Faculty Awards, Honors & Publications

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

Dr. Venu Pillarisetty

(April 2019) Dr. Venu Pillarisetty, Associate Professor, Division of General Surgery, and Dr. Y. David Seo, Division of General Surgery (R3) and research fellow, published a paper “Mobilization of CD8+ T cells via CXCR4 blockade facilitates PD-1 checkpoint therapy in human pancreatic cancer” in the Journal of Clinical Cancer Research. Their findings challenge the commonly held view that pancreatic cancer does not elicit an immune system response that is robust enough for immunotherapy to be effective. The researchers report that they found such T cells within pancreatic tumors and determined that they can be activated to attack and kill cancer cells. They studied pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, the most common and most deadly pancreatic cancer.


Dr. Bryce Robinson

(April 2019) Dr. Bryce Robinson, Associate Professor, Division of Trauma, Burn & Critical Care Surgery, received the American College of Surgeons (ACS)/Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST) Health Policy Scholarship through Brandeis University. This scholarship will support Dr. Robinson to attend the one-week Executive Leadership Program for Health Policy and Management. The program will be held in June 2019 and is offered through The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. It is a unique opportunity for attendees to learn more about creating innovative and sustainable solutions to improve the quality, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency of health care service delivery and participating in health care policy and reform.

Dr. Robinson expresses, “I am extremely excited to attend this course offered by the ACS and EAST. Like most surgeons, I feel deeply unprepared to understand and address the complexities of health care reform and system leadership beyond my limited field of medical practice. This scholarship will create a foundation of understanding of healthcare policy and management that will make me a more knowledgeable and effective surgical leader.”


Dr. Robert Sweet

(March 2019) Dr. Robert Sweet, Professor of Urology and Medical Director for the UW Medicine Kidney Stone Center at Northwest Hospital, Executive Director for the WWAMI Institute for Simulation in Healthcare (WISH) and the Center for Research in Education and Simulation Technology (CREST), was awarded the Leaders in Health Care Awards by Seattle Business magazine to “honor a remarkable assortment of compassionate people doing heroic work in Washington state.”

Dr. Sweet won the gold award for Achievement in Medical Technology for his contributions to the field of healthcare simulation. As Executive Director of WISH and CREST, he has made simulation technology an essential tool in training providers and increasing patient safety.

Dr. Sweet expresses, “The outstanding and professional WISH and CREST staff have worked tirelessly to contribute to stamping out the disease of “medical error” through the development and utilization of simulation science. Whether its improving the skills of individual and teams of healthcare providers, increasing a patient and their families understanding of their medical condition, or supporting training or rapid prototyping of novel medical devices, the recognition that this award provides validates this effort and its relative importance to the health and economy of the broad community it serves.”


Dr. Douglas Wood

(January 2019) In honor of his outstanding work and significant contributions, Dr. Douglas Wood, The Henry N. Harkins Professor and Chair, was presented a 2019 Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Distinguished Service Award at the Annual Membership Business Meeting.

An STS member since 1995, Dr. Wood has been a long-time volunteer. He has served on the Society’s Board of Directors as President and as Secretary, as well as held positions on other governance bodies, including the Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Standards and Ethics Committee, Workforce on Health Policy, Reform and Advocacy, and Workforce on Critical Care. In addition, Dr. Wood currently is President of The Thoracic Surgery Foundation, the Society’s charitable arm. MORE


Dr. Sherene Shalhub

(December 2018) Dr. Sherene Shalhub, Assistant Professor, Division of Vascular Division, has been appointed by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) as a member of its Advisory Panel on rare diseases. Dr. Shalhub will join other members of the panel in applying her experience and expertise to helping PCORI refine and prioritize the research it funds. She will also ensure that the research PCORI supports centers on the outcomes that matter to patients and other healthcare decision makers. PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions.


Dr. James Park

(November 2018) Dr. James Park, Associate Professor, Division of General Surgery, published a brief update on current topics pertinent to surgical resection for hepatocellular carcinoma in his publication Surgical Resection in HCC. It highlights patient selection, perioperative surgical and anesthetic considerations, post-operative complications, with special emphasis on minimally invasive approaches and emerging technologies to enhance pre-operative planning and intra-operative visualization.




Dr. Mika Sinanan

(October 2018) Dr. Mika Sinanan, Professor, Division of General Surgery, has been selected as an American College of Surgeons’ B/G Executive Committee Member where he will serve as the Advocacy Pillar Lead. He was Chair, B/G Surgical Care Delivery Workgroup from 2015 to 2018.






Dr. Benjamin Starnes

(September 2018) Dr. Benjamin Starnes, The Alexander W. Clowes Endowed Chair, Professor and Chief of Division of Vascular Surgery, was elected to serve as the Western Vascular Society President Elect for the 2018/2019 academic year and will hold the position of President for the 2019/2020 year. The election was held on September 24th, 2018, at the 33rd annual society meeting at the Eldorado Hotel in Santa Fe, NM. Dr. Starnes first became a member of the Western Vascular Society in 2005. He has since held numerous positions within the society including Program Committee Chair and Recorder. Dr. Starnes expresses, “I am extremely humbled and honored to have been installed as President Elect for the Western Vascular Society. This prestigious society spans 14 Western American States and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. Its members meet each year to share new techniques and discoveries to further advance the care of our patients.”


Dr. Sara Javid

(August 2018) Dr. Sara Javid, Associate Professor, Division of General Surgery/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, has been introduced as a new associate editor for the JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Dr. Javid is a breast surgeon and health services researcher whose research areas of interest include shared decision-making for early-stage breast cancer, the treatment of ductal carcinoma in situ, and disparities in surgical care among underrepresented populations. She has had an active role in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), of which SCCA is a member, for nine years. In 2010, she was appointed as the PI of SCCA’s NCCN Breast Outcomes Database and remained in that position until the closure of the database in 2015. In addition, Dr. Javid contributes annually to the NCCN Breast Cancer Treatment Guidelines, a panel vice-chaired by Dr. Benjamin Anderson.  Dr. Javid has also served as a reviewer for the JNCCN and is looking forward to this new position as an associate editor for JNCCN. MORE


Dr. Elina Quiroga

(July 2018) Dr. Elina Quiroga, Associate Professor, Division of Vascular Surgery, completed her Master of Public Health (MPH) this past summer at the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health. As part of this interdisciplinary training on global health issues, she performed her practicum evaluating the efficacy of simulation–based training in vascular surgery for general surgery residents in low– and middle–income countries. Her thesis assessed the current capabilities for evaluation and treatment of cardiovascular disease in Argentina, following the consensus recommendations for essential vascular care, using geographic population assessment. Dr. Quiroga would like to express her gratitude to the Department of Surgery, and especially the Division of Vascular Surgery, for their support to complete this MPH. She also would like to especially recognize her appreciation to Dr. Alberto Ferreres, Professor & Chair of Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the team at the Bocalandro Hospital, as well the surgeons at the Argentinean College of Cardiovascular Surgery, for all their tireless work towards improving surgical care of vascular patients in Argentina.