Newswise — SAN DIEGO:  The new President of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) is Barbara Lee Bass, MD, FACS, FRCS (Hon.),  the John F., Jr. and Carolyn Bookout Presidential Distinguished Chair of the department of surgery at Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston. Dr. Bass was installed as the College’s 98th President this evening during the Convocation ceremony that preceded the opening of the annual ACS Clinical Congress, which is one of the largest international meetings of surgeons in the world. 

Dr. Bass is nationally recognized for her contributions to surgical education.  She is founder and the current executive director of MITIE—the Houston Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation & Education—a 35,000 sq. ft. simulation, education, and research facility providing a new infrastructure to support the retooling of surgeons in practice over the course of their careers.  MITIE is a unique education and research institution that brings together research in surgical technologies and educational platforms. In addition to her role as executive director of  MITIE, Dr. Bass is professor of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, and senior member of the Houston Methodist Research Institute.

A general surgeon who focuses her practice in the areas of breast and endocrine surgery, Dr. Bass has an active practice in surgical oncology and extramurally-funded research programs in computational surgery,  and health services research focused on surgeon-specific reporting. Her other research interests include education methods and outcomes, and breast cancer clinical trials.

Her first research award was the ACS Faculty Research Scholarship (1986-1988). Over the past 30 years, her research efforts have been funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the VA Research Service, along with multiple endowments. Throughout her distinguished career, she has held numerous leadership roles related to surgical education, biomedical research, and professional development.  In 2016 she was appointed to Co-Chair the Committee on Skills Training for Surgeons in Practice with Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS, FRCSC, Director, ACS Division of Education.   She is a senior director and past-chair of the American Board of Surgery and past-president of the Society of Surgical Chairs, and Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract.

Furthermore, Dr. Bass has been an influential teacher and mentor throughout her career and served as a general surgery residency program director for 17 years. She has authored or co-authored 157  peer-reviewed papers and delivered 56  named lectureships.  

Dr. Bass is honored to have cared for our nation’s veterans in the VA Healthcare System during the first 19 years of her career.   She is also gratified by honors she has received from the Association of Women Surgeons for advancing the work of women in surgery:  The Nina Starr Braunwald Award and Olga Jonasson Distinguished Member Award.

Dr. Bass earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Tufts University, Medford, Mass., graduating summa cum laude.   She earned her medical degree from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, followed by a general surgery residency at George Washington University, Washington, DC. She also completed a gastrointestinal research fellowship at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and served as a Captain, U.S. Army Medical Corps (1982-1984).

A Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS) since 1989, Dr. Bass has been an ACS leader for many years.  She was a member of the College’s Board of Regents (2001-2010) and its Executive Committee (2003-2004, 2005-2009). She served two terms as Chair of the Board of Governors (1999-2001); Chair of the Program (2003-2005, 2006-2011); and Chair of the Education Committee (2002-2004, 2005-2007). In 2013, Dr. Bass received the 2013 ACS Distinguished Service Award, the College’s highest honor. She currently serves as a surgeon champion of the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®) at Houston Methodist. A longtime champion of ACS NSQIP, Dr. Bass helped launch the program in the VA Health Care System and later served as a member of the national trial that developed ACS NSQIP in the private sector.  She served on the ACS NSQIP Steering Committee from 2004-2010.

Dr Bass describes herself as a “self-designated hippy at heart,” and is an avid beekeeper, gardener, cook, and cheesemaker.   She and her husband Richard Marshall have two sons, Wesley and Wyatt, of New York City.  The family enjoys sailing the Chesapeake Bay, and the inseparable company of a gaggle of dogs, Skye, Summer, and Notorious PIG.  

During her presidential address, “The Joys and Privileges of a Surgical Career,” Dr Bass explored  the privileges and satisfactions to be found in the surgical profession, as well as the challenges incurred during a surgical career.   Dr. Bass spoke of opportunities for individual surgeons to have an impact on their profession, their colleagues, and the environment in which they practice.  

The other new ACS Officers installed during the Convocation were First Vice-President Charles D. Mabry, MD, FACS, Pine Bluff, Ark.,and  Second Vice-President Basil A. Pruitt, MD, FACS,  San Antonio, Tex.  Another  highlight of the evening was the  induction of 1,827  surgeons from around the world into Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons (FACS).

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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 all 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 80,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit