Caitlin W. Hicks, MD, FACS, received the Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson II Promising Investigator Award at the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Annual Business Meeting of Members on October 27. Dr. Hicks is an associate professor of surgery in the division of vascular surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.
Dr. Hicks completed her surgical residency and vascular surgery fellowship at Johns Hopkins, where she was the first person to participate in the early specialization program, completing her training in six years. She stayed on as faculty at Johns Hopkins after her training and was promoted to associate professor after only 2.5 years. Dr. Hicks is the associate fellowship director for the Johns Hopkins Vascular Surgery Fellowship and the director of research for the Johns Hopkins Diabetic Foot and Wound Clinic. Her clinical practice focuses on complex limb salvage, carotid disease, and open aortic surgery.
Dr. Hicks’ research interests include the epidemiology of lower extremity disease and value-based care in vascular surgery. The overarching goal of her work is to better define patients who will benefit from vascular interventions, and to optimize patient care and improve overall patient outcomes. She has raised awareness in the vascular surgery community about possible overuse of different vascular interventions for peripheral artery disease that are associated with high costs but may not improve patient outcomes. In direct response to some of her publications, as well as an article in the Wall Street Journal highlighting her work, the Society for Vascular Surgery formed two new committees—the appropriateness committee and the quality council—to help improve the surgical community’s understanding of the delivery of value-based care in vascular surgery.
Dr. Hicks also has worked closely with the leadership of the American Vein and Lymphatic Society (AVLS) to develop a metric of high-value care related to endo-venous ablation therapy. By using a peer-benchmarked approach to report individual physician performance, the intervention she led with the AVLS resulted in an immediate and statistically significant drop in outlier performance, leading to an estimated $11.4 million cost savings to Medicare.
Dr. Hicks has received a K23 research award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. In addition, she has received career development grants from the ACS and the Society for Vascular Surgery. She is the editor-in-chief of Seminars in Vascular Surgery and associate editor of Surgery, and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Vascular Surgery and Annals of Vascular Surgery. She has written more than 200 peer-reviewed publications to date and recently published a book on vascular disease in women.
Robert S. D. Higgins, MD, FACS, director, Johns Hopkins department of surgery, said, “I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson II Promising Investigator Award than Dr. Caitlin Hicks. While we have many exemplary faculty, Dr. Hicks’ productivity and dedication is extraordinary. She is clinically and technically excellent, and has an impressive aptitude for research. We recruited Dr. Hicks to join our faculty after completion of her vascular surgery fellowship, and we were thrilled that she decided to join our department. At a very early stage in her career, she has established an academic portfolio as a leader in academic vascular surgery and I have no doubt she is well on her way to becoming a leader in academic surgery.”