Newswise — CHICAGO (June 10, 2019): The 2019 Jacobson Innovation Award of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) was presented to Henry Buchwald, MD, PhD, FACS, at a dinner held in his honor on Friday evening June 7. Dr. Buchwald is a surgeon, researcher, inventor, teacher, and mentor with a career spanning more than five decades as a surgeon scientist.

The prestigious Jacobson Innovation Award honors living surgeons who have been innovators of a new development or technique in any field of surgery and is made possible through a gift from Julius H. Jacobson II, MD, FACS, and his wife Joan. Dr. Jacobson is a general vascular surgeon known for his pioneering work in the development of microsurgery.

Dr. Buchwald was honored with this international surgical award for his life-long pioneering work and innovative research. He is considered a pioneer of metabolic and bariatric surgery, formerly considered a fringe field for obese patients and excluded from mainstream academic surgical practice. Dr. Buchwald helped transform bariatric surgery into a legitimate field of study and application. Today, bariatric surgery is performed in almost every academic medical center and community hospital in the U.S.

Early in his career, while he was a laboratory resident, Dr. Buchwald discovered that the ileum, part of the small intestine, is the primary site for the absorption of cholesterol and bile acids. As a result, he developed the Buchwald Procedure: the partial ileal bypass (PIB) operation, which bypasses part of the ileum to lower cholesterol levels. The PIB procedure was one of the first surgical techniques to treat a metabolic disease and remains the most potent therapy to lower plasma cholesterol levels in humans today.

Among Dr. Buchwald’s extensive research accomplishments is a landmark paper in Circulation that led to the multi-institutional trial on the surgical management of hyperlipidemias: Program on the Surgical Control of the Hyperlipidemias (POSCH), which received continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1973 to 1997. The trial proved the link between cholesterol and heart disease, demonstrating that lowering cholesterol can reduce heart disease and save lives.

Dr. Buchwald has received seven additional NIH grants to study a totally implantable infusion pump device. He founded a separate bioengineering laboratory to produce the first implantable infusion pump, a novel peritoneovenous shunt, one-way flow catheters, and other devices. He later patented the infusion pump for widespread use in insulin delivery, continuous delivery of chemotherapy, and further applications. He holds 20 patents to his name and was inducted into the Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame in 1988.

The 53rd annual Surgical Forum at the ACS Clinical Congress was dedicated to Dr. Buchwald as “a true surgeon scientist who, through creativity and perseverance, has made seminal contributions to science and society” and mentored more than 65 surgical residents and trainees. He has received numerous awards and honors, including a tribute in the U.S. Senate Congressional Record in 1991. He has been elected to five presidencies of national and international professional societies.

Note to Editors: A photo of Dr. Buchwald is available on request from the ACS Office of Public Information as of Monday, June 10, 2019. Email: [email protected].

View a list of all Jacobson Innovation Award Recipients.

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

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About Henry Buchwald, MD, PhD, FACS, FRCSEng(Hon)
Dr. Buchwald earned a bachelor’s degree at Columbia College in New York in 1954 and in 1957 earned a medical doctorate (MD) at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, graduating from both institutions at the top of his class. He completed an internship at the Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City and then spent two years as Chief Flight Surgeon, SAC, in the U.S. Air Force.

Since 1960, he has studied, worked, taught, and researched at the University of Minnesota, where he completed his residency training and also earned a master of science in biochemistry and PhD in surgery. Dr. Buchwald trained with Richard L. Varco, MD, FACS, one of the fathers of bariatric surgery who performed the first obesity surgery in 1953, and Owen H. Wangensteen, MD, PhD, FACS, one of the greatest surgical educators of the 20th century.

In 1966, Dr. Buchwald joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota and today serves as professor of surgery and biomedical engineering. He was also appointed as the first Owen H. and Sarah Davidson Wangensteen Chair in Experimental Surgery.

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