Newswise — CHICAGO: Hilary A. Sanfey, MB BCh, MHPE, FACS, FRCSEd (Hon), FRCSI (Hon), from Springfield, Ill., received the 2020 Distinguished Service Award (DSA) of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) last night during the virtual Convocation ceremony that is a highlight of the College's Clinical Congress 2020, one of the largest educational meetings of surgeons in the world. The DSA is the highest honor bestowed by the ACS.

The ACS Board of Regents honored Dr. Sanfey for “her exceptional and continuous service as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and her leadership roles with the Scholarships Committee, the ACS Foundation Annual Giving and Communications Committee, and the Committee on Medical Student Education, as a specialty ACS Governor, as former First Vice President of the College, and as Chair of the Women in Surgery Committee.” Dr. Sanfey is also recognized as “a mentor, teacher, and trainer of the next generation of surgeons in advocating for excellence in life-long high-quality surgical education.”

In her role as Chair of the ACS Women in Surgery Committee, she effectively secured the funds required for full endowment of the Olga M. Jonasson, MD, FACS, Named Lecture Fund. Dr. Sanfey has also served as Chair of the ACS Board of Governors’ Nominating Committee. As Chair, she successfully advocated for a change to the College’s Bylaws to allow open nominations for officers and other leaders in the College. This change fostered adoption of transparent leadership succession to enable equity and inclusion of all Fellows.

Dr. Sanfey serves as Co-Chair of the ACS Division of Education’s Certificate in Applied Surgical Education Leadership (CASEL) Program. In this role, she helped develop a program to advance surgeons as educators, ensuring the future of a well-trained and ethical surgical workforce.

The DSA award citation also recognizes Dr. Sanfey for “high standards of professionalism in patient care and towards colleagues, for attention to surgeon well-being and resilience and for development of equity, inclusion and opportunity for all surgeons in the profession regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or other personal characteristic.” It also recognizes “her natural leadership, integrity, vision, and steadfast commitment to the College’s initiatives and principles serving as a role model to surgeons everywhere to always do the right thing for patients.”

Dr. Sanfey has also served as the president of the Association of Women Surgeons. Throughout her career, she has advocated for women to enjoy the full benefits of a career in surgery. She has helped women surgeons around the globe—including Japan, African nations, and Ireland—benefit from ACS scholarships and programs.

About Hilary A. Sanfey, MB BCh, MHPE, FACS

Dr. Sanfey is professor of surgery and vice chair for educational affairs, department of surgery, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield. She earned her undergraduate degree from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, and completed her surgical training at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She has been a research fellow at Johns Hopkins University, worked as a consultant transplant surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, and practiced as a transplant surgeon at the University of Virginia. Dr. Sanfey also earned a Master's Degree in Health Professions Education from the University of Illinois, Chicago, in 2009. Notably, Dr. Sanfey was the first woman in Ireland to complete Higher Surgical Training in General Surgery, she was the first woman to be appointed as a Consultant General Surgeon in Scotland, and the first woman to be promoted to tenured professor in the department of surgery at the University of Virginia. She is a Fellow ad hominem of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and both an Honorary Fellow and a Fellow by examination of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

"FACS" designates that a surgeon is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Note: A photo of Dr. Sanfey is available upon request from the ACS Office of Public Information, email: [email protected]

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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 82,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit