in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, 2013.

Dr. Kingham

Dr. Kingham

Dr. Kingham

Dr. Kingham and Martin Weiser, MD, FACS, participating as faculty in courses on the management of colorectal cancer and starting a minimally invasive surgery program at Obafemi Awolowo University Hospital in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, 2013.

Dr. Kingham

Dr. Kingham and Martin Weiser, MD, FACS, participating as faculty in courses on the management of colorectal cancer and starting a minimally invasive surgery program at Obafemi Awolowo University Hospital in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, 2013.

Dr. White

Dr. White with residents in front of the computed tomography building at Tenwek Hospital.

Dr. White

Dr. White with a patient.

Every year, the ACS/Pfizer Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards recognize and celebrate ACS Fellows and members whose altruism, vision, leadership, and dedication provide models to emulate and whose contributions have made a lasting difference. Since the initiative began in 2003, 38 individuals have won awards, including four this year. The Bulletin will be providing periodic updates on some of the past recipients of these awards and their accomplishments since they were honored. This article is the first installment in that series.

Raymond R. Price, MD, FACS
2012 International Volunteer Award

Raymond R. Price, MD, FACS, a general surgeon at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, UT, received the Surgical Volunteerism Award in 2012 for his international outreach efforts to improve surgical care in Mongolia and other countries. Since receiving the award, Dr. Price has continued to improve access to surgical care and anesthesia in Mongolia through the Dr. W.C. Swanson Family Foundation, based in Ogden, UT, where he continues to serve as the director of medical programs.

Dr. Price implemented a two-week, hands-on basic laparoscopic cholecystectomy course in Darkhan, Mongolia, taught by members of the foundation and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), of which he is a member. With the help of those two organizations, Dr. Price also taught an advanced laparoscopic course to professors at the Health Sciences University of Mongolia (HSUM) in Ulaanbaatar that covered colectomy, Nissen fundoplication, adrenalectomy, splenectomy, and ventral and inguinal hernia.

In addition, Dr. Price held meetings with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other Mongolian health organizations. These interactions led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the ACS Committee on Trauma (COT) and the Health Development Department of Mongolia to teach the Advanced Trauma Life Support® (ATLS®) course to all of the physicians in that country. For his volunteer efforts in Mongolia over the previous nine years, Dr. Price received the Presidential Friendship Medal, the highest honor given to a foreigner. In addition to his work in Mongolia, Dr. Price has accomplished the following:

  • Organized a national e-mail campaign to support a World Health Assembly resolution highlighting the importance of surgery and anesthesia for basic health care
  • Spoke at and participated in the fifth biennial meeting of the WHO Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care, where he was appointed vice-chair of the group
  • Co-authored a global surgery chapter in the 10th edition of Schwartz’s Principles of Surgery, which was published this year, and also co-authored a trauma chapter in the Disease Control Priorities 3rd edition, which is currently open for public comment and is expected to be published early next year by the World Bank
  • Reported on global surgery volunteer work and its public health components at the American Public Health Association, the Academic Surgical Congress, and at a United Nations side meeting called Empowering Women and Children through Essential Surgery, where attendees discussed emergency and essential surgical care for mothers and children
  • Continues to expand the Center for Global Surgery at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, with fellow, resident, and student projects

George F. Ellis III, MD, FACS
2005 Domestic Volunteer Award

George F. Ellis III, MD, FACS, a urological surgeon at Orlando Regional Medical Center, FL, received the Surgical Volunteerism Award in 2005 for his contributions to medically underserved residents in Orange County, FL. Since then, Dr. Ellis has continued to volunteer at the Orange County Medical Clinic (OCMC), a facility that provides medical care to uninsured patients. Dr. Ellis says it has been an enlightening experience, and the most essential element has been to help patients in need of health care services and to practice medicine without the interference of health insurance plans.

The OCMC is part of Primary Care Access Network (PCAN), a collaborative among local government, health care centers, agencies, and hospitals that Dr. Ellis founded in 2000. Dr. Ellis is keeping PCAN’s activities consistent with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration’s goal of providing 100 percent access to care with zero percent disparity. The OCMC also has an outpatient clinic, where Dr. Ellis discusses cases with the residents who are providing the care. In addition to these efforts, Dr. Ellis has accomplished the following:

  • Began developing plans for his newest initiative, the Florida Health Fund, which will be a charitable foundation to provide education and further assist people who are in need of health care services
  • Inspired both of his sons to do volunteer work of their own; his oldest son, a budding fiction author, leads a writers’ club, and his younger son does clean-up and maintenance for a municipal park system north of Orlando

Awori J. Hayanga, MD, MPH
2009 Resident Volunteer Award

Awori J. Hayanga, MD, MPH, an Associate Fellow and cardiothoracic surgeon at Spectrum Health DeVos Heart & Lung Transplant in Grand Rapids, MI, received the inaugural Surgical Volunteerism Award for resident service in 2009 for his founding role and ongoing work with the Ruben J. Williams Foundation, based in Seattle, WA, which fosters networks of academic medical institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and the U.S. Over the last five years, the foundation has conducted four annual trips to Kenya and engaged the local surgical community in more than 100 hours of continuing medical education. The trips brought together surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, technicians, and volunteers to provide care to more than 200 local patients. Postoperative follow-up was facilitated through audio-visual applications in real time, which allowed ongoing remote surgical collaboration. Kenyan residents had one-on-one time with visiting professors and participated in case presentations and research talks. Dr. Hayanga said these mentoring initiatives have led to several Kenyans being accepted into surgical residency and fellowship training positions in the U.S. and South Africa. In 2011, the foundation began a new initiative to support five physician graduate scholars from resource-poor countries currently enrolled at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD.

The foundation has also accomplished the following:

  • Extended its focus beyond health care delivery to include health policy and economics, as these three areas of health care have become interdependent, especially in limited-resource environments
  • Procured and donated more than $250,000 in operating equipment and supplies to Mukurweini District Hospital and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya, with the assistance of visiting teams from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, and Johns Hopkins
  • Organized lectures by the following distinguished surgeons: ACS President-Elect Andrew L. Warshaw, MD, FACS, FRCSEd(Hon), former surgeon-in-chief and chairman, department of surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the W. Gerald Austen Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Boston; Michael Mulholland, MD, FACS, the Frederick A. Coller Distinguished Professor of Surgery and Chair, department of surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and Russell G. Robertson, MD, chair, Council on Graduate Medical Education and the special advisor to Congress and the HHS with regard to physician supply and distribution
  • Expanded its board of directors, appointed a full-time chief executive officer, and sought to expand delivery of care to the entire region over the next five years

T. Peter Kingham, MD, FACS
2010 Resident Volunteer Award

T. Peter Kingham, MD, FACS, a general surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York, NY, received the Surgical Volunteerism Award in 2010 for outreach during residency for his work as a co-founder and president of Surgeons OverSeas (SOS), an organization that improves surgical care in developing countries, most notably Sierra Leone. Since receiving the award, Dr. Kingham has formed a colorectal cancer consortium called the African Colorectal Cancer Group (ARGO) with his Nigerian colleague and SOS member, Isaac Alatise, MD. The consortium comprises MSKCC in New York, NY, and Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Federal Medical Centre Owo, Lautech Teaching Hospital, and University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital in Nigeria. The consortium is sponsoring two prospective studies—one to create a database and biobank, and one related to colonoscopy—with the goal of improving the care of patients with colorectal cancer. Dr. Kingham said they hope this infrastructure can be applied to patients with other types of cancer in the future.

In addition to these efforts, Dr. Kingham has accomplished the following:

  • Completed his surgical oncology fellowship at MSKCC and joined the faculty as a member of the hepatopancreatobiliary surgery service
  • Continued to serve as president of SOS
  • Continued to work with SOS co-founder Adam Kushner, MD, MPH, FACS, to document the burden of surgical disease in low- and middle-income countries, and published this research in The Lancet*

Russell E. White, MD, MPH, FACS, FCS (EASC)
2012 Surgical Humanitarian Award

Russell E. White, MD, MPH, FACS, FCS (EASC), a general surgeon at Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya, received the Surgical Humanitarian Award in 2012 for his efforts to improve surgical care in Bomet. Dr. White currently directs the surgical residency training program at Tenwek Hospital, where the program has expanded to include a full residency in orthopaedic surgery. Dr. White is proud to say that his residents are scoring among the highest in the region on their written and oral examinations.

He serves as the country director for the College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa, which is the certifying body for 11 countries in the region. He is also the educational coordinator for all the training programs in general surgery in Kenya. This year, Dr. White will coordinate the writing of the certifying exam for all the general surgery candidates, and will also direct all the oral and clinical exams for those health care professionals completing their training.

In addition to these efforts, Dr. White is involved in the following:

  • Contributing time and expertise to research programs for all of the hospital’s residents
  • Working on several ongoing clinical trials involving epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of esophageal cancer, which is the most common malignancy in Kenya
  • Expanding the cardiac surgery program at Tenwek Hospital, which is the only center outside the capital that offers cardiac surgical services
  • Looking into beginning a fellowship training program in cardiothoracic surgery, which would be the only program of its type in the region

*Groen R, Samai M, Steward KA, et al. Untreated surgical conditions in Sierra Leone: A cluster randomised, cross-sectional, countrywide survey. The Lancet. 2012;380(9847):1082-1087.

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