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

News from the American College of Surgeons

2018 Clinical Congress
October 21-25, 2018

Dan Hamilton
Sally Garneski


New York City Surgeon Valerie W. Rusch, MD, FACS, Honored with 2018 Distinguished Service Award of the American College of Surgeons

BOSTON (Sunday, October 21, 11:00 p.m. EDT): Valerie W. Rusch, MD, FACS, a thoracic surgeon from New York City, received the 2018 Distinguished Service Award (DSA) of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) last night during the Convocation ceremony that preceded the opening of the College's 2018 Clinical Congress, one of the largest international meetings of surgeons in the world. The DSA is the highest honor bestowed by the ACS.

Dr. Rusch (left) receives the Distinguished Service Award from Dr. Bass.The ACS Board of Regents honored Dr. Rusch for "her exemplary leadership of many professional organizations and as a mentor, teacher, and trainer of the next generation of surgeons in clinical trial development and her dedication to expand access to surgical care to underserved global populations." The award is also being presented to Dr. Rusch "in admiration of her natural leadership, integrity, vision, and steadfast commitment to the College's initiatives and principles, serving as a role model to surgeons everywhere to always do the right thing for patients."

An ACS Fellow since 1986, Dr. Rusch has led several prominent ACS bodies, including serving as Chair of the Board of Governors (2006−2008) and Board of Regents (2015−2016). A Regent from 2008 to 2017, she chaired the Central Judiciary Committee (2009-2013), the Program Committee (2011−2017), the Board of Regents Nominating Committee (2011–2012), and the Committee on Global Engagement (2016−2017). She served on Board of Regents Honors Committee (2012−2016), Executive Committee (2013−2016), and Finance Committee (2014−2016).

She has also been a member of the College's Advisory Council for Cardiothoracic Surgery (2002−2017), International Relations Committee (2007−2013, Executive Committee, 2009−2012), Commission on Cancer Executive Committee (2012−2017), Scholarships Committee (2008−2012), and Research and Optimal Patient Care Committee (2008−2015).

Dr. Rusch specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancers of the lung, airways (trachea, bronchi), esophagus, mediastinum, chest wall, and pleura (malignant pleural mesothelioma). She was among the first women in the U.S. to be board certified in thoracic surgery.

Dr. Rusch has been a leader in national and international clinical trials for the treatment of thoracic malignancies and played a pivotal role in establishing the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group—now the ACS Clinical Research Program. Among her many honors, in 2007, Dr. Rusch received the Thoracic Surgery Foundation for Research and Education Socrates Award, and in 2012, the Association of Women Surgeons awarded her The Nina Starr Braunwald Award for lifetime contributions to the advancement of women in surgery.

She has held 25 visiting professorships and lectureships and given more than 300 major lectures on thoracic cancers at medical conferences around the world. Her CV boasts more than 400 peer-reviewed publications.

In addition to the ACS, Dr. Rusch has been a leader of other surgical organizations. She served as chair of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, chair of the Lung and Esophagus Task Force of the American Joint Commission on Cancer, and chair of the Mesothelioma Subcommittee of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Staging Committee.

About Valerie W. Rusch, MD, FACS

Dr. Rusch is fluent in both French and English, having graduated from the Lycée Français de New York in New York City. She graduated from Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, with a degree in biochemistry and earned her medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York City. She completed surgical residency training in general surgery and thoracic surgery at the University of Washington, Seattle, followed by a fellowship at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

"FACS" designates that a surgeon is a Fellow 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