Newswise — SAN DIEGO (October 23, 2017): Richard J. Finley, MD, FACS, FRCSC, a general/thoracic surgeon from Vancouver, BC, Canada, received the 2017 Distinguished Service Award (DSA) of the American College of Surgeons last night during the Convocation ceremony that preceded the opening of the College’s 2017 Clinical Congress, one of the largest international meetings of surgeons in the world. The DSA is the highest honor bestowed by the ACS.

Dr. Finley was honored for his contributions to the American College of Surgeons and to the areas of surgical education and health information technology. The ACS Board of Regents presented the DSA to Dr. Finley for “his leadership as a driving force for change to better train future surgeons by electronic means and skills learning modules.” The Board of Regents further recognized his “integrity, vision, and services as a role model to surgeons everywhere to always do the right thing for patients.”

A Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS) since 1983, Dr. Finley has served in numerous ACS leadership roles. He has been Chair (1993-1995) and Vice-Chair (1992-1993) of the Board of Governors (B/G), a member of the Board of Regents (2000-2009), and ACS First Vice-President (2010). As an ACS Governor, Dr. Finley served on B/G committees in the areas of Ambulatory Surgery (1991), Surgical Infection (1993), Surgical Practice (1993), and Communications (1991-1995), in addition to serving on the Executive Committee (1995). As an ACS Regent, he served on the Advisory Council for General Surgery (2000–2009), the Research and Optimal Patient Care Committee (Chair, 2009), the Nominating Committee (2005–2007, Chair 2008), and the Finance Committee (2002–2004).

Dr. Finley’s contributions in health information technology include service as Chair (2005-2012) of the ACS Web Portal Editorial Board, and Chair of the ACS Education Task Force on Practice-based Learning and Improvement (2002-2009). Dr. Finley has also been described as an enthusiastic and innovative teacher and mentor to the many residents and fellows he has trained. He has received several awards for teaching and scholarship, including the University of British Columbia (UBC) department of surgery’s Master Teaching Award and Best Teacher, Interns and Residents, from the University of Western Ontario, London, ON.

Dr. Finley has chaired multiple committees at the institutions where he has practiced and taught, including at UBC and the Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre. He has also served as president of the International James IV Surgical Association, the British Columbia Surgical Association, and the Canadian Association of Thoracic Surgeons, and as Vice-President of the American Surgical Association and Chair of the Canadian Association of Surgical Chairs. Dr. Finley has been a member of the editorial boards for the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Annals of Surgery, and Canadian Journal of Surgery.

About Richard J. Finley, MD, FACS
Dr. Finley received his medical degree at the University of Western Ontario Medical School, London, ON. Subsequently, he completed an internship at Vancouver General Hospital, followed by residency in surgery and cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Western Ontario. He then completed a medical research fellowship at Harvard Medical School, Boston, and another year of postgraduate training at the University of Toronto’s division of thoracic surgery. Dr. Finley then returned to the University of Western Ontario to work his way from assistant professor (1979-1983) to association professor (1983-1989) in the department of surgery. Dr. Finley was also a professor of surgery (1989-2016) at UBC, and served as head of the department of surgery at UBC and at Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre (1989-2001). Today, Dr. Finley is Emeritus Professor in the department of surgery at UBC. 

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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