Cato T. Laurencin, MD, PhD, FACS, Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Connecticut (UConn), Storrs, in August 2020 was recognized with the Herbert W. Nickens Award, which is given to individuals who have made significant contributions to promoting justice in medical education and health care equity in the U.S.
Dr. Laurencin also is professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, professor of materials science and engineering, and professor of biomedical engineering at UConn, as well as director of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences. He has devoted his career to social justice, equity, and fairness and reversing racial and ethnic health disparities in science and medicine.
He was one of the first researchers to publish work on the disproportionate effect that coronavirus 2019 was having on Black Americans, is founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, and co-founded the W. Montague Cobb/National Medical Association Health Institute, which addresses health disparities, among many other contributions in this field.
American College of Surgeons (ACS) Governor Vijay Mittal, MD, FACS, clinical professor of surgery, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, in August 2020 was named the Fulbright-Nehru Distinguished Chair for Surgery and Surgical Education by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the J. William Fulbright Board.
Dr. Mittal, section chief of general surgery at Ascension Providence Hospital–Southfield Campus, was recognized for his leadership, role as an educator, mentorship, and scholarship in the field of surgery.
The award is a collaboration between the government of India and the United States-India Education Foundation (USIEF) and is the most prestigious given by the Department of State under the umbrella of the Fulbright Board, along with the Government of India and USIEF. The award rarely is given to a health care professional.
Dr. Mittal is a past-president of the ACS Michigan Chapter, the International College of Surgeons U.S. Section, the Academy of Surgery of Detroit, the Detroit Surgical Association, and the Indo-American Surgical Association.
Raghu Ram Pillarisetti, MB, BS, FACS, director, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences–Ushalakshmi Centre for Breast Diseases and founder/chief executive officer of Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation, in January was named to Queen Elizabeth II’s 2021 New Year’s Honours list.
Dr. Pillarisetti in 2020 was one of the youngest surgeons to serve as president of the Association of Surgeons of India, Asia-Pacific’s largest and the world’s second-largest surgical organization, representing practicing surgeons and surgical trainees in India. At 54 years old, Dr. Pillarisetti has achieved the distinction of becoming one of the youngest surgeons of Indian origin in more than 100 years to be honored by the queen with an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. He was recognized for outstanding services toward improving breast cancer care and surgical education in India and to enhancing U.K/India relations.
Dr. Pillarisetti is recognized for his leadership in helping Indian surgical trainees receive specialty breast surgery training in the U.K., establishing KIMS-Ushalakshmi in 2007, and his role as a driving force in establishing the Association of Breast Surgeons of India in 2011, among other achievements.
Lankenau Heart Institute, Wynnewood, PA, part of Main Line Health, in August 2020 named cardiothoracic surgeon Basel Ramlawi, MD, FACS, FACC, system chief of cardiac surgery for Main Line Health and co-director of the Lankenau Heart Institute. Dr. Ramlawi has nearly 20 years of experience in complex and minimally invasive cardiovascular surgery.
In his new position, Dr. Ramlawi oversees Lankenau’s team of cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, and subspecialists who focus on prevention, diagnostics, treatment, rehabilitation, and disease management. He also will supervise the expansion of the Lankenau Heart Institute’s cardiac surgery program.
Dr. Ramlawi most recently served as chairman of the Heart & Vascular Center at Valley Health System, Winchester, VA, where he served as founding director of the Advanced Valve and Aortic Center. Prior to joining Valley Health System, Dr. Ramlawi held positions at world-renowned health systems including the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, Houston, TX, and Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, NY. He has received several prestigious awards, including the American Heart Association’s Vivien Thomas Award, The American Federation for Medical Research Henry Christian Award, and the Detweiler Fellowship from The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Stephen A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD, FACS, 2018 ACS Jacobson Innovation Award recipient, in November 2020 received the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery’s 2020 Samuel D. Gross Prize, which is given every five years for the best original research in surgery by a U.S. citizen.
Dr. Rosenberg is surgery branch chief, senior investigator, and head, Tumor Immunology Section for the National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research, Bethesda, MD. He has pioneered the development of effective immunotherapies and gene therapies for patients with advanced cancers, and his studies of the adoptive transfer of genetically modified lymphocytes have resulted in the regression of metastatic cancer in patients with melanoma, sarcomas, and lymphomas.
Dr. Rosenberg’s current research is aimed at defining the host immune response of patients to their cancers, which emphasize the ability of human lymphocytes to recognize unique cancer antigens and the identification of anti-tumor T-cell receptors that can be exploited to develop new cell transfer immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer patients.