SAN DIEGO: Five surgeons have received the 2022 American College of Surgeons (ACS)/Pfizer Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards in recognition of their selfless efforts as volunteer surgeons serving medically underserved patients.
The exceptional contributions of these five honorees were recognized at the 2022 ACS Clinical Congress during the annual Board of Governors Reception and Dinner last night. Awards are determined by the ACS Board of Governors Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards Workgroup and administered through the ACS Operation Giving Back program.
The ACS/Pfizer Academic Global Surgeon Award were presented James Allen Brown, MD, FACSGeneral Surgeon at Johns Island, South Carolina, for nearly two decades of work in the surgical education and training of physicians in Cameroon.
During his time as a surgeon in the United States Navy and as a private physician, Dr. Brown participated in several medical mission trips to Latin America, Asia and Africa. In 2003 he traveled to northern Cameroon for two and a half weeks where he experienced an overwhelming lack of surgical services and realized that surgical training could help fill these gaps. In 2008, Dr. Brown and his wife traveled to Cameroon full-time and worked with the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality surgical education in Africa.
dr Brown’s contributions to academic surgery in Cameroon through his work at Mbingo Baptist Hospital have been extensive and transformative. Among his accomplishments was the establishment of a Residency Review Committee composed of all PAACS training program leaders, the chief hospital administrator, chief nurse, chief chaplain, and chief residents of each program.
During his time in Cameroon, Dr. Brown to improve residency training. He has partnered with numerous international university programs to form partnerships to accommodate residents and faculty for global surgical rotations and research; worked to obtain hospital accreditation from regional surgical societies such as the College of Surgeons for East, Central and South Africa; and established collaborative relationships with national surgeons, hospitals, and medical schools to share resources, enhance consultation, and provide training.
Eid B. Mustafa, MD, FACSreceived the ACS/Pfizer International Surgical Volunteer Award for his 30+ years of volunteering surgical and medical services to the people of the Palestinian West Bank and other underserved areas of the Middle East.
dr Born in the West Bank, Mustafa received his medical training in Egypt before moving to the United States to pursue his residency and fellowship training in plastic and reconstructive surgery. After completing his training, he relocated to medically underserved Wichita Falls, Texas, where he was the sole practicing plastic and reconstructive surgeon for many years. His international volunteering began in earnest in 1987 when he met Charles Horton, MD, the founder of Physicians for Peace, who worked with Dr. Mustafa worked together to initiate medical missions in the West Bank the following year.
For most years, Dr. Mustafa to the West Bank for 10 to 21 days. His initial efforts focused on congenital defects, burn treatment, and injury reconstruction. As his missionary work evolved, he recruited a multidisciplinary team aligned with the needs of each individual community, including specialists in urology, orthopedics, peripheral vascular surgery, cardiothoracic non-pump surgery, cardiology, and physical therapy. With the advent of minimally invasive surgery during this period, he arranged for equipment and training to be made available in the West Bank to accommodate the growing interest.
dr Mustafa was an international ambassador for the ACS, proud of his fellowship and promoting the ideals of the college. He began teaching the principles of the Advanced Trauma Life Support curriculum in the West Bank years ago, at a time when political divisions prevented the course from being formally recognized and certified.
Two ACS/Pfizer Resident Surgical Volunteerism Awards were presented this year. The first recipient Alexis Bowder, MDa general surgeon based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, received the award for her 10 years of volunteer work in practice, education and research, primarily in Haiti.
dr Bowder has been involved in global volunteerism since 2012, when she spent six weeks between her freshman and sophomore years of medical school as an interpreter at a primary care clinic in Honduras. Between her third and fourth years of medical school, she spent a year at the Hopital Universitaire Mirebalais in Haiti, where she worked as a research associate in Harvard Medical School’s Global Surgery and Social Change program. As a sub-intern, Dr. Bowder recorded vital signs of all surgical patients and removed bandages prior to ward rounds. In the operating room, she filled various roles ranging from circulation to first assistant. Patients seen in the surgical clinic or in the area surrounding the hospital were given their phone number and could contact them if they encountered perioperative problems. In addition to working with the Haitian team, she was the liaison for all visiting surgical teams from the United States or internationally. She helped visitors reach the hospital, find patients for evaluation, and plan procedures.
As a resident, despite ongoing political unrest especially in the capital, Port-au-Prince, she regularly traveled to Haiti, where she shifted the focus of her clinical and educational efforts to also include St. Boniface Hospital in Fond-des-Blancs. while dr Bowder continued to participate in the daily rounds and post-operative care of patients, he devoted more time to developing the surgical research skills of Haitian medical students, interns and faculty and supporting their clinical research.
The second ACS/Pfizer Resident Surgical Volunteerism Award was given Matthew Goldshore, MD, MPH, PhDa general surgeon based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for his work in establishing the Center for Surgical Health (CSH), which serves as the access point to quality surgical care for patients who typically rely on emergency room care.
dr Goldshore’s educational background in public health helped him develop the skills needed to become a key part of the development of CSH, which opened in 2021. Multiple partners across the city are supporting the expansion of clinical services.
Recognizing that changing the landscape of surgical care for at-risk populations requires a multi-pronged approach, including improving access to surgical consultation and operative intervention, interdisciplinary research into public health and clinical outcomes, and beyond, Dr. Goldshore developed a patient-centric, one-to-one procedure system that CSH uses in healthcare centers to assess surgical conditions. Patients are immediately assigned to an interdisciplinary Personal Patient Navigator team made up of medical, nursing, legal and social work trainees. The team follows the patient throughout their perioperative course, registering them in the Penn Medicine system and submitting requests for medical assistance to the state.
Education and advocacy are critical elements to the successful operation of a practice like CSH, and Dr. Goldshore is closely involved in supporting each of these pillars. He teaches courses at CSH, the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and the Measey Surgical Education program, which is funded by a grant he submitted. As advocate, Dr. Goldshore has been instrumental in securing funding for CSH and key personnel at the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Perelman’s Department of Surgery.
Ted Sugimoto, MD, FACS, received the ACS/Pfizer Surgical Humanitarian Award for his more than three decades of work providing surgical care to disadvantaged patients in several African countries.
dr Sugimoto first became involved as a medical volunteer when he was a medical student and traveling to the Dominican Republic. He and his wife, a registered nurse, decided to work full-time abroad after completing his general surgical training. In 1989 he began his full-time career as a surgical volunteer in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and has since divided his time between the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Senegal and Somalia.
Much of his surgical career was spent by Dr. Sugimoto in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia, both unstable areas, and he and his family have sometimes been in personal danger due to conflict. For example, he was working in eastern DRC in 2002 when tribal conflicts escalated into a war that resulted in the massacre of at least 3,000 people from both tribes involved in the conflict. Many patients, hospital workers and others were killed. Much of the hospital, which was built in the 1950s, and the surrounding homes and buildings were destroyed, including the house where the Sugimoto family first lived when they moved to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. During these dire situations, Dr. Sugimoto continued to care for the locals and those who were victims of the conflict.
Despite the relative stability of Kenya and Senegal, Dr. Sugimoto with underserved populations in these areas and often cared for patients who could not receive care in government hospitals because they could not afford the costs.
Editor’s Note: Photographs of award winners are available upon request from the ACS Office of Public Information. Email: email@example.com.