Each year, the Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) Foundation presents awards to outstanding individuals who are supportive of the AWS mission to inspire, encourage, and enable women surgeons to meet their professional and personal goals. The AWS Foundation proudly honored the 2019 Award recipients at the AWS Foundation Awards Dinner Monday at the Parc 55 in San Francisco.
Nina Starr Braunwald Award
The Nina Starr Braunwald Award is presented in recognition of a lifetime of contributions to the advancement of women in surgery. The 2019 Nina Starr Braunwald Award was presented to Linda M. Reilly, MD, FACS, professor of surgery, division of vascular and endovascular surgery, University of California San Francisco (UCSF). A pioneer in the fields of surgery and surgical education, Dr. Reilly has spent her long career advocating for diversity and equality in medicine. She is known for supporting the education and mentorship of women and under represented minorities from the earliest stages of their training through the UCSF residency program. After graduating from Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, Dr. Reilly was the first woman to complete the Halsted General Surgery Residency training program at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD—one of the most prestigious programs in the country. She completed specialty training in vascular surgery at UCSF before joining the faculty there. She has served as program director of the UCSF general surgery residency program for more than 20 years, winning many teaching awards and serving as chair of the residency review committee for surgery at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and president of the Association of Program Directors of Surgery. In 2011, she was inducted into the Society of Scholars at Johns Hopkins.
Olga Jonasson Distinguished Member Award
The Olga Jonasson Distinguished Member Award is presented annually to an AWS member who exemplifies the ideals and mission of the organization and recognizes contributions to the mentorship of women surgeons. The award is named in memory of Dr. Jonasson, the first woman to chair an academic department of surgery. The 2019 Olga Jonasson Distinguished Member Award was presented to Carla Pugh, MD, PhD, FACS, professor of surgery at Stanford University, CA, and Prof. Deborah McNamara, MD, FRCSI, consultant general and colorectal surgeon, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland, and clinical professor of surgery, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).
Dr. Pugh graduated from Howard University College of Medicine and completed her general surgery residency at Howard University Hospital, Washington, DC. She was the first surgeon in the U.S. to obtain a doctor of philosophy degree in education, which she completed at Stanford University School of Education. She served as associate professor of both surgery and education at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, and professor of surgery, professor of industrial and systems engineering, and professor of surgical engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, before assuming her role at Stanford. She has more than 125 peer-reviewed publications to her name and has mentored more than 100 women in medicine, science, and engineering.
Professor McNamara is co-lead, National Clinical Programme in Surgery, RCSI. She helped establish the first Irish chapter of AWS within the RCSI, inspiring and mentoring medical students as they begin their surgical careers. She has done research on gender disparity in surgery, making changes to surgical training to improve diversity and equality in education. She has championed AWS throughout her career.
Past Presidents’ Honorary Member Award
The Past Presidents’ Honorary Member Award is given to individuals who support the goals of AWS. This year’s award was presented to Bryan R. Collier, DO, FACS, professor of surgery, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke. Throughout his career, he has been dedicated to AWS’ mission to inspire, encourage, and enable women surgeons to realize their personal and professional goals. In his program, he has created a community of support for surgeons regardless of gender, ensuring that he understands the goals and needs of each person as an individual.
Hilary Sanfey Outstanding Resident Reward
The Hilary Sanfey Outstanding Resident Award is so named to reflect the generous endowment that Dr. Sanfey established. The award recognizes surgical residents who demonstrate excellence in surgery and potential as future leaders. The 2019 Hilary Sanfey Outstanding Resident Award was presented to Allison N. Martin, MD, a resident at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, for her surgical skill, work ethic, bravery, collaborative instincts, and outstanding leadership qualities. Dr. Martin has completed research projects in her local community and in Rwanda and recently finished a visiting fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering, New York, NY. She is dedicated to confronting biases and organized the first Trainee Diversity and Inclusion Conference with more than 100 attendees.
Patricia Numann Medical Student Award
The Patricia Numann Medical Student Award is named in honor of Dr. Numann, an ACS Past-President and founder of AWS, who has done so much to mentor and encourage all medical students. The 2019 Patricia Numann Medical Student Award was presented to Kirsten Concha-Moore, a medical student at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, and Camila Roginski Guetter, who is in her sixth and final year of medical school at the Universidade Federal do Parana, Brazil.
Ms. Concha-Moore comes from the Taos-Jemez Pueblo and is the second Taos surgeon and first Jemez physician. She is a member of the research team in the vascular surgery department. She has mentored other Native American physicians and is committed to improving Native American health care. Among her many honors and achievements are the John T. Wolfe Medical Student of the Year Award from the Association of American Indian Physicians, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology Medical Student Rotation Award for her clinical research, An Overview of American Indian Health Disparities in Oncology in the Southwest.
Ms. Roginski-Guetter was nominated because of her outstanding research, leadership, and interpersonal skills. During her time as a medical student, she was a class representative for more than two years. She also served as leader and faculty liaison for the trauma surgery interest group at her school, where she scheduled shifts at the emergency room for the group’s 250 student members and arranged bimonthly educational conferences. She was class valedictorian.
Dr. Sally Abston Distinguished Member Award
The AWS Foundation presented a new award this year, the Dr. Sally Abston Distinguished Member Award. This award was created by her colleagues and friends at University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, to honor Dr. Abston’s exemplary inspiration to so many people throughout her career. The award is given to an AWS member who, in addition to nationally recognized clinical expertise and outstanding mentorship, is a role model of “what I want my surgeon to be like.” The recipient of this award demonstrates unwavering commitment to encouraging and enabling women surgeons to realize their personal and professional goals.
The first recipient of this award is Kathryn L. Martin, MD, FRCSC, pediatric surgeon and assistant professor of surgery and pediatrics, Penn State University, Hershey. Dr. Martin is dedicated to advancing women colleagues, residents, and medical students. She is known as a powerful mentor and role model, especially in her work as part of the Women in Surgery group at Penn State. Through her special projects and research, she has demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. She has worked with the Office of Diversity at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to ensure equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students and patients, and studied barriers to pediatric surgical care for Amish families. She is a member of the American Pediatric Surgical Association’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Group and serves on the Ethics Committee of the Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgery.
The AWS Foundation is dedicated to advancing women’s careers in surgery through its awards and scholarships. For details or to make a donation, go to https://www.womensurgeons.org/support-aws/foundation/.