Courtney M. Townsend, Jr., MD, FACS, Robertson-Poth Distinguished Chair in General Surgery, department of surgery, University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston, was elected President-Elect of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) at the Annual Business Meeting of the Members October 7 in Chicago, IL. The First and Second Vice-Presidents-Elect also were elected.
Educator and leader
A highly esteemed surgical educator, Dr. Townsend also is professor of surgery, department of surgery; professor of physicians assistant studies, School of Allied Health Sciences; and graduate faculty in the cell biology program, University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, UTMB.
He has a bachelor’s degree in history/English from the University of Texas, Austin. Dr. Townsend earned his medical degree and completed his internship and general surgery training at UTMB. He did a surgical oncology fellowship at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), was a McLaughlin Fellow twice, a Jeane B. Kempner Fellow, an American Cancer Society Clinical fellow, and a National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoctoral fellow.
Dr. Townsend’s first teaching position was as adjunct assistant professor of surgery, division of oncology, department of surgery, UCLA (1974–1976). He then served two years (1976–1978) in the U.S. Navy as staff surgeon and surgical director, intensive care unit, National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, before returning to UTMB as an associate professor, department of surgery, in 1978. In 1981, he was promoted to Robertson-Poth Associate Professor of Surgery, and in 1982 he was appointed director, surgical research laboratory, UTMB. From 1983 to 1995, he was the Robertson-Poth Professor, department of surgery, and from 1987 to 1995 he was interim director, UTMB Cancer Center. He assumed his current roles as professor of physicians assistant studies in 1989, as John Woods Harris Distinguished Chairman in 1995 (a post he held until 2013), as graduate faculty in the cell biology program in 2001, and as Robertson-Poth Distinguished Chair in General Surgery in 2009.
An ACS Fellow since 1981, Dr. Townsend has served in many leadership roles in the organization, most recently as Secretary (2006–2015). Previously, he served as Chair of the ACS Board of Governors (B/G) (2004–2005), on the B/G Executive Committee (1999–2003), and as the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract Governor (1986–1992).
In addition, he served on several Commission on Cancer (CoC) committees, including the CoC Committee on Approvals (1989–1994), the CoC National Cancer Data Base Committee, and the National Cancer Data Base Governing Board (1989–1995). Furthermore, he served on the ACS Committee for the Forum on Fundamental Surgical Problems (1991–1994), the Committee on Papers (2000–2003), the Committee on Special Issues (1991–1994), the Member Services Liaison Committee (2003–2004), and the Nominating Committee of the Fellows (2000–2002). He currently serves on the Surgical Research and Education Committee, which he chaired (1998–2000). At the local level, Dr. Townsend has served on the Southern Texas District #1 Committee on Applicants (1996–1999) and as President of the South Texas Chapter of the ACS (1988–1989).
Dr. Townsend is past-director and chairman of the American Board of Surgery (2000–2006) and previously served on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Residency Review Committee for Surgery (1994–1999). He has been a leader of numerous other professional organizations, including the following: American Pancreatic Association (president, 1992–1993); American Surgical Association (president, 2007–2008); Collegium Internationale Chirurgiae (board of trustees, 1992), James IV Association of Surgeons (board of directors, 1999–2002); Society of Surgical Oncology (executive council, 1994); Southern Surgical Association (secretary, 1998–2003; and president, 2004); Surgical Biology Club I (secretary, 1995–1997); and Texas Surgical Society (council member, 1997–1999). Dr. Townsend is an honorary member of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons and the Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) and is a recipient of the John P. McGovern Lifetime Achievement Award in Oslerian Medicine.
Dr. Townsend has been editor-in-chief of the Sabiston Textbook for Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice since 2000 and was the editor of Surgical Oncology (1992–1999). He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (JACS), Surgery, and The American Journal of Surgery.
A distinguished surgical investigator, Dr. Townsend’s research in gastrointestinal endocrinology and cancer has been supported through grants from the NIH and the American Cancer Society. He has authored or co-authored 416 articles in peer-reviewed publications, 123 articles in other publications, and 364 abstracts.
The Vice-Presidents-Elect also were elected at the Annual Business Meeting. The First Vice-President-Elect is Hilary Sanfey, MB, BCh, BAO, MCh, MA, MHPE, FACS, FRCSI, FRCS, professor of surgery and vice-chair for educational affairs, department of surgery; and associate director, Academy for Scholarship and Education, Southern Illinois School of Medicine, Springfield.
Dr. Sanfey hails from Ireland and graduated from Trinity College Dublin School of Medicine in 1976. She trained in surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin; spent three years as a research fellow at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; and worked as a consultant transplant surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Scotland, for four years before moving to the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, in 1996. She remained on the clinical faculty at the University of Virginia starting as an assistant professor of hepatobiliary surgery in 1991 and leaving in 2008 for Southern Illinois University, Springfield, as a professor of surgery. In 2009 she received a master’s degree in health professions education from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Dr. Sanfey recently spent three months as a specialist advisor in the postgraduate surgical training and education department of surgical affairs, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
An ACS Fellow since 2001, Dr. Sanfey has been the ACS Liaison to the American Medical Association (AMA) Women Physicians Congress (2006–2008) and an ACS Governor (2006–2012). As a Governor, she chaired the B/G Committee on Chapters Subcommittee on Diversity (2009–2011) and the Nominating Committee (2010–2012). In addition, she served on the Executive Committee of the Committee on Medical Student Education (2005–2011) and as a liaison to the Program Committee. She presently serves as faculty for the ACS Residents as Teachers and Leaders Program and on the Executive Committee of the Scholarship Committee. She has been active on the Women in Surgery Committee since 2005 (Executive Committee, 2007–2013; Chair, 2009–2013).
Dr. Sanfey has held high-ranking positions in other prestigious surgical organizations as well, including the AWS (president, 2005–2006) and the U.S. Chapter of the International Surgical Society (president, 2013–2015). In addition, she has served on key committees of the Association of Program Directors in Surgery, the Association for Surgical Education, and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.
Dr. Sanfey is on the editorial boards of the Association for Surgical Education, Journal of the Royal Colleges of Edinburgh and Ireland, and JACS. She is an accomplished surgical investigator and has contributed to nearly 100 peer-reviewed papers and 22 book chapters and has been a frequent guest lecturer and visiting professor at numerous international symposia and workshops.
She is the recipient of many awards in surgical education. In 2010, the AWS’ Outstanding Woman Resident Award was renamed the Hilary Sanfey Outstanding Resident Award, and in 2013 and 2014, respectively, Dr. Sanfey was honored with the AWS Olga Jonasson Distinguished Member Award and the Nina Starr Braunwald Award.
The Second Vice-President-Elect is Mary C. McCarthy, MD, FACS, Elizabeth Berry Gray Chair and Professor, department of surgery, Boonshoft School of Medicine, and adjunct graduate faculty, School of Engineering, Wright State University (WSU); and an acute care surgeon at Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton, OH. Other positions that Dr. McCarthy has held at WSU are as follows: professor of surgery (1994–present); associate professor of surgery (1991–1994); and associate graduate faculty member, school of nursing (1993–1998). Before moving to WSU, she held the following positions at Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine, Indianapolis: assistant professor of surgery (1983–1988), clinical assistant professor of surgery (1988–1989), and clinical associate professor (1989–1990).
An ACS Fellow since 1986, Dr. McCarthy has served in a number of leadership positions within the organization, including ACS Governor (1995–2001). As a Specialty Society Governor for the AWS, she served on the Nominating Committee (member, 1996–1997; Vice-Chair, 1997–1998); the Governors’ Committee on Chapter Activities (1995–2001), chairing the committee’s Subcommittee on Chapter Membership Recruitment, Retention, and Diversification (1998–2001); and Advisor to the Governors Committee on Chapter Activities Executive Committee (1995).
Dr. McCarthy presently serves on the ACS Advisory Council for General Surgery and the Committee on Trauma. She also has served on the Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program (SESAP®) Committee, including as Co-Chair for SESAP XII (1999); the Committee on Continuing Education (member, 1994–1999; Vice-Chair, 1995–1997); the Committee on Applicants for District 6 (present); and the Clinical Congress Abstract Selection Committee (2007–2009). While at IU, she was active in the Indiana Chapter, and she remains active in the Ohio Chapter, having served on the Executive Committee (1995–2001) and the Ohio COT (1991–present).
She is a past-president of the AWS (1990–1992) and has served in prominent positions in the Association for Surgical Education, Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, Halsted Surgical Society, Midwest Surgical Association, Parkland Surgical Society, and Society of Critical Care Medicine.
Dr. McCarthy is the recipient of numerous professional awards, including the American Hospital Association Nova Award, and AWS Distinguished Member and Nina Starr Braunwald Awards. She is a prolific author of peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and abstracts on trauma and critical care.