The Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) will present its highest honor given annually, the Distinguished Service Award, to David P. Winchester, MD, FACS, at the Clinical Congress 2021 virtual Convocation, Sunday evening, October 24. The Regents’ Honors Committee selected Dr. Winchester for this distinction “in appreciation for his exceptional and continuous service as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and his role as Medical Director for the College’s Commission on Cancer, the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC), the National Cancer Database, and the American College of Surgeons Cancer Research Program,” according to the award citation.
The award recognizes “his vision and dedication in developing a national accreditation program related to the alignment of the highest standards and quality of care in the treatment of breast cancer and rectal cancer”—the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) and the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer, respectively. It also acknowledges “his exemplary leadership of the College’s many Cancer Program initiatives”; his representation on behalf of the College to other surgical and medical professional organizations; and “his role as a mentor, teacher, and trainer of the next generation of surgical oncologists.”
A career of leadership and recognition
A Fellow of the College since 1974, Dr. Winchester served as Medical Director, ACS Cancer Programs, from 1985 to 1998 and 2001 to 2019, when he retired from the College. In this capacity, he also served as Executive Director, AJCC (1992−1998, 2001−2019), and Chairman of the Board, NAPBC (2006−2011).
He spent much of his career in active practice at Evanston Hospital, IL, and in academic surgery at Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL. At Evanston Hospital, he served in the following positions: senior attending surgeon (1976−2013); head, surgical oncology (1977−1995); chief, division of general surgery (1986−1995); chairman, department of surgery, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare (ENH, 1995−2007); and chairman of the board, ENH Medical Group (1998−2007). At Northwestern, he was professor of surgery (1992−2009) and associate dean for medical affairs (2000−2007).
In addition to the College’s Distinguished Service Award, Dr. Winchester has been honored by many other institutions and professional societies. He was named outstanding faculty teacher of the year, department of surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (1990, 1993, 1998, 2006, and 2007) and honored by the graduating class for outstanding teaching (1994, 1995, and 1998). He also received the 2008 Dean’s Award from Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the Excellence in Teaching Award, department of surgery, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine (2011, 2012, and 2013).
He has received the St. George Medal, Illinois Division, American Cancer Society (1994); the James Ewing Medal, Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO, 1998), and was the first recipient of the society’s Distinguished Service Award (2013). He delivered the Robert D. Moreton Lecture at the 1997 annual meeting of the American College of Radiology (1997) and is an Honorary Fellow of that organization (2000).
He has held leadership positions in several professional societies. He was a member of the board of directors (1980−1992) and president (1986−1988), Illinois Division, American Cancer Society. He was a member, board of directors, of the Rice Foundation (1988−1997). He has been a member of the executive council (1988−1998), secretary (1993−1996), and president (1997−1998) of the SSO, as well as president of the Northwestern University Medical School National Alumni Board (2013−2015).
Dr. Winchester is a member of the following organizations: Alpha Omega Alpha, the Institute of Medicine of Chicago, Association for Academic Surgeons, Chicago Surgical Society, Central Surgical Association, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Western Surgical Association, American Surgical Association, American Society of Breast Surgeons, M.D. Anderson Associates, American Radium Society, and American Society of Breast Disease.
Other contributions to surgery
Dr. Winchester has served on the editorial boards of The Journal of the Northwestern University Cancer Center; Cancer (associate editor, 1999); Annals of Surgical Oncology; Journal of Surgical Oncology; International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics; and AJCC Cancer Staging Atlas (editor, 2002). In addition, he is an ad hoc reviewer for the New England Journal of Medicine, Archives of Surgery, Journal of the American College of Surgeons, and American Journal of Surgery.
Dr. Winchester has authored or coauthored 252 articles for publication in scholarly journals, 10 book chapters, five books, and seven monographs. He has completed 14 visiting professorships at internationally renowned academic medical centers, has been an invited speaker at 85 professional society meetings, and has mentored 12 ACS Clinical Scholars.
He earned his bachelor of arts, medical, and master of science degrees at Northwestern University and Northwestern University Medical School. He did his internship at Evanston Hospital and general surgery residency at Northwestern University Medical Center. He was a senior clinical fellow in surgery and was faculty associate, department of surgery, University of Texas, MD Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, Houston. Dr. Winchester was a Captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps (1964−1966) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, and the Republic of Vietnam.
Dr. Winchester is considered a natural leader, who possesses integrity, vision, and a steadfast commitment to the College’s initiatives and principles. As the citation notes, he serves as a role model to surgeons everywhere “to always do the right thing for patients.”