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

News from the American College of Surgeons

2018 Clinical Congress
October 21-25, 2018


Devin Rose
Sally Garneski


Honolulu Surgeon Yeu-Tsu Margaret Lee, MD, FACS, Honored for Inspiring Women in Surgery

ACS Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Award recognizes Dr. Lee's contributions to the advancement of women in the field of surgery

BOSTON (Monday October 22, 2018; 12:01 am EDT): Yeu-Tsu Margaret Lee, MD, FACS, received the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award last night during the Convocation ceremony that preceded the opening of the College's 2018 Clinical Congress. Dr. Lee, a general surgeon and surgical oncologist, is clinical professor of surgery, University of Hawaii Medical School, Honolulu, Hawaii. The award was developed by the ACS Women in Surgery Committee (WiSC) and recognizes significant contributions to the advancement of women in the field of surgery.

Dr. Lee was recognized for her leadership in academic surgery, medical education, research, and patient care, during a career spanning more than 50 years. Upon completion of her residency and an oncology fellowship, Dr. Lee became assistant professor of surgery at the University of Missouri Medical Center, Columbia. In 1973, she moved to Los Angeles and became an associate professor of surgery and the head physician of the tumor surgery service at the University of Southern California Medical School. In 1983, she became chief of surgical oncology, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu. Dr. Lee then joined the U.S. Army Corps. She was deployed to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, where she helped build a hospital with tents that included three operating rooms. Dr. Lee treated U.S. soldiers and Iraqi prisoners of war, including a high-ranking officer of the Iraqi Republican Guard. Dr. Lee retired from the Army as a Colonel in 1999 and continued working as clinical professor of surgery at the University of Hawaii. From 1999 to 2017, Dr. Lee was also a visiting professor of surgery several times a year at Buddhist Tzu-Chi University Medical School and Teaching Hospital, Hualein, Taiwan.

"Committed to improving the care of the surgical patient in every way, Dr. Lee is an outstanding leader and role model for surgeons everywhere," said Christine Laronga, MD, FACS, chair of the national recognition committee and immediate past-president of the Association of Women Surgeons (AWS), which nominated Dr. Lee for the award.

"Her contributions in academic medicine, in surgery, in the military, and surgical volunteerism worldwide while demonstrating leadership at institutional, national, and international levels have made a lasting impression on the face of surgery," Dr. Laronga added.

Dr. Lee was born in war-torn Xian, China. After four of her siblings died of wartime illnesses during the Sino-Japanese War she decided to become a physician. She became especially interested in caring for underserved populations. Throughout her remarkable career, Dr. Lee participated in medical missions to Ghana, Honduras, Cambodia, Laos, and the Philippines, among other places. Dr. Lee has made additional international trips to promote friendship and medical exchanges. In 1995, she was the leader of a delegation of women surgeons that traveled to Russia and Romania. The delegation was sponsored by a non-governmental organization, People-To-People International, established by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Dr. Lee became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS) in 1971. She has donated to various College programs through the ACS Foundation since 1994 and is a member of its distinguished Mayne Heritage Society and Fellows Leadership Society.

The AWS noted, "Her passion, endless energy, and dedication to the American College of Surgeons and to women in surgery are without equal."

The Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award is named for Mary Edwards Walker, MD, the first female surgeon to be employed by the U.S. Army and the only woman in the 1855 graduating class of Syracuse Medical School. Dr. Walker is the only woman to have received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Her extensive commitment to the surgical profession has helped pave the way for the women surgeons of today.

Editor's note: A photo is available from the Office of Public Information of the American College of Surgeons, email:

"FACS" designates that a surgeon is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

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About Yeu-Tsu Margaret Lee, MD, FACS
Dr. Lee was raised in China, and began taking courses at the National Taiwan University, Taipei, before coming to the U.S. in 1957. She received a bachelors degree in bacteriology from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, and then received her medical degree cum laude from Harvard Medical School, Boston, in 1961. Dr. Lee completed three years of residency in general surgery at the University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor. She completed the last two years of residency at the University of Missouri Medical Center, Columbia. Dr. Lee stayed in Columbia to complete a two-year National Cancer Institute fellowship in surgical oncology at Ellis Fischel State Cancer Hospital. She has authored a book on malignant lymphoma, as well as 18 chapters in reference books and more than 200 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals about breast cancer, liver neoplasms, and gastrointestinal malignancies, among other topics.

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. Its annual Clinical Congress is one of the largest international meetings of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit