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

2010 Military Volunteer Award: Michael W. Cruz

Dr. Cruz (right) providing medical support for a key leaders engagement on  a counterinsurgency operation, in a remote village in northeast Afghanistan,  Christmas Eve, 2009.

Col. Michael W. Cruz, MD, FACS, of Tamuning, Guam, was recognized with the 2010 Surgical Volunteerism Award for military outreach for his work with the Ayuda Foundation, which he co-founded while serving with the Guam Army National Guard. For the past 16 years, the Ayuda Foundation has addressed vital health needs of neighboring Pacific Islanders through organized medical missions and the delivery of medical supplies to hospitals in the Micronesian islands. Its efforts have relieved backlogs of surgical cases and improved medical infrastructure in the region. To improve the training of local medical personnel, Ayuda secured a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to build medical libraries in 12 Pacific Island hospitals, complete with computers and internet access. Ayuda also provides critical surgical relief during natural disasters in the region, as in the aftermath of Typhoon Chataan in 2002. In addition to his work with the Foundation, Dr. Cruz is the incumbent Lt. Governor of Guam and has served several tours of duty with the National Guard, including in Afghanistan, where he provided clinical assistance and medical education to Afghani surgeons.