Barbara Lee Bass, MD, FACS, FRCS(Hon), the John F. and Carolyn Bookout Presidential Endowed Chair and chair, department of surgery, Houston Methodist Hospital, TX, was installed as the 98th President of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) at the Convocation Ceremony at Clinical Congress 2017 in San Diego, CA.
Dr. Bass is highly regarded for her outstanding clinical and academic contributions to general surgery and her commitment to teaching the next generation of surgeons. She is the executive director of the Houston Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation and Education (MITIE), 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 the Houston Methodist Institute for Academic Medicine, and senior member of the Houston Methodist Hospital Research Institute. Dr. Bass was elected to honorary fellowship in the Royal College of Surgeons earlier this year.
Before taking on her roles at Houston Methodist Hospital in 2005, Dr. Bass was professor of surgery (1994−2005), associate chair for research and academic affairs, and general surgery residency program director, department of surgery, University of Maryland, Baltimore (1999−2005). While at the University of Maryland, Dr. Bass also served as chief, gastrointestinal surgical research (1994−2005), Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, Baltimore. Earlier appointments included faculty positions at the George Washington University School of Medicine, the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USUHS), and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
A Fellow of the College since 1988 and the 2013 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award—the College’s highest honor—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), Member Services Liaison Committee (2004–2008), Central Judiciary Committee (2002–2005), 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).
Prior to becoming a Regent, 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). In addition, she served on the ACS Health Policy Advisory Committee (2008–2010) and the Transition to Practice workgroup (2012). She served on the ACS Women in Surgery Committee for many years as a member and then as a consultant until 2014. She delivered the Olga M. Jonasson, MD, Lecture at Clinical Congress 2014.
Dr. Bass has been a champion of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®) since its inception at the VA. While at the VA Medical Center in Baltimore, she helped to launch the program, and served as a principal investigator at a participating institution in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s testing of the program (1994−2002). She went on to serve on the NSQIP Steering Committee (2004–2010).
A contributor to a number of ACS educational initiatives, Dr. Bass was an author for the Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program (1996−2002). During her term as an ACS Regent and Chair of the American Board of Surgery, she served on the American Surgical Association’s Blue Ribbon Committee, cosponsored by the ACS, to evaluate and recommend changes in surgical training. As Chair of the Program Committee, she led the Clinical Congress strategic planning process in 2006. As a result, the annual meeting was restructured progressively between 2007 and 2010 to facilitate access to high-quality specialty and program-specific content tracks. Programmatic review, targeted expansion, a review course for board examination preparation, Meet-the-Expert Sessions, and Town Hall meetings were added to the Clinical Congress during this process. Dr. Bass continued to serve as a consultant to the Program Committee until 2014.
She serves as Co-Chair of the Committee on Skills Training for Surgeons in Practice with Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS, FRCSC, Director, ACS Division of Education. This committee is working to address retooling needs and strategies for practicing surgeons who need to acquire new skills. To launch this effort, she hosted the “Retooling Reimagined” symposium at MITIE in 2016 and a national invitational meeting of stakeholders at the ACS this summer.
Dr. Bass has held leadership roles in other professional organizations, including serving as chair, American Board of Surgery; president, Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract; president, Society of Surgical Chairs; and treasurer, American Surgical Association. She has inspired other women in surgery and as a result has received the Nina Starr Braunwald Award and the Olga Jonasson Distinguished Member Award from the Association of Women Surgeons.
A mentor to more than 50 pre- and postdoctoral fellows, she has authored or co-authored 155 peer-reviewed papers, and has delivered more than 60 named lectureships and many other invited lectureships in the U.S. and around the globe. 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 (NIH), the VA Research program, the National Science Foundation, and other groups. Her first grant was an ACS Faculty Research Award (1987). She has served as a member of the NIH Surgery and Bioengineering Section and has served on the editorial boards or as associate editor of many surgical journals, including the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Annals of Surgery, and Surgery. Her continuing practice in endocrine and breast surgery affords her the opportunity to enjoy the rewards of serving patients as a surgeon and to contribute to the education and training of residents and medical students.
Dr. Bass graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of science degree from Tufts University, Medford, MA (1975). She earned her medical degree (1979) from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, where she was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. She completed her surgical internship and general surgery residency at George Washington University, Washington, DC (1986), while completing a gastrointestinal surgical research fellowship and serving as Captain, U.S. Army Medical Corps (1982−1984).
During the Convocation, Charles D. Mabry, MD, FACS, was installed as ACS First Vice-President, and Basil Pruitt, Jr., MD, FACS, FCCM, MCCM, was installed as ACS Second Vice-President.
Dr. Mabry is a general surgeon from Pine Bluff, AR, and associate professor of surgery and practice management advisor to the chair, department of surgery, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock. Dr. Mabry also is medical director of physician practice management, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, Pine Bluff.
Dr. Mabry serves on the Governor’s Trauma Advisory Committee for the State of Arkansas and is Chair of the Committee’s Quality Improvement Subcommittee. He is Chairman of the Board for the Arkansas Preferred Provider Organization. He previously served on the Continuing Medical Education Committee and Vice-Chair of the Board for the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care. In addition, he has served on the Governor’s Advisory Council for Emergency Medical Service−Training Committee.
A Fellow of the College since 1988, Dr. Mabry has been a tireless and committed volunteer since he joined the Young Surgeons Committee in 1989. He was a member of the committee until 1993 and then went on to serve as Vice-Chair through 1995. His command of analytical data and effective communication skills led to his appointment to represent the ACS on the American Medical Association Relative Value Update Committee (1995−present). In a related activity, he serves on the ACS General Surgery Coding and Reimbursement Committee (1992−present). At present, Dr. Mabry is a member of the ACS Health Policy Advisory Group and Chair of the Health Policy Advisory Council.
He served three terms on the Board of Regents (2002−2011). As a Regent, he was a member of the Finance Committee (2003−2011), the Executive Committee (2010−2011), and the Advisory Council for Pediatric Surgery (2002−2003); he chaired the Member Services Liaison Committee (2008−2011) and the Health Policy Steering Committee (2006−2009). Dr. Mabry also has served on the Board of Governors Committee on Socioeconomic Issues (2007−2009, 2011−2013) and Health Policy and Advocacy Workgroup (2013−2014), the Program Committee (2006−2009, 2011−2014), and the Communications Committee (1991−1995, 2002−2003). He is a Past-President of the Arkansas Chapter, Past-Chair of the Arkansas Committee on Trauma, and member of the Arkansas Committee on Applicants.
Dr. Mabry is a 1971 graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, Conway. He earned his medical degree and completed his general surgery residency at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (1975 and 1979, respectively).
Dr. Pruitt is Past-Governor of the ACS; the Dr. Ferdinand P. Herff Chair in Surgery, clinical professor of surgery, department of surgery, trauma division, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio; and professor of surgery, USUHS. Dr. Pruitt is an esteemed leader in four broad areas: burn, trauma, injury, and critical care surgery; biomedical research and scholarship; organizational leadership and development; and mentorship.
In 1967−1968, Dr. Pruitt was chief of surgery and chief of professional services at the busiest evacuation hospital in Vietnam (400−500 major operations per month) and then chief of the trauma research team, studying the cardiopulmonary responses to injury in combat casualties. Dr. Pruitt served as Commander and Director of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research for 27 years and became a trailblazer in the management of trauma, burns, and critical care patients worldwide.
Dr. Pruitt has been recognized with appointments to NIH study sections, the VA Merit Review Board for Surgery, and the Shriners Hospitals Research Advisory Board and Clinical Outcomes Studies Advisory Board. He has served as a reviewer and referee for the Hong Kong Research Grants Council, the BC (British Columbia) Health Research Foundation and Alberta Heritage Foundation, the U.S. VA, and the NIH. Perhaps Dr. Pruitt’s most enduring legacy is his mentorship of a cadre of leading physicians and scientists, including 46 directors of burn centers, more than 20 department chairs, and 11 past-presidents of the American Burn Association.
Dr. Pruitt has received national and international commendations for his contributions to patient care. A few examples include the National Safety Council’s Surgeons Award for Distinguished Service to Safety, the Danis Prize of the Société Internationale de Chirurgie, the Medallion for Scientific Achievement of the American Surgical Association, the Distinguished Investigator Award of the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the G. Whitaker International Burns Prize, the Tanner-Vandeput-Boswick International Burn Prize, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society of University Surgeons, the Roswell Park Medal, and the King Faisal International Prize in Medicine. This year, the ACS has distinguished Dr. Pruitt as an Icon in Surgery.
A Fellow of the College since 1966, Dr. Pruitt was an ACS Governor (1973−1979), serving on the Board of Governors (B/G) Nominating Committee (1977−1979, Chair, 1978−1979). He has served on what is now known as the Committee on Perioperative Care (1969−1975; Vice-Chair, 1973−1975; Senior Member, 1975−1979). He remained on the Editorial Committee of that committee (1979−1984) and was a contributing author or co-editor of Manual of Surgical Nutrition (1974), Manual on Control of Surgical Infections, 1st edition (1976), Manual of Surgical Critical Care (1977), Manual of Preoperative and Postoperative Care, and the Manual on Control of Infection in Surgical Patients, 2nd edition (1984). He has played an active role on the Committee on Trauma (1974−1980, Senior Member, 1980−1984), the International Relations Committee (1982−1989, Chair 1987–1989), and the Surgical History Group (2013−present; Chair, Program Committee, 2014−present). He has served as an Advanced Trauma Life Support instructor (1981−present), on Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program development committees, as a Scudder Orator (1984), and as an Excelsior Surgical Society/Edward D. Churchill Lecturer (1988). He served on the Executive Committee (1974−1980) and as a Councilor (1981−1984) of the South Texas Chapter of the ACS.
In addition to his many years of service to the College, Dr. Pruitt has served as president of 12 surgical societies, including the American Burn Association, American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, American Surgical Association, Halsted Society, International Society for Burn Injuries, Southern Surgical Association, and the Western Surgical Association. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons and an honorary member of the Japanese Association for Acute Medicine. He served for 20 years as the associate editor and 17 years as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Trauma.
Dr. Pruitt graduated from Harvard College, Boston, MA (1952), and Tufts Medical School (1957). He completed his initial surgical training at Boston City Hospital (1962) and completed his surgical residency at Brooke General Hospital, San Antonio, TX (1964).