January 10, 2024
Luz María Rodríguez, MD, FACS, was elected president of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons (SBAS). This marks the beginning of a historic presidency as Dr. Rodriguez is the first Afro-Latina surgeon and the fourth woman to lead the organization, which works to improve health, advance science, and foster careers of African American and other underrepresented minority surgeons. Dr. Rodríguez is a board-certified general surgeon and a dual fellowship-trained surgical oncologist and colorectal surgeon who serves as program director and medical officer in the gastrointestinal and other cancers research group of the National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer Prevention. She also is a senior staff/faculty surgeon at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, both in Bethesda, Maryland.
Oncologic surgeon John H. Stewart IV, MD, MBA, FACS, was named president-elect of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons (SBAS). Dr. Stewart currently serves as the chair of the Department of Surgery at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), chief of surgery for MSM at Grady Health System, and associate dean for oncological programs at MSM, all located in Atlanta, Georgia. For the ACS, he is the former Chair for the Advisory Council Chairs and Advisory Council for General Surgery, and is a member of the ACS Foundation Board of Directors.
Erin A. Gillaspie, MD, MPH, FACS—a cardiothoracic surgeon—is the founding chief of thoracic surgery at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Previously, Dr. Gillaspie was assistant professor and head of thoracic surgery robotics in the Department of Thoracic Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
David Tom Cooke, MD, FACS, has been appointed interim physician-in-chief for the University of California (UC) Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and UC Davis Health in Sacramento. In this position, he will lead the development and oversight of the cancer center’s performance targets and metrics, setting standards of care, measuring and improving clinical outcomes, and disseminating best practices. At UC Davis, Dr. Cooke, who is a cardiothoracic surgeon, also is vice-chair for faculty development and wellness in the Department of Surgery and founding chief of the Division of General Thoracic Surgery.
Surgical oncologist Sandra L. Wong, MD, MS, FACS, has been named the dean of Emory University School of Medicine and chief academic officer for Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, Georgia. She will be the first female dean of the School of Medicine when she joins Emory in March. Dr. Wong currently is chair in the Department of Surgery at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Lebanon, New Hampshire, and professor of surgery in the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Yolanda Becker, MD, FACS, a general surgeon, is the new chief medical officer and vice president at LifeGift—the organ procurement organization for North, Southeast, and West Texas. In addition to her role at LifeGift, Dr. Becker has a dual appointment as professor of medical education and surgery, and director of career and professional development at the Burnett School of Medicine at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Previously, she served as professor of surgery and director of pediatric and adult kidney transplant in the Department of Surgery at The University of Chicago Medicine in Illinois.