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Honorary Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons is Awarded to Five Prominent Surgeons


WASHINGTON, DC (October 17, 2016): Last night Honorary Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons (ACS) was awarded to five prominent surgeons from Australia, Colombia, Pakistan, France, and Japan. The Honorary Fellowships were presented at the Convocation, which preceded the opening of the annual ACS Clinical Congress, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. This year’s recipients were:

Prof. John Francis Thompson, AO, MD, FACS, FRACS, FAHMS
Sydney, Australia

Professor John Francis Thompson was recognized for distinguished service to medicine in the field of oncology research, particularly melanoma, to international and national professional organizations, and to medical education. This service includes writing more than 700 peer-reviewed scientific articles, an accomplishment that made Dr. Thompson an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2014. His current research interests are in the fields of lymphatic mapping and regional node management of patients with melanoma and other malignancies, and local and regional therapies for recurrent and advanced limb tumors. He is the executive director and research director of the Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA), one of the world’s largest melanoma treatment and research centers, and a professor of melanoma and surgical oncology at the University of Sydney. Dr. Thompson is past president of the International Sentinel Node Society and was chairman of the Australia and New Zealand Melanoma Trials Group until 2014. He is also a member of the Melanoma Staging Committee of the American Joint Committee on Cancer, and chairing the Working Group to update the Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Cutaneous Melanoma in Australia. Dr. Thompson is also a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and an active member of the Society of Surgical Oncology.

Prof. Hernando Abaunza Orjuela, MD, FACS, MACC (Hon)
Bogotá, Colombia

Professor Hernando Abaunza Orjuela is the founder and former president of the Colombian Association of Surgery, and now serves as its executive director. He was also president of the Latin American Federation of Surgery (FELAC), which is focused on promoting research, teaching and the practice of surgery among surgeons in Latin America. He became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS) in 1970, and was a member of the ACS Board of Governors from 1993 to 1999. He was also president of the ACS Colombia Chapter from 1990 to 1991, and continues to be a chapter member. Dr. Abaunza is the author of several articles on breast cancer and complex abdominal surgery problems, as well as more than 120 scientific papers published in indexed journals. He has written book chapters on a variety of clinical topics including gastric cancer, pancreaticoduodenectomy, and laparoscopy. Dr. Abaunza became professor of general surgery and chief of the department of surgery at the San Pedro Claver Hospital, a leading medical center in Colombia. He was also a professor at the National University of Colombia. Dr. Abaunza is an honorary member of many surgical associations in Latin America and other scientific societies. He is also a member of the International Society of Surgery and former president of the Colombian Association of Gastroenterology.

Prof. S. Adibul Hasan Rizvi, MB, BS, FRCSEng, FRCSEd
Karachi, Pakistan

Professor S. Adibul Hasan Rizvi is the founder of the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) and a leader of transplantation in Pakistan. He started SIUT as an eight-bed unit in the burn ward at Civil Hospital, Karachi, and it is now one of the fastest growing urological and transplant centers in the region. SIUT was granted the status of an institute by an act of the Sindh government in 1991. In 2014, more than one million patients came to SIUT for procedures like dialysis, lithotripsy, surgery, and transplantation. Pakistan’s first successful liver transplant was performed there in 2003, eight years after Dr. Rizvi and his team carried out the first deceased renal transplant in the country. SIUT’s Dewan Farooque Medical Complex offers training of nurses, technical staff, and postgraduate doctors, and all treatment is free to patients. The Hanifa Sulaiman Dawood Oncology Center now treats patients with urology, oncology, and post-transplant malignancies. SIUT opened its first satellite unit in 2000, and three other dialysis centers that are part of the institute offer free dialysis sessions to poor patients within the city. Dr. Rizvi has won numerous awards for the free medical services he has provided, and he started a campaign for transplant legislation to ban commercial transplantation. The resulting ordinance, which later became an act in 2010, put a legal ban on organ sale and allowed retrieval of organs from deceased donors for transplantation. Dr. Rizvi is a member of the advisory panel of the World Health Organization (WHO) on organ transplantation and the Global Alliance for Transplantation.

Prof. Jacques Belghiti, MD, PhD
Paris, France

Professor Jacques Belghiti was recognized for his significant contributions to the fields of hepatocellular carcinoma and liver transplantation. He has produced important studies in the surgical techniques of liver resection and hepatobiliary (HPB) surgical oncology. His technical innovations include preservation of portal and caval flows during liver transplantation, the hanging maneuver to facilitate liver resection, and the use of peritoneal patch to provide an immediate and safe vascular graft. Dr. Belghiti was the chief of the hepato-bilio-pancreatic surgery and liver transplantation department at Beaujon Hospital at the University of Paris for 20 years. Subsequently, in 2014, the department was classified as the first French surgical digestive center and performed hundreds of hepatic and pancreatic resections and liver transplantations. Dr. Belghiti was nominated by French President François Hollande to be a member of the board of the National Health Authority in 2014, and he is chair of the board’s medical devices and health technology committee for reimbursement. Since 2015, he has also chaired the national selection committee for provisional reimbursement for innovative devices. Dr. Belghiti is a member of numerous international associations and editorial boards of international journals. He currently is the associated editor for the Liver Surgery and Biliary section of the World Journal of Surgery.

Prof. Sachiyo Suita, MD, PhD
Fukuoka, Japan

Professor Sachiyo Suita is one of the pioneers of surgery in her home country, as she was the first female professor to become the head of a surgical department at a Japanese national university. Dr. Suita knew she wanted to become a surgeon during the Vietnam War, when she had an internship at American Air Force Hospital, Tachikawa, Japan. A mentor at Kyushu University, Fukuoka, encouraged her interest in pediatric surgery, despite the field’s lack of women. Dr. Suita became surgeon in chief at Fukuoka Children’s Hospital in 1983 and was made a professor of pediatric surgery at Kyushu University in 1989. Her promotion to professor was the first time a woman had been on the faculty of medicine at the university since it was established in 1903. Dr. Suita’s area of interests included fetal surgery, neonatal surgery, pediatric oncology, clinical nutrition, liver and small bowel transplantation, and grief care. She has published more than 270 papers and 25 books on these topics, and has also mentored many postgraduate students nationally and internationally. Dr. Suita has served as president of the Japanese Society of Pediatric Surgeons, the Asian Association of Pediatric Surgeons, and the Japanese Society of Pediatric Oncology. In 2004, Dr. Suita became the first female director of Kyushu University Hospital. From 2008 to 2010, she served as executive vice president of the university. In the Japanese government, Dr. Suita served as a member of the medical ethical council, and on the central council for education.

Presenting the Honorary Fellowships last night on behalf of the College were: Jeffrey E. Gershenwald, MD, FACS, Houston, Texas; Marco G. Patti, MD, FACS, Chicago, Ill; Mehmet A. Haberal, MD, FACS(Hon), Ankara, Turkey; Leslie H. Blumgart, MD, FACS, New York, N.Y; and Arnold G. Coran, MD, FACS, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Another highlight during the Convocation was the awarding of Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons to surgeons from around the award. Fellowship is awarded to surgeons whose education and training, professional qualifications, surgical competence, and ethical conduct have passed a rigorous evaluation and have been found to be consistent with the high standards established and demanded by the College. During this year’s ceremony, 1,823 surgeons were admitted into Fellowship. Sir Rickman Godlee, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, was awarded the first Honorary Fellowship in the ACS during the College’s first Convocation in 1913. Since then, 452 internationally prominent surgeons, including the five chosen this year, have been named Honorary Fellows of the American College of Surgeons.

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About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 80,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit

Editor’s Note: Full citations and photos of each Honorary Fellow are available from the ACS Office of Public Information. Email:


Devin Rose
Sally Garneski