Newswise — CHICAGO: Earlier this evening, Honorary Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons (ACS) was awarded to nine prominent surgeons from around the world during the virtual Convocation ceremony, which preceded the opening of the virtual ACS Clinical Congress 2020, one of the largest educational meetings of surgeons in the world. This year's recipients were: 

Prof. Wilhelmus “Willem” A. Bemelman, MD, colorectal group leader, department of surgery, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Professor Bemelman is known internationally for his work as a surgeon, scholar, and leader in colorectal surgery. He currently is the lead of the colorectal group in the department of surgery at the Academic Medical Center (AMC), University of Amsterdam, which has experienced great success in minimally invasive surgery. Professor Bemelman is the sitting president of the European Society of Coloproctology and the immediate past secretary-treasurer of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation. He received his medical degree from the University of Amsterdam and completed his surgical training at AMC and St. Lucas Andreas Hospital, Amsterdam. He later joined the department of surgery at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands as a consultant gastrointestinal surgeon, specializing in benign gastrointestinal disease. In 1999, Professor Bemelman returned to AMC as a consultant colorectal and laparoscopic surgeon to develop minimally invasive surgery. At AMC, he acquired a national reputation through excellent clinical outcomes and established what is now one of the most advanced units in the Netherlands for the laparoscopic treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. He was appointed full professor of minimal invasive and colorectal surgery at AMC in 2006. He has had multiple research grants in the areas of minimally invasive treatment of IBD, colorectal cancer, and reoperative surgery, and has conducted several randomized clinical trials, all of which have had a profound influence on surgical practice in colorectal surgery. Professor Bemelman has published more than 500 manuscripts in academic, peer-reviewed journals and other publications.

Prof. André Jan Louis D’Hoore, MD, PhD, professor of surgery and head of the department of abdominal surgery at University Hospital in Leuven, Belgium

Professor D’Hoore is an internationally renowned abdominal and colorectal surgeon specializing in minimally invasive treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer, who received his medical degree, magna cum laude, from the Catholic University of Leuven in 1988. After his residency, he joined the staff of the abdominal surgery department at the University Clinic Leuven. He pursued additional international postgraduate training in colorectal surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Hospital, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; St. Mark’s Hospital in London, England; and Hôpital Cantonal in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2000, Professor D’Hoore became a European Board Qualified Surgeon in Coloproctology. Professor D’Hoore is an officer of several prestigious surgical societies, including permanent board membership in the Section of Colorectal Surgery of the Royal Belgian Society of Surgery; treasurer of the International College of Surgeons; and board membership in the European Association of Endoscopic Surgery, the Belgium Society of Surgical Oncology, and the Familial Polyposis Association. He is a founding member of the European Society of Coloproctology, and is the founder and past-president of the surgical branch of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation. He also is the president of the Collegium Chirurgicum Belgium. Most recently, Professor D’Hoore received honorary membership in the American Society of Colorectal Surgery and honorary fellowship in the Mexican Society of Colorectal Surgery.

Prof. Antonio Di Cataldo, MD, FACS, chief, division of oncological surgery, University of Catania, Italy

Professor Di Cataldo is an acclaimed academic leader renowned for his clinical expertise in complex gastrointestinal and oncologic surgery; for his contributions to the development of microsurgery as a research tool in gastrointestinal and visceral transplantation; and for fostering international collaboration among surgeons. He received his medical degree from the University of Catania, where he completed his general surgery residency. In the first part of his career, Professor Di Cataldo also attended the Experimental Laboratory of the University of San Diego, California. He has served as president of the International Society for Experimental Microsurgery, as honorary president of the International Society for Experimental Microsurgery, and as a member of the Board of the Italian Full Professors of General Surgery. He is a member of the Italian Society of Surgery. He also has served as President of the Italy Chapter of the American College of Surgeons and as the College’s Governor representing Italy. In 2009 and in 2017, he was President of the Annual Meeting of the Italy Chapter of ACS. In 2018, he was President of the III Meeting of the European Governors of ACS. He also is a member of the International College of Surgeons (ICS) and has been president of the Italian Section of ICS. Professor Di Cataldo is a recipient of the Sun Lee Award, a prestigious prize in the field of experimental microsurgery. He has published more than 300 scientific papers and book chapters, and has been an invited speaker at national and international meetings in Europe, America, and Asia.

Prof. José Manuel Fábrega Sosa, MD, FACS, FSSO, APMC, professor of surgery, University of Panama, Panama.

Professor Fábrega the first president and founder of the Panamanian Association of Oncological Surgery (Asociación Panameña de Cirugía Oncológica), created to regulate and organize cancer treatment. He is a medical pioneer, introducing surgical techniques and educational processes to the Republic of Panama. He also founded the surgical intensive care unit at the Social Security Hospital, the largest hospital in Panama. Professor Fábrega is credited with being among the first to introduce the use of extracorporeal limb perfusion in the treatment of cancer (mostly sarcomas and melanomas) as well as infusional limb chemotherapy. Additionally, he introduced the concept for resident rotations and a formal residency education system in Panama. From 1995 to 1999, Professor Fábrega was appointed the private physician in charge of the president of Panama and as advisor to the presidency in health matters. He has served as chairman of a number of committees, organizing a variety of clinical congresses and medical meetings. Distinctions conferred to Professor Fábrega include a resolution approved by the Senate of the Republic of Panama naming him Meritorious Citizen of the Republic, and the president of the Republic of Panama bestowed him with the country’s highest civil medal, the Order of Vasco Nuñez de Balboa. He received his medical degree from George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC, and continued his training at the New York Hospital–Cornell Medical Center.

Prof. Manfred Frey, MD, founder, International Center for Facial Nerve Surgery, Vienna, Austria

Professor Frey is an internationally recognized and respected reconstructive plastic surgeon and plastic surgery researcher. His career has been highlighted by his leading research and clinical care in the area of facial reanimation for patients with facial movement disorders. Professor Frey studied medicine at the University of Vienna. He completed specialist medical training as a surgeon and specializing in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Second University Clinic for Surgery, Vienna. In the past decade, Professor Frey was elected secretary general and president of the European Association of Plastic Surgeons in 2011 and 2015, respectively, and elected president of the Austrian Society of Surgery (Österreichische Gesellschaft für Chirurgie) in 2012. He retired from the Medical University of Vienna in 2013, the same year he established the acclaimed International Center for Facial Surgery. Throughout his career Professor Frey has served as an invited or keynote lecturer around the world. His reputation as a leading clinician and scientist is credited as the driving force of the Vienna Muscle Symposium, for years the most important international gathering for clinicians and researchers from diverse disciplines to share basic science and clinical care for patients with movement disorders. His research lab and clinical work has generated more than 440 peer-reviewed publications or abstracts. The honors bestowed on Professor Frey include the Theodor Billroth Prize of the Austrian Society of Surgery and the Georg Friedrich Götz Prize of the Medical Faculty of the University of Zurich, Switzerland. 

Prof. Seyed Ali Malek-Hosseini, MD, director of the Shiraz Organ Transplant Center, and founder of the Abo Ali Sina Charity Center, Iran

Professor Malek-Hosseini is president of the Iranian Society for Organ Transplantation. His acclaim as an exemplary member of the transplantation arena, providing relief to hundreds of patients every year, extends from the Middle East to all over the world. Professor Malek-Hosseini, after graduating from Tehran University School of Medicine in Iran, completed his residency in surgery at the Shiraz School of Medicine and his fellowship in kidney transplantation at Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran. He then traveled to the U.S. to complete a research fellowship program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania, with transplant pioneer Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, FACS. After returning to Iran, Professor Malek-Hosseini built the current largest liver transplant program from scratch in a middle-income country. Professor Malek-Hosseini developed and organized the organ procurement program in Iran, and performed the first cadaveric kidney transplant in 1992, the first liver transplant in 1993, the first partial liver transplant in 1998, and the first right lobe liver transplant in 2002. His numerous contributions to the field and to the region include the training of young surgeons. 

Prof. Denis Mukengere Mukwege, MD, Nobel Prize laureate and medical director of Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Professor Mukwege and Nadia Murad, co-presidents of the G7 General Equality Advisory Council, were the 2018 recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of armed conflict. Professor Mukwege has received numerous honors for his surgical contributions and humanitarian efforts, including the Penn Nursing Renfield Foundation Award for Global Women’s Health, The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament, and the Clinton Global Citizen Award. He has extensive experience managing severe injuries in women who have been tortured and/or raped. Professor Mukwege has been a strong advocate for women, which is reflected in his writing in 22 published peer-reviewed articles. He is the namesake of the International Mukwege Chair on Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict at the University of Liège, Belgium. He is the co-author of Panzi, written with Guy-Bernard Cadière, MD, PhD, and published in 2014. Since 1991, he has been a professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the Evangelical University of Africa in the Congo. Among the additional positions Professor Mukwege holds are president of the Global Survivor Fund, Switzerland, and rapporteur in the office of the World Health Organization, Switzerland. He received his general medical education and training in Burundi from the Faculty of Medicine in Bujumbura, followed by obstetrical and gynecological studies in France at the Faculty of Specialized Medicine in Angers. He completed advanced medical training at the University Libre of Brussels, Belgium. 

Prof. April Camilla Roslani, BSc, MB, BS, MRCSEd, MSurg, FRCSGlas, professor, department of surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Malaysia

Professor Roslani received her training at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; the University of Wales in the U.K., and the National University Hospital in Singapore. She obtained her membership in the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and her fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. During her career, she has made numerous contributions to surgery. Professor Roslani has an extensive background in basic science research within colorectal surgery and has made significant contributions in such varied areas as thromboprophylaxis, colorectal cancer cell tumor marker expression, and epidermal growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor functional polymorphisms, as well as the microbiome. In addition to this translational research, she has performed extensive high-level clinical studies, including evaluation and management of fecal incontinence, development of risk scores for patients undergoing colorectal surgery, population-based studies, and evaluation of financial hardships and disparities in patients undergoing colorectal cancer surgery. Professor Roslani has been an invited lecturer across the globe on topics ranging from obstetric anal sphincter injury to technical considerations in colorectal surgery to the management of neoplasia. Recognition by her peers includes election as president of both the College of Surgeons in the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia and the Asia-Pacific Federation of Coloproctology. 

Prof. S. Raja Sabapathy, MS, MCh, DNB(Plastic), FRCSEd(Hon), FRCSGlas(Hon), chair of the department of plastic surgery, hand and microsurgery and burns, Ganja Hospital, Coimbatore, India

Professor Sabapahty trained in general and plastic surgery in India and completed a hand and microsurgery fellowship at the Christine M. Kleinert Institute in Louisville, Kentucky. He is an honorary member of two Royal Colleges of Surgery, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Professor Sabapathy has been a world leader in hand and reconstructive microsurgery education. Professor Sabapathy and his brother, an orthopaedic spine surgeon, serve as directors of Ganga Hospital, a regional and national referral center for patients who have sustained severe upper and lower limb injuries, replantation of amputations, and brachial plexus injuries. They established the Ganga Microsurgery Training Institute and have trained more than 1,500 surgeons from 63 countries. Professor Sabapathy is honorary consultant and advisor to the Armed Forces Medical Services of India, president-elect of the Asia Pacific Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand, and a member of the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Societies of Surgery of the Hand. He has served as president of the Association of Plastic Surgeons of India, the Indian Society for Surgery of the Hand, the Indian Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, the Indian section of the International Trauma Care Committee, and the Brachial Plexus Surgery Group of India. He serves on the editorial boards of five major journals. In 2016, he was the Sushruta-Guha Professor in Plastic Surgery and Wound Healing of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He is the first and only member of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons to be invited from India.

Another highlight during the virtual Convocation was the awarding of Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons to surgeons from around the world. Fellowship is awarded to surgeons whose education and training, professional qualifications, surgical competence, and ethical conduct have passed a rigorous evaluation and have been found to be consistent with the high standards established and demanded by the College. During this year's virtual ceremony, 2,120 surgeons from around the world were installed as Fellows of the American College of Surgeons (FACS): 1,357 are from the U.S. and Canada; 763 are from 75 countries from around the world; and 585 are female surgeons.

Sir Rickman Godlee, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, was awarded the first Honorary Fellowship in the ACS during the College's first Convocation in 1913. Since then, 493 internationally prominent surgeons, including the nine chosen this year, have been named Honorary Fellows of the American College of Surgeons. 

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About the American College of Surgeons The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 82,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit www.facs.org.

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