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As the APSA 50th Anniversary Annual Meeting came to a close last month, we announced the winners of our various awards. In addition to the Distinguished Service Award, APSA’s highest honor, the Humanitarian Award was also bestowed this year for the first time, recognizing physicians whose careers have been largely dedicated to bringing pediatric surgical care to underserved areas of the world. The Annual Meeting was held in Boston, Massachusetts, May 19-22, and saw attendance of more than 1,000 of the world’s leading pediatric surgeons, faculty and physicians, students, and surgical product exhibitors, culminating in APSA’s largest meeting to date.

Dr. Kathryn Anderson was the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Service Award. A true trailblazer well-known for a history of “firsts,” Dr. Anderson was the first woman president of APSA, occupying the position at the turn of the millennium. She was also the first woman to hold office at the American College of Surgeons, serving as the organization’s secretary in 1992, where she later became its first woman president in 2005. As Chief of Surgery and Vice President of Surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, her dedication to providing compassionate, advanced care has left an unforgettable impact on both her patients and colleagues.

Dr. Donald Meier was presented with the inaugural Humanitarian Award for his pioneering global surgery initiatives and unwavering commitment to caring for people in need, especially in underserved areas of the world. Both at home and abroad, Dr. Meier aims to deliver unprecedented healthcare to underprivileged populations, often equipping them with the tools and knowledge necessary to operate self-sustained medical programs. He has carried out his innate humanitarian mission in countless countries, namely Nigeria, where he spent 17 years effecting change from the roots up, just as he did in El Paso, Texas, where he established a medical school and children’s hospital. 

Dr. Donald Nuss was accoladed with the Robert E. Gross Award for Excellence in Pediatric Research and Achievement. Dr. Nuss is the architect of the groundbreaking Nuss Procedure, a minimally invasive surgical procedure that corrects severe pectus excavatum, an inversion of the sternum that can adversely affect heart and lung function. Since its introduction into medicine, the Nuss Procedure has been adopted on a global scale and continues to make a considerable difference in the lives of countless children around the world.

Awards for the best presentations and abstracts were also presented at the Annual Meeting.

The M. Judah Folkman Best Podium Presentation was given to John S. Riley, MD, MS, from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, for “Extending the ‘Window of Tolerance:’ Regulatory T Cells Permit Late Gestation In Utero Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation” in Basic Science and to Calista M. Harbaugh, MD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, for “Opioids are Overprescribed and Can Be Eliminated for a Number of Children’s Operations” in Clinical Science.

The Quick Shots of Distinction Award was granted to Jordan S. Taylor, MD, from Stanford University in Stanford, CA, for “Natural Excretion of Endoluminal Springs After Spring-Mediated Intestinal Lengthening” in Basic Science, and to Ruchi Amin, MD, from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, WI, for “Effects of Intraoperative Temperatures on Postoperative Infections in Infants” in Clinical Science.

The Innovation in Pediatric Surgery Award was presented to Gabriel Jose Ramos-Gonzalez, MD, from Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA, for “A Novel Combined Cautery-Suction Device: The First Products of a Surgical Device Innovation Fellowship.”

The Quality for Value in Surgery Award was given to Mark Kashtan, MD, MPH, from Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA, for “Implementation of a Plan-Do-Study-Act Framework to Reduce Unindicated Surgical Antibiotic Prophylaxis.”

The APSA Foundation also announced this year’s Jay Grosfeld, MD, Scholars: Alex G. Cuenca, MD, PhD, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA; Alejandro Garcia, MD, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore, MD; and Beth A. Rymeski, DO, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati, OH.

APSA Honorary Members were initiated at the Annual Meeting as well, in recognition of their achievements and lasting legacies left on pediatric surgery as a discipline: David Herndon, MD, outstanding contributor to and dedicated proponent of effective care of burn victims and the late Cameron Haight, MD, innovator of new thoracic surgery techniques.

Additionally, James Densler, MD, was officially inducted into APSA and granted full membership in special acknowledgment of his achievements as the first African American in the Section on Surgery of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the second African American to become a pediatric surgeon certified by the American Board of Surgery.