The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Committee for the Owen H. Wangensteen Scientific Forum has dedicated this year’s forum to Stanley W. Ashley, MD, FACS. Dr. Ashley is recognized as an outstanding educator and researcher, as well as a respected surgical leader and sought-after mentor.
Since 1967, the annual Owen H. Wangensteen Scientific Forum (previously the Surgical Forum) program has been dedicated to a surgeon who exemplifies the qualities of a successful academic surgeon. Previous awardees have not only excelled in clinical care, but also in their research and educational contributions to surgery. They have helped advance the profession and put it where it is now. Importantly, they have mentored and trained the next generation of surgeons so that the profession can continue to advance.
The 2021 Owen H. Wangensteen Scientific Forum Dedication, Excellence in Research, and Resident Research Scholarship session will begin at 9:00 am Central Time on Tuesday, October 26.
Dr. Ashley is a graduate of Weill Cornell University Medical College, New York, NY, who completed his residency at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. He joined the faculty there before moving to the University of California Los Angeles and subsequently to Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, where he is the Frank Sawyer Professor of Surgery. He has served as program director of the general surgery residency and chief of surgery, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates/Atrius Health; vice-chairman of the department of surgery; and, most recently, chief medical officer and senior vice-president for medical affairs, Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
He also has held prominent roles in surgical education at a national level as past-chair of the American Board of Surgery and a member of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Board of Directors. He has been the recipient of the ACGME Parker J. Palmer Courage to Teach Award and is a Member of the ACS Academy of Master Surgeon Educators™.
According to the dedication from Ali Tavakkoli, MBBS, FACS, FRCS, Vice-Chair, Committee for the Owen H. Wangensteen Scientific Forum, Dr. Ashley “is a selfless and committed educator and mentor whose contribution to surgical training and education has made our profession stronger and better. He has been active in multiple national organizations and is the past-president of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract and a member of the Board of Governors of the ACS. As past committee chair of the Scientific Forum, he has been a vocal supporter of surgical research and maintaining the forum as the premier venue to present this work.”
Dr. Ashley’s research has focused on intestinal and pancreatic diseases. After moving to Boston, he established a successful gastrointestinal physiology laboratory that was focused on understanding intestinal adaptation to help develop novel treatments for patients with short bowel syndrome. “His laboratory has been home to generations of aspiring surgeon-scientists who have gone on to become independently funded researchers and academic leaders. I was one such trainee, sent from England to spend two years of research time in his laboratory,” Dr. Tavakkoli wrote. “As for many, working under his mentorship was a transformational experience that opened my eyes to the excitement of surgical research and presented me with a new career path. As a surgical trainee and subsequently a young faculty member at Brigham and Women’s, I witnessed how he was the go-to person for all complex gastrointestinal issues, for all challenging research questions, and for all difficult life decisions. His name is synonymous with patience and generosity of time and wisdom.”
Dr. Ashley’s research has been funded by both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Institutes of Health. He has published more than 350 peer-reviewed papers, books, and chapters and has been a contributor on 43 forum papers. He is co-editor of Maingot’s Abdominal Operations, as well as editor of Current Problems in Surgery and previously ACS Surgery. “However, I know that Stan is most proud of his many mentees who are set to lead American surgery over the next few decades. These include society presidents, department chairs, division chiefs, program directors, as well as surgical investigators and innovators,” Dr. Tavakkoli wrote.
The dedication and other Clinical Congress 2021 sessions are available to registered attendees for on-demand viewing for a full year following Congress on the virtual meeting platform.