Prof. Italo F. Braghetto is a general surgeon specializing in gastric and esophageal surgery. He was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1948 and attended primary and secondary school at Liceo Salesiano Don Bosco in Santiago. He had a great penchant for sports as a child and began playing soccer in his early adolescence and continued to play throughout most of his adult life. His sport of choice these days is soft kayaking and bocce. During his early years, he also was part of a scouting group and was baptized by his scout chiefs as “cunning tiger” for his clever and intuitive approaches to problems and obstacles outside of the norm.
He attended medical school at the Universidad de Chile Medical School, Santiago, and completed his general surgery residency training there in the late 1970s. In residency, he spent a year as a guest scholar studying digestive surgery at the University of Rome, Italy, with Prof. Giuseppe Grassi, MD. He received further training in digestive surgery at the Universidad de Chile from 1980 through 1981 and was appointed coordinator of research. In 1989, he received an American College of Surgeons guest scholarship to visit Creighton University, Omaha, NE; the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; the University of California, San Francisco; and New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston, MA, to learn esophageal surgery techniques.
When he returned to Chile in 1990, he was appointed vice-chair of the digestive surgery unit at the Universidad de Chile Clinical Hospital and was promoted in 1994 to the position of chairman of their unit. He then began pursuing an additional degree in health administration, which he earned in 2000, and was appointed general director of the Universidad de Chile Clinical Hospital, a position he held until 2005. In 2006, he was named medical director of Avansalud Clinic in Santiago and was elected chair of the department of surgery of Universidad de Chile Clinical Hospital. He held that position from 2013 through 2015.
Professor Braghetto’s main contributions are in the field of gastric and esophageal surgery with numerous books, book chapters, and more than 400 publications on related subjects. As an academic surgeon, he has been a devoted teacher and active in building an international surgical network in Latin America and supporting scientific surgical societies. He is recognized as a surgical leader in Latin America and is a member of many national and international surgical societies, including our College, since 1984. He was president of the Chilean Surgical Society and president of the College’s Chilean Chapter in 1989. He has received many awards during his professional life and is an honorary member of several Latin American surgical societies.
His students and mentees are appreciative of his leadership, and one of our Past-Presidents, Carlos Pellegrini, MD, FACS, FRCSI(Hon), FRCSEng(Hon), FRCSEd(Hon), who has known him most of his professional life, states, “I believe his standing among Latin American surgeons and his standing in the world of GI [gastrointestinal] surgery make him an ideal candidate for the Honorary Fellowship.”