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


Seattle Forum

(Pictured from left to right [row 1]: Dr. Ellen T. Farrokhi, Keith W. Leverkuhn, Dr. Carlos A. Pellegrini, Dr. Thomas K. Varghese Jr.; [row 2]: Dr. David B. Hoyt, Dr. Morris G. Johnson, Dr. David Flum, Dr. Richard P. Billingham, Bradley D. Tilden)

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) hosted aviation industry leaders at its fifth Surgical Health Care Quality Forum on Wednesday, April 11, 2012, at The Rainier Club in Seattle, WA. The event brought together a diverse combination of leaders from Washington State’s aviation and health care industries to discuss quality improvement programs and best practices in checklists, standardization, culture shifts, and transparency to make surgery safer and reduce health care costs. Carlos A. Pellegrini, MD, FACS, FRCSI (Hon.), The Henry N. Harkins Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery, University of Washington and Past Chair, American College of Surgeons Board of Regents, hosted the event, with opening remarks from Congressman Jim McDermott (WA-7th District), who discussed the challenges of health care quality and cost, Washington State’s leadership in quality improvement, and the importance for the surgical community to be involved in health care discussions on Capitol Hill.

As part of the College’s Inspiring Quality initiative to drive national discussion around critical elements required in successful quality improvement programs, the Seattle forum also highlighted quality research and data from programs like the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®), the Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program (SCOAP), and SCOAP’s Comparative Effectiveness Research Translation Network (CERTAIN). The event also celebrated the launch of the Strong for Surgery initiative in Washington State, which will bring presurgical checklists to patients and further improve outcomes.


  • U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott (WA-7th District)
  • David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, Executive Director, American College of Surgeons
  • Bradley D. Tilden, CEO-elect, Alaska Air Group
  • Keith W. Leverkuhn, vice president of engineering, general manager, propulsion systems, Boeing Commercial Airplanes
  • David R. Flum, MD, MPH, FACS, associate chair for research and surgery, and professor, surgery, health services, and pharmacy, University of Washington
  • Thomas K. Varghese Jr., MD, FACS, director, thoracic surgery program, University of Washington
  • Ellen T. Farrokhi, MD, FACS, medical director, SCOAP; vascular surgeon, Providence Regional Medical Center Everett
  • Richard C. Thirlby, MD, FACS, general surgeon, Virginia Mason Medical Center
  • Scott R. Steele, MD, FACS, FASCRS, colon and rectal surgeon, Madigan Healthcare System; assistant professor of surgery, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and University of Washington
  • Morris G. Johnson, MD, FACS, general surgeon, Skagit Regional Clinics; president, ACS Washington State Chapter
  • Richard P. Billingham, MD, FACS, colon and rectal surgeon, Swedish Medical Center

For more information, read the ACS news release about the Seattle forum.

Listen to an interview about Washington State’s quality improvement efforts and the ACS Surgical Health Care Quality Forum in Seattle with David Flum, MD, MPH, FACS, associate chair for research and surgery, professor, surgery, health services, and pharmacy, University of Washington, on KUOW’s The Conversation program.

For questions about this event, please e-mail

Event Program