The American College of Surgeons (ACS) presented the 2019 Jacobson Innovation Award to Henry Buchwald, MD, PhD, FACS, FRCSEng(Hon), at a June 7 dinner held in his honor in Chicago, IL. ACS President Ronald V. Maier, MD, FACS, FRCSEd(Hon), FCSHK(Hon), FCCS(Hon), presented the award to Dr. Buchwald for his pioneering work and innovative research in metabolic and bariatric surgery.
The Jacobson Innovation Award honors living surgeons who have been innovators of a new development or technique in any field of surgery and is made possible through a gift from Julius H. Jacobson II, MD, FACS, and his wife Joan. Dr. Jacobson is a general vascular surgeon known for his trailblazing work in the development of microsurgery.
Dr. Buchwald was honored with this international surgical award for his lifelong dedication to the field of metabolic and bariatric surgery, formerly considered a fringe field for obese patients and excluded from mainstream academic surgical practice. Dr. Buchwald helped transform bariatric surgery into a legitimate field of study and application, and today, bariatric surgery is performed in almost every academic medical center and community hospital in the U.S.
While he was a laboratory resident early in his career, Dr. Buchwald discovered that the ileum is the primary site for the absorption of cholesterol and bile acids. Resultantly, he developed the Buchwald Procedure: the partial ileal bypass (PIB) operation, which bypasses part of the ileum to lower cholesterol levels. The PIB procedure was one of the first surgical techniques to treat a metabolic disease and remains the most potent therapy to lower plasma cholesterol levels.
Among Dr. Buchwald’s extensive research accomplishments is a landmark paper in circulation that led to the multi-institutional trial on the surgical management of hyperlipidemias: Program on the Surgical Control of the Hyperlipidemias, which received continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1973 to 1997. The trial proved the link between cholesterol and heart disease, demonstrating that lowering cholesterol can reduce heart disease and save lives.
Dr. Buchwald has received seven additional NIH grants to study a totally implantable infusion pump device. He founded a separate bioengineering laboratory to produce the first implantable infusion pump, a novel peritoneovenous shunt, one-way flow catheters, and other devices. He later patented the infusion pump for widespread use in insulin delivery, continuous delivery of chemotherapy, and further applications. He holds 20 patents and was inducted into the Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame in 1988.
The 53rd annual Surgical Forum at the 2002 ACS Clinical Congress was dedicated to Dr. Buchwald as “a true surgeon scientist who, through creativity and perseverance, has made seminal contributions to science and society” and who has mentored more than 65 surgical residents and trainees. He has received numerous awards and honors, including a tribute in the U.S. Senate Congressional Record in 1991. He has been elected to five presidencies of national and international professional societies.
View a list of all Jacobson Innovation Award Recipients on the ACS website.