The Resident and Associate Society of the American College of Surgeons (RAS-ACS) presented the inaugural Outstanding Mentor of the Year Award to Danielle Saunders Walsh, MD, FACS, FAAP, a pediatric surgeon from Greenville, NC, on Sunday, October 27, during Convocation at Clinical Congress 2019. Dr. Walsh is general surgery residency program director; department of surgery vice-chair for diversity and inclusion; associate professor of surgery, division of pediatric surgery, East Carolina University and Vidant Medical Center; and director of surgical quality, James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital, Greenville.
Brett T. Starr, MD, department of cardiovascular sciences, cardiothoracic surgery, East Carolina Heart Institute, nominated Dr. Walsh for the award. In his nomination letter, Dr. Starr described the impact Dr. Walsh has had on his career trajectory, saying Dr. Walsh was “a trusted mentor, advisor, confidant, program director, servant leader, outstanding surgeon, exceptional human being, and, most importantly, an unwavering friend” during his five years of residency.
The RAS-ACS established the Outstanding Mentor of the Year award earlier this year. The award will be given annually to a Fellow of the ACS who has had a marked impact on the engagement of an RAS member and has offered the support and encouragement necessary for the resident to build a strong foundation for a surgical career.
Dr. Walsh’s clinical and research interests are pediatric surgical disorders, including birth defects, cancer, and abdominal and thoracic surgery, as well as minimally invasive surgery. She is an ACS Governor (2018−2021) and serves on the Board of Governors Best Practices Workgroup of the Quality, Research, and Optimal Patient Care Pillar (2019−present) and the Health Information Technology Committee (member, 2012−2015; Chair, 2016−2019; member, 2019−present). She is a Past-President of the North Carolina Chapter of the College and continues to serve on the North Carolina Credentials Committee. She is a past-president of the Association of Women Surgeons (2013–2014) and serves on national committees for the ACS, American Pediatric Surgical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons. She serves on a variety of national and international committees representing the voice of pediatric surgeons and women in surgery.
After earning her medical degree from the University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, she completed a general surgery residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; a fellowship in fetal surgery and research at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, PA; and a fellowship in pediatric surgery at Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC.