Courtney M. Townsend, Jr., MD, FACS, a general surgeon from Galveston, TX, was installed as the 97th President of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) during the Convocation on October 16 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC.
Dr. Townsend is the Robertson-Poth Distinguished Chair in General Surgery, department of surgery, University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston; professor of surgery, department of surgery; professor of physician assistant studies, School of Allied Health Sciences; and graduate faculty in the cell biology program, UTMB.
Dr. Townsend earned his bachelor’s degree in history and English from the University of Texas, Austin. He then earned his medical degree and completed his internship and general surgery training at UTMB. Dr. Townsend completed a surgical oncology fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and was a McLaughlin Fellow twice, a Jeane B. Kempner Fellow, an American Cancer Society clinical fellow, and an NIH postdoctoral fellow.
Dr. Townsend’s first teaching position was as an adjunct assistant professor of surgery, division of oncology, department of surgery, at UCLA (1974–1976). He then served in the U.S. Navy from 1976 to 1978 as a staff surgeon and surgical director in the intensive care unit at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD.
In 1978, Dr. Townsend returned to UTMB as an associate professor in the department of surgery. In 1981, he was promoted to Robertson-Poth Associate Professor of Surgery, and the next year he became director of the surgical research laboratory at UTMB. From 1983 to 1995, Dr. Townsend was the Robertson-Poth Professor of Surgery, and from 1987 to 1995, he served as interim director of the UTMB Cancer Center. He assumed his current roles as professor of physician assistant studies in 1989, as graduate faculty in the cell biology program in 2001, and as Robertson-Poth Distinguished Chair in General Surgery in 2009. Dr. Townsend also served as John Woods Harris Distinguished Chairman from 1995 to 2013.
Dr. Townsend has served in many leadership roles at the College, including ACS Secretary (2006–2015). He held prominent positions on the Board of Governors (B/G), including Chair (2004–2005), B/G Executive Committee Member (1999–2003); and ACS Governor from the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (1986–1992). He has also served in various capacities on the Commission on Cancer (CoC) and on other ACS committees. Dr. Townsend served on the CoC Committee on Approvals (1989–1994), the CoC National Cancer Data Committee and the National Cancer Data Base Governing Board (1989–1995), the ACS Committee for the Forum on Fundamental Surgical Problems and the Committee on Special Issues (both 1991–1994), the Committee on Papers (2000–2003), the Member Services Liaison Committee (2003–2004), and the Nominating Committee of the Fellows (2000–2002).
Most recently, Dr. Townsend served on the ACS Surgical Research and Education Committee, which he chaired for two years (1998–2000). At the local level, he has served on the Southern Texas District #1 Committee on Applicants (1996–1999) and as President of the ACS South Texas Chapter (1988–1989).
Dr. Townsend has assumed leadership roles in several other medical organizations as well. He is past-director and chair of the American Board of Surgery (2000–2007); served on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Residency Review Committee for Surgery (1994–1999); American Pancreatic Association president (1992−1993); American Surgical Association president (2007–2008); Southern Surgical Association president (2004); and Texas Surgical Society council member (1997–1999). He is an honorary member of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons and the Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) and is a recipient of UTMB’s John P. McGovern Lifetime Achievement Award in Oslerian Medicine.
Dr. Townsend has been editor-in-chief of the Sabiston Textbook for Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice since 2000 and was the editor of Surgical Oncology (1992−1999). He has served on the editorial board of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (JACS), Surgery, and The American Journal of Surgery.
In addition, during the Convocation, Hilary Sanfey, MB, BCh, MHPE, FACS, FRCSI, FRCS, was installed as ACS First Vice-President, and Mary C. McCarthy, MD, FACS, was installed as ACS Second Vice-President.
Dr. Sanfey is professor of surgery and vice-chair for educational affairs, department of surgery, and associate director, Academy for Scholarship and Education, Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine, Springfield. Dr. Sanfey, who hails from Ireland, graduated from Trinity College Dublin School of Medicine in 1976. She trained at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), spent three years as a research fellow at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, and worked as a consultant transplant surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh for four years before moving to the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, in 1996. She remained on the clinical faculty at the University of Virginia, starting as an assistant professor of hepatobiliary surgery in 1991 and leaving in 2008 for SIU as a tenured professor of surgery. In 2009, she received a master’s degree in health professions education from the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Dr. Sanfey is the immediate past-president of the International Society of Surgery, U.S. chapter, and a member of the American Surgical Association. Dr. Sanfey serves as faculty for the ACS Residents as Teachers and Leaders Program and has served as a specialist advisor in postgraduate surgical training and education in the department of surgical affairs, RCSI.
An ACS Fellow since 2001, Dr. Sanfey served as the ACS Liaison to the American Medical Association (AMA) Women Physicians Congress (2006–2009) and an ACS Governor (2006–2012). As a Governor, she chaired the B/G Committee on Chapters Subcommittee on Diversity (2009–2011) and the Nominating Committee (2010–2012). In addition, she served on the Executive Committee of the Committee on Medical Student Education (2005–2011) and as a liaison to the Program Committee. She presently serves on the Executive Committee of the Scholarship Committee.
She has been active on the Women in Surgery Committee since 2005. She has held high-ranking positions in other prestigious surgical organizations as well, including the AWS (president, 2005–2006) and the U.S. chapter of the International Surgical Society (president, 2013–2015). In addition, she has served on key committees of the Association of Program Directors in Surgery, the Association for Surgical Education, and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.
Dr. Sanfey is on the editorial boards of the Association for Surgical Education, Journal of the Royal Colleges of Edinburgh and Ireland, and JACS. She is an accomplished surgical investigator, has contributed to more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and 24 book chapters, and has been a frequent guest lecturer and visiting professor at international symposia and workshops.
She is the recipient of many awards in surgical education. The AWS in 2010 renamed its Outstanding Woman Resident Award as the Hilary Sanfey Outstanding Resident Award, and in 2013 and 2014, respectively, Dr. Sanfey was honored with the AWS Olga Jonasson Distinguished Member Award and Nina Starr Braunwald Award.
Dr. McCarthy is the Elizabeth Berry Gray Chair and Professor, department of surgery, Boonshoft School of Medicine, and adjunct graduate faculty, School of Engineering, Wright State University (WSU); and an acute care surgeon at Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton, OH. Before moving to WSU, she was assistant professor of surgery (1983–1988) at Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine, Indianapolis.
An ACS Fellow since 1986, Dr. McCarthy has served in a number of leadership positions within the organization, including as an ACS Governor (1995–2001). As a Specialty Society Governor for the AWS, she served on the Nominating Committee (member, 1996–1997, and Vice-Chair, 1997–1998); the Governors Committee on Chapter Activities (1995–2001), chairing the committee’s Subcommittee on Chapter Membership Recruitment, Retention, and Diversification (1998–2001); and Advisor to the Governors Committee on Chapter Activities Executive Committee (1995).
Dr. McCarthy also served on the ACS Advisory Council for General Surgery and is a current member of the Committee on Trauma. She has served on the Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program (SESAP®) Committee, including as Co-Chair for SESAP XII, 1999; the Committee on Continuing Education (Member, 1994–1999, and Vice-Chair, 1995–1997); the Committee on Applicants for District 6 (present); and the Clinical Congress Abstract Selection Committee (2007–2009). While at IU, she was active in the Indiana Chapter, and she remains active in the Ohio chapter, having served on the Executive Committee (1995–2001) and the Ohio Committee on Trauma (1991–present).
She is a past-president of the AWS (1990–1992) and has served in prominent positions in the Association for Surgical Education, Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, Halsted Surgical Society, Midwest Surgical Association, Parkland Surgical Society, and Society of Critical Care Medicine.
She is the recipient of numerous professional awards, including the American Hospital Association Nova Award, and AWS Distinguished Member, Olga Jonasson Award, and Nina Starr Braunwald Awards. She is a prolific author of peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and abstracts on trauma and critical care.