Aaron Epstein, MD, a general surgery resident at the University at Buffalo, NY, will receive a Resident Volunteerism Award for his work as founder and president of the not-for-profit medical humanitarian organization Global Surgical and Medical Support Group. Dr. Epstein’s previous training in national security and defense, as well as his experience working with governments in the Middle East, gave him perspective on the medical difficulties facing conflict-displaced refugees, and he pursued a medical career to effect change for these people. He created the GSMSG shortly after beginning medical school at Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, with the eventual goal of creating health care capacity in troubled geopolitical hotspots. GSMSG training programs have trained more than 2,000 local medics and more than 200 local nurses, and held training sessions for more than 500 local physicians and surgeons in Middle Eastern locales.
Dr. Epstein also has personally led more than a dozen deployments of medical and surgical personnel to provide surgical services for affected populations in combat zones in the Middle East. Domestically, GSMSG has provided medical capacity and support in response to hurricanes and COVID-19 outbreaks in New York City and Miami, FL.