Faculty Awards, Honors & Publications

Recent Honors, Awards, Appointments and Publications (Listed by date)

Dr. Jonathan Sham

Dr. Jonathan Sham

(Aug 2020) Dr. Jonathan Sham, Assistant Professor, Division of General Surgery, won Swim Across America's Young Investigator Award for his research with Dr. Buddy Ratner, Professor and Director, Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, to develop a novel bio biopolymer that can be used during pancreatic surgery to reduce the rates of pancreatic fistula. Vimeo video >>

(July 2020) Dr. Sham published “Management of primary hepatic malignancies during the COVID-19 pandemic: recommendations for risk mitigation from a multidisciplinary perspective" in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

The management of hepatobiliary malignancies is complex and resource-intensive. The COVID-19 pandemic imposed unique limitations on healthcare resources and access to care. Dr. Sham worked with an international team of experts to develop guidelines for the management of complex hepatobiliary malignancies during the pandemic in an attempt to aid clinicians around the world in making difficult treatment decisions in real time during the global healthcare crisis.

Dr. Raymond Tse

Dr. Raymond Tse

Dr. Craig Birgfeld

Dr. Craig Birgfeld

Dr. Joe Gruss

Dr. Joe Gruss

Dr. Richard Hopper

Dr. Richard Hopper

Dr. Ezgi Mercan

Dr. Ezgi Mercan

(July 2020) Dr. Raymond Tse, Associate Professor, Division of Plastic Surgery, was awarded American Association of Plastic Surgery’s (AAPS) annual 2020 James Barrett Brown Award. This award was established in memory of Dr. James Barrett Brown, past AAPS president, and is presented for the best plastic surgery-related paper published during the previous calendar year. The 2020 award recognizes Dr. Tse’s paper entitled “Unilateral Cleft Lip Nasal Deformity: Foundation-Based Approach to Primary Rhinoplasty.” Drs. Craig Birgfeld, Associate Professor, Division of Plastic Surgery, Joseph Gruss, Professor Emeritus, Richard Hopper, Maryls C. Larson Professor of Craniofacial Surgery & Chief of Pediatric Plastic Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, and Ezgi Mercan, Craniofacial Image Analysis Researcher, Division of Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery, Craniofacial Center, Seattle Children's Hospital, played significant roles in this research project as well. AAPS will recognize the manuscript and present the award plaque and $2,000 prize to Dr. Tse at the AAPS Annual Meeting in May 2021.

“In many ways, it's a special paper for us given that it challenges dogma and was Joe Gruss' last paper before he retired.” And, as Rich Hopper noted, “Joe taught us all so much about how to address the cleft nasal deformity, and the paper was a great testimony to the fundamental concepts he brought to our team and specialty.”

Dr. Nicholas Vedder, Professor of Surgery & Orthopaedics, Jamie Hunter Endowed Chair, Chief of Plastic Surgery; Vice Chair, Department of Surgery, notes “Dr. Gruss also won this award in 1985 for a paper that again challenged dogma, describing his novel approaches to craniofacial trauma with primary bone grafting, something quite controversial at the time, but as we all know, has become the standard of care. We are all tremendously proud of our world-leading team of craniofacial surgeons who are our colleagues at the University of Washington.”

Dr. Benjamin Anderson

Dr. Benjamin Anderson

(June 2020) Dr. Benjamin Anderson, Professor, Division of General Surgery, announced the publication of the consensus statements and manuscripts from the 6th Breast Health Global Initiative Global Summit on Improving Breast Healthcare (BHGI) through Resource–Stratified Phased Implementation (Seattle 018)2. This supplement, published in the journal Cancer, is the culmination of months of collaborative work by experts in breast and women’s health, cancer control, implementation science, economics, disparities, policymaking, public health, patient advocacy and health systems, with authors representing all resource settings across five continents.

Dr. Anderson explains, “This Cancer publication is the culmination of the BHGI mission going back to the first BHGI Global Summit held in Seattle in 2002. It has been an honor and privilege to engage with the 150 contributors and participants in the preparation of this supplement, which addresses core questions about how to implement breast care programs in limited resource contexts. While we were unable to bring together BHGI leadership for the planned publication launch at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) meeting that was canceled due to the COVID pandemic, we are planning a virtual launch with CUGH later in 2020 to share this information with the global health community that is still learning how global oncology fits within the global health agenda.”

Dr. Elina Quiroga

Dr. Elina Quiroga

(June 2020) Dr. Elina Quiroga, Associate Professor, Division of Vascular Surgery, was awarded the UW School of Medicine 2020 Minority Faculty Mentoring Award for providing encouragement and support for the career and development of minority mentees. This award recognizes the need for excellence in mentoring under-represented faculty groups to achieve diversity and inclusion—key elements that can unleash creativity and innovation so the health care needs of our region are met.

Dr. Quiroga expresses, "I am truly humbled and honored to receive the 2020 Minority Faculty Mentoring Award from the UW School of Medicine, Committee on Minority Faculty Advancement, Center for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Office of the Dean. I’m fortunate to have learned from outstanding mentors myself, and it is thanks to them that I have the privilege and opportunity to work with mentees myself. There is much work ahead to address racism and health care injustice in medicine, and I am fortunate to work in a place that encourages action and continuous progress in identifying and dismantling inequity in care, culture, and policy."

This annual award is supported through the Office of the Dean, Office of Academic Affairs, the Center for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Committee on Minority Faculty Advancement.

Dr. Ron Maier

Dr. Ron Maier

Dr. Kathleen O'Connell

Dr. Kathleen O'Connell

(June 2020) Drs. Ron Maier, Professor & Chief and Kathleen O’Connell, Assistant Professor, Division of Trauma, Burn & Critical Care, published “Trail blazers without blades: Surgeons as Palliative Care Physicians in Response to COVID–19” in the Annals of Surgery.

Dr. O’Connell explains, “In this manuscript, we acknowledge the growing global need for palliative care services within the context of COVID–19 and the negative implications for surgical patients (i.e. delays in goals of care conversations due to limited band width of the palliative care service). We highlight the opportunity for surgeons with an interest in palliative care to establish a role as a surgical palliative care
champion within their group and provide resources for skill acquisition and community integration.”

Dr. Kenneth Gow

Dr. Kenneth Gow

(April 2020) Dr. Kenneth Gow, Professor, Division of Pediatric General Surgery, was elected a Fellow of the American Surgical Association (ASA) in April 2020. Dr. Gow expresses, “The ASA is considered by many to be of the most prestigious associations to join as a surgeon and therefore a great honor in my career thus far. I look forward to meeting and learning from great leaders in the field of surgery on how to lead others.”

Dr. Ed Verrier

Dr. Ed Verrier

(November 2019) “I am very pleased and proud to announce Dr. Ed Verrier, Professor, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, has been selected as the Physician Educator of the Year by the Puget Sound Business Journal as part of their 2019 Health Care Leadership Awards.

Dr. Verrier has a lifelong career of dedication to surgical education, with a profound influence here at University of Washington (UW), but also nationally and internationally. For many years as Program Director of the Cardiothoracic (CT) Surgery Residency, he created a culture of educational commitment that has led our CT programs to be considered among the top programs in the country. Dr. Verrier was then selected to be the Surgical Director of the Joint Council of Thoracic Surgical Education (JCTSE), a major investment of CT organizations to upgrade and revolutionize CT education in the United States. His leadership of this effort has transformed CT surgery training and has created a new generation of surgical educators with his “Educating the Educators” courses.

Dr. Verrier has been honored with virtually every teaching award he could be eligible for, beginning with the John K. Stevenson Award from the residents in the UW Department of Surgery. He received the Socrates Award from the Thoracic Surgery Residents Association, and the Bruce Gilliland Award as the teacher of the year throughout the UW system of over 3,000 faculty. In October 2019, he was inducted into the American College of Surgeons Academy of Master Surgeon Educators. This latest honor from the Puget Sound Business Journal is well-deserved and acknowledges Dr. Verrier’s major impact on surgical education in our community and also across specialties well beyond UW Surgery. There is no one I can think of who is more deserving of this award and recognition. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Verrier for his remarkable leadership in surgery and education.”

Dr. Douglas Wood
The Henry N. Harkins Professor and Chair

Dr. Carlos Pellegrini

Dr. Carlos Pellegrini

(October 2019) Dr. Carlos Pellegrini, Professor Emeritus, former UW Medicine Chief Medical Officer and UW Vice President for Medical Affairs, was honored by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) as an “Icon in Surgery” at the ACS annual Clinical Congress in October 2019.

“I was honored and humbled by the ACS decision to confer this honor to me,” expresses Dr. Pellegrini. “I am the first one to recognize that my designation reflects in great part the dedication and the work of every member of the Department of Surgery at the University of Washington with whom I have had the privilege to work with. And, for that, I am particularly thankful. While the ceremony was impressive, what really touched my heart were the words of all those who reflected on their special relationship with me…those expressions of gratitude are permanently engraved in my memory – and in my soul.”

“Dr. Pellegrini is a role model, colleague, and friend for all of us in UW Surgery,” states Dr. Douglas Wood, The Henry N. Harkins Professor and Chair. “His accomplishments and recognitions are legendary, but this most recent honor as an ‘Icon in Surgery’ by the ACS is a rare and singular celebration of Dr. Pellegrini’s long influence in surgery, and on the people he has touched. Although Dr. Pellegrini is a renowned surgical leader, what holds him apart is his strength of character, integrity, kindness, and his deep understanding and love for people. Dr. Pellegrini is the type of surgeon, and person, that we all aspire to be.”

View Dr. Pellegrini’s ACS Icons in Surgery video >>

Image courtesy of the Archives of the American College of Surgeons

Dr. Mika Sinanan

Dr. Mika Sinanan

(October 2019) Dr. Mika Sinanan, Professor, Division of General Surgery, was elected Secretary to the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Board of Governors in October 2019.

Dr. Sinanan expresses, “In the role of Secretary to the Board of Governors, I’m very honored to serve on the Executive Committee. I look forward to representing the Governors’ perspective and sharing back with them the strategic and financial priorities of the ACS.”

“Dr. Mika Sinanan has been an influential leader in UW Medicine and nationally,” said Dr. Douglas Wood, The Henry N. Harkins Professor and Chair. “He led our physicians organization as President of University of Washington Physicians, and he has served in leadership positions in our state and regional organizations.  With a long commitment to advocacy and physician engagement in health care policy, Dr. Sinanan serves as the American College of Surgeons Pillar Lead for Advocacy and Health Policy. His election to the prominent position of Secretary of the ACS Board of Governors is recognition of his national leadership, and affords him major influence in the direction of the American College of Surgeons.”

photo of Ed Verrier

Dr. Ed Verrier

(October 2019) Dr. Ed Verrier, Professor, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, was inducted into the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Academy of Master Surgeon Educators. This honor is a tribute to a lifetime of dedication to surgical education. As program director for the cardiothoracic residency at the University of Washington, Dr. Verrier has been a mentor and role model who has influenced our department’s culture and commitment to surgical education. At the national level, his leadership of the Joint Council for Thoracic Surgical Education completely changed the curriculum, focus, and paradigm for residency programs in cardiothoracic surgery.

“In academic surgery we have three priorities: excellence in clinical care, furthering our specialties through research and educating the next generation of surgeons,” states Dr. Verrier. “In our current world of incentives, education has been less rewarded as it is frequently viewed as an art form rather than a science...if one is a good clinical surgeon, then one is most likely a good educator. For the American College of Surgeons to honor “Master Surgical Educators” is an incredible step forward in recognizing the importance of teaching, mentorship, and coaching at every level of surgical education. For me personally as the sole cardiothoracic surgeon recognized, being inducted into the Academy of Master Surgical Educators is the pinnacle of my career and will always be cherished. It is also a responsibility. I hope to continue to contribute more to the Academy and the University of Washington in the future and strengthen this message to the next generation of surgical educators.”

The aim of the new ACS Academy of Master Surgeon Educators is to recognize and assemble a team of Master Surgeon Educators of national and international renown who will work closely with the ACS Division of Education to advance the science and practice of avant-garde surgical education and training.

The goals of the Academy include defining megatrends in surgical education and training; steering advances in the field; fostering innovation and collaboration; supporting faculty development and recognition; and underscoring the critical importance of surgical education and training in the changing milieu of health care.

Dr. Ben Starnes

Dr. Ben Starnes

(October 2019) Dr. Ben W. Starnes, Professor and Chief, Division of Vascular Surgery, was passed the Edwin J. Wylie Gavel of presidency for the Western Vascular Society (WVS). He is the 35th society president and will preside over the 35th WVS Annual Meeting in September 2020 in Santa Monica, CA.

Dr. Starnes expresses, “Given the known rich and colorful history of this very special membership, I am deeply humbled and appreciative to have been elected to this highest position within the Western Vascular Society. I consider this to be one of the highlights of my career as a vascular surgeon.”

The Edwin J. Wylie Gavel was given to the society at the 1990 Coronado meeting. President at the time was Dr. Ronald Stoney who used oak from his ranch in California to create a gavel to commemorate Edwin J. Wylie, a pioneer in American surgery. Wylie was a senior vascular surgeon at the University of California at San Francisco and a mentor to many of the surgical leaders in the society. Dr. Starnes’ name will be engraved on the gavel this year joining other University of Washington leaderss in vascular surgery who served the society including 1998 President D. Eugene Strandness, Jr, MD and 2008 President Alexander W. Clowes, MD. Also of mention is the role of Eugene Zieler, MD in WVS, who was a founding member of the society.