Carlos A. Pellegrini, MD, FACS, FRCS(I)(Hon), The Henry N. Harkins Professor and Chair, department of surgery, University of Washington (UW) Medicine, Seattle, was installed as the 94th President of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) on October 6 during Convocation ceremonies at the 2013 Clinical Congress in Washington, DC.
Dr. Pellegrini has been a Fellow of the College since 1982 and has played a leadership role in the organization, particularly as Chair of the Board of Regents (2010–2011). Dr. Pellegrini began serving on the Board in 2002 and has been a member of the Regents’ Finance (2010–2013), Honors (2002–2013), and Communications (2002–2003) Committees.
He has chaired several other ACS committees, including: the Committee for the Accreditation Review of Education Institutes (2009–2013), the Central Judiciary Committee (2003–2009), the Committee on Medical Motion Pictures (1991-–1992), and the International Guest Scholarship Subcommittee of the International Relations Committee (1988–1989). He has been a member of the Committee on Education (2006–2012), the Executive Compensation Committee (2009–2011), and the Committee on Video-Based Education (1988–1994). Dr. Pellegrini also was Co-Chair of the 2012 Surgeons as Leaders Course and President of the Northern California Chapter of the ACS (1990–1991). At present, Dr. Pellegrini serves on the Steering Committee on Simulation-Based Surgical Education, the Task Force on the Resident 80-Hour Work Week, and the Health Policy and Advocacy Group.
A graduate of the University of Rosario Medical School, Dr. Pellegrini completed his internship and general surgery residency at Granadero Baigorria, Rosario University Hospital, in Argentina. He completed a fellowship in esophageal physiology and surgery and a second general surgery residency at the University of Chicago, IL.
In 1979, he was appointed to the faculty of the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) where he developed and directed a center for gastrointestinal motility. During his tenure at UCSF, the surgical residents and medical students presented him with multiple awards for his outstanding skills as an educator.
Then, in 1993, he was appointed chairman of the department of surgery at the University of Washington, and in 1996, he was named the first Henry N. Harkins Professor and Chair in recognition of his role in strengthening the department of surgery’s clinical, teaching, and research programs.
“I believe in training residents to become ‘total’ physicians, not just technicians,” Dr. Pellegrini said of his teaching and learning philosophy. “In fact, I view learning as a lifelong process for all surgeons, and I myself endeavor to maintain the highest degree of professional competence as a surgeon.”
He is a world-renowned leader in minimally invasive gastrointestinal surgery and a pioneer in the development of video endoscopy for the surgical treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease and esophageal motility disorders. He is credited with the development of the University of Washington’s Center for Videoendoscopic Surgery, the Center for Esophageal and Gastric Surgery, and the Institute for Simulation and Interprofessional Studies. He is a longtime member of the UW Medicine’s highest decision-making bodies and chairs many committees that address a range of issues, including continuous professional improvement, diversity, executive search committees, and oversight of multidisciplinary practices.
A former member of the board of directors of the American Board of Surgery (2003–2009), he has served as president of a number of surgical societies, including the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (1999–2000), the American Surgical Association (2005–2006), the Society of Surgical Chairs (2007–2008), the World Organization of Specialized Studies of Diseases of the Esophagus (2010–2012), and the International Society of Digestive Surgery (2000–2002). He also served two consecutive terms as chair of the Digestive Disease Week Council and is active in many other national and international surgical associations.
A prolific author of scholarly articles, chapters, editorials, and books, Dr. Pellegrini has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Laparoendoscopic Surgery and Advanced Surgical Techniques, Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Surgery, and Annals of Surgery as well as an editorial reviewer for Gastroenterology, Archives of Surgery, and the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
He speaks four languages: English, French, Italian, and Spanish. Dr. Pellegrini and his wife, Kelly Yamaichi, enjoy spending their free time with their two sons Michael and John and their wives Kristine and Julie, and twin grandchildren who all live in San Francisco. Their two golden retriever siblings, Pancho and Melba, bring additional joy to their lives.
The Vice-Presidents for the coming year also were installed Sunday evening during the Convocation. Layton “Bing” Rikkers, MD, FACS, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Editor-in-Chief of Surgery News, is First Vice-President; and John T. Preskitt, MD, FACS, a surgical oncologist at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, TX, is Second Vice-President.
A Fellow since 1980, Dr. Rikkers is the former A.R. Curreri Professor of Surgery and chairman, department of surgery, University of Wisconsin. He is a past-chairman of the American Board of Surgery and is president of the American Surgical Association. Since 2003, he has developed and chaired Surgeons as Leaders: From Operating Room to Boardroom—an ACS course that prepares surgeons for the complex challenges of leadership.
Dr. Preskitt has been a Fellow since 1984 and was a Regent from 2000 to 2009. He chaired the Board of Governors’ Committee on Chapter Relations (1997 to 2000), the Committee on Ethics (2006–2009), and the General Surgery Coding and Reimbursement Committee (2006–2011). He was President of the North Texas Chapter of the College from 1997 to 1998. He is currently clinical professor of surgery, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Baylor campus, and director of surgical oncology at the Baylor Sammons Cancer Center in Dallas.