Patricia J. Numann, MD, FACS, Past-President of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and a general surgeon from Syracuse, NY, received the ACS Lifetime Achievement Award at the Clinical Congress 2019 Convocation, October 27 in San Francisco, CA. Dr. Numann is the Lloyd S. Rogers Professor of Surgery Emeritus, State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University, Syracuse; SUNY Upstate Distinguished Service Professor, and SUNY Upstate Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus.
Dr. Numann is the fourth surgeon to be accorded the ACS Lifetime Achievement Award. Previous recipients are as follows: C. Rollins Hanlon, MD, FACS, Past-Director of the ACS; George F. Sheldon, MD, FACS, ACS Past-President; and Thomas R. Russell, MD, FACS, Past-Executive Director of the ACS.
Dr. Numann became a Fellow of the College in 1974 and has actively contributed to the work of the ACS for many years. She has attended every Clinical Congress since 1969. Most recently, she served on the ACS Foundation Board of Directors (2011−2018), starting as an ex officio member during her College presidency. Among her other leadership positions in the ACS, she served as ACS Second Vice-President (1999−2000) and as Director, ACS Fundamentals of Surgery Curriculum (FSC), and led the ACS FSC Steering Committee. She continues to serve as ACS FSC Co-Chair and on the ACS Entering Resident Readiness Assessment Committee.
Throughout her surgical career, Dr. Numann’s clinical and scientific interests have focused on breast disease and thyroid and parathyroid disease, a commitment reflected in the establishment of the Breast & Endocrine Surgery Center at SUNY Upstate in 1986.
Previously, Dr. Numann was a member of the Board of Regents Communications Committee (1999–2000), Advisory Council for General Surgery (1999–2002), Graduate Medical Education Committee (1992–1994), and member (1992–1994) and Chair (1994–1995) of the Nominating Committee of Fellows and Committee on Surgical Education in Medical Schools (1986–1996). She joined the ACS Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program (SESAP®) Committee in 1976 for SESAP 3 and served as Co-Chair (1983–1999) through eight successful releases—SESAP™ 3 through SESAP™ 10. In 2006, the ACS recognized Dr. Numann for her invaluable service contributions by naming her the recipient of its Distinguished Service Award, the College’s highest honor. In 2018, she was selected as an inaugural Fellow of the ACS Academy of Master Surgeon Educators.
In addition to the ACS, Dr. Numann has been an active leader and member of several other national surgical and medical organizations. In 1987, she was elected to the American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs. She was the first woman to serve as chair of the esteemed American Board of Surgery (1994–2002) and was vice-president of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons (1992). Dr. Numann was one of the founding members and president of the Association for Surgical Education (1985–1986) and founded the Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) in 1982 and later served as its president (1986–1987).
Throughout her remarkable career, Dr. Numann has received numerous honors and awards at the local, state, and national level, including the New York State Woman of Distinction in Medicine Award (1994); the AWS Nina Starr Braunwald Award (1998); and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Distinguished Service Award (2001). The Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund of Central New York named her Humanitarian of the Year in 2003. Dr. Numann was inducted into the International Women Physicians’ Hall of Fame and named a “Local Legend” to the National Library of Medicine’s “Changing Faces of Medicine” exhibit (2004). In 2011, she was awarded the Davis Prize of the International Society of Surgery/Société Internationale de Chirurgie—its highest honor. She received the American Medical Women’s Association Elizabeth Blackwell Award and the Lila M. Wallis Women’s Health Award.
Throughout her surgical career, Dr. Numann’s clinical and scientific interests have focused on breast disease and thyroid and parathyroid disease, a commitment reflected in the establishment of the Breast & Endocrine Surgery Center at SUNY Upstate in 1986. Moreover, she received grants and served as principal investigator or co-investigator of several studies researching various aspects of breast and endocrine disease. When Dr. Numann retired from active clinical practice and as Lloyd S. Rogers Professor of Surgery in 2007, she was awarded emeritus status by SUNY Upstate, and the Breast and Endocrine Center was renamed in her honor. In 2009, it was announced that “in honor of her life’s work and outstanding dedication,” SUNY Upstate was creating its first endowed chair for a woman: the Patricia J. Numann, MD, Chair of Surgery.
Known as an outstanding and motivating educator, Dr. Numann received the Distinguished Teacher Award (1983) and President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (1990) from SUNY, where the graduating medical students have regularly asked her to serve as faculty marshal or to deliver the Hippocratic Oath during commencement.
A native of Denver, NY, Dr. Numann has ardently devoted her entire professional life to SUNY Upstate Medical University. After earning a medical degree there in 1965, she completed a combined internship in medicine and surgery (1965–1966), and trained as a general surgery resident (1966–1970). After residency, Dr. Numann was appointed assistant professor of surgery (1970–1975), and then rose through the academic ranks at SUNY Upstate serving as associate professor of surgery (1975–1989), associate dean of the college of medicine (1978–1984), associate dean of the college of medicine clinical affairs (1989–1994), professor of surgery (1989–2007), medical director of the university hospital (1997–2007), and Lloyd S. Rogers Professor of Surgery (2000–2007).
Dr. Numann also served as attending surgeon at SUNY Upstate Medical University (1989–2007); staff surgeon at Veterans Affairs Hospital (1970–2007); and as consulting surgeon at Crouse-Irving Memorial Hospital (1970–2006), all located in Syracuse. Dr. Numann is board certified by the American Board of Surgery (1971, recertified 1994).
Dr. Numann authored or co-authored several chapters in surgical textbooks, as well as numerous journal articles and abstracts, many of which focus on breast and parathyroid disease. She has served on the editorial boards of several prestigious medical and surgical journals including the Journal of Surgical Research, Journal of the American College of Surgeons, and World Journal of Surgery.
Dr. Numann resides in Syracuse, where she continues to devote herself to many teaching and community service organizations, including the boards of the Everson Museum of Art, The Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York, and Vera House. She chairs the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Funds grant committee and remains an active advocate for women surgeons. She is regularly invited to national and international meetings to speak about topics related to career success and development for women surgeons. She supports Women in Surgery Africa by attending their annual meetings at the College of Surgeons of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA), participating in the COSECSA fellowship exams and mentoring women surgeons in Africa. She is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Glasgow, Academy of Medicine and Surgery of Malaysia, Association of Surgeons of India, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and Royal College of Surgeons of Thailand.