American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Operation Giving Back

Dr. TeferaGuest: Girma Tefera, MD, FACS, Director of the American College of Surgeons’ Operation Giving Back (OGB) program; professor of surgery, department of surgery, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and vice-chair, division of vascular surgery and chief of vascular surgery, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison, WI.

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In order to help surgeons provide care to some of the most vulnerable populations in the world, the American College of Surgeons established its surgical volunteerism program, Operation Giving Back (OGB), in 2004. OGB directs surgeons to volunteer opportunities through a network of partner organizations.

In this episode of The Recovery Room, host Dr. Rick Greene speaks with the new OGB Director, Girma Tefera, MD, FACS, about his plans for the organization to succeed and how interested surgeons can get involved in the program.

The goal of OGB is to leverage the passion and skills of the surgical community to help meet the needs of the medically underserved, said Dr. Girma, adding that about five billion people in the world lack access to basic surgical care. To help those people, he said it’s important to think beyond individual cases and strive to create sustainable activities.

“I really want to help develop some partnerships that could last long and create…the educational, as well as the service, as well as the research atmospheres,” said Dr. Girma, a 2011 recipient of the ACS Surgical Volunteerism Award. He began volunteering in his native Ethiopia while on breaks from medical school in Italy.

Dr. Girma said OGB provides resources to surgeons at all levels of their careers who want to get involved. For more information about OGB, visit the OGB web page.


Dr. Girma is the Director of the American College of Surgeons’ Operation Giving Back (OGB) program; professor of surgery, department of surgery, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and vice-chair, division of vascular surgery and chief of vascular surgery, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison, WI. He received his medical training at the University of Pisa Faculty of Medicine in Pisa, Italy.