News From the College

Barbara Lee Bass, MD, FACS, receives 2013 Distinguished Service Award


In acknowledgement of her steadfast commitment to the initiatives and principles of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), Barbara Lee Bass, MD, FACS, is the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Service Award . A Fellow since 1987, Dr. Bass is the John F. and Carolyn Bookout Distinguished Endowed Chair, chair of the department of surgery, and general surgery residency program director at The Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX. The Distinguished Service Award is the ACS’s highest honor and was presented during the Convocation ceremonies at the 2013 Clinical Congress.

Leadership in the ACS

Dr. Barbara Lee Bass

The DSA Award to Dr. Bass is given in appreciation of her exceptional service to ACS "for more than 20 years in noteworthy leadership roles," according to the award citation. Dr. Bass served as an ACS Regent (2001-2010) and on the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents (2005-2009). As a Regent, she was a member of the Finance Committee (2005-2010), the Member Services Liaison Committee (2004-2008), the Central Judiciary Committee (2002-2005), the Women in Surgery Committee (2000-present), and the Scholarship Committee. She is a Past-Chair of both the ACS Committee on Education (2003-2006) and the Clinical Congress Program Committee (2005-2011).

Previously, Dr. Bass served on the ACS Board of Governors (1995-2001), as a member of the Governors Executive Committee (1998-2001), and ultimately as Chair (1999-2001). She chaired the Governors Committee on Surgical Practice (1997-1998) and was a member of the Governors Committees on Socioeconomic Issues (1996-1998) and Physician Competence (1999-2001).

Dr. Bass also is recognized as a surgeon champion of the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®) and served on the Steering Committee for that program (2004-2010). In addition, she served on the ACS Health Policy Advisory Committee (2008-2010) and the Transition to Practice working group (2011).

Dr. Bass has held leadership roles in many other professional organizations including chair of the American Board of Surgery, chair and president of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, and president of the Society of Surgical Chairs.

She has inspired other women in surgery and as a result has received the Nina Starr Braunwald Award and the Distinguished Member Award from the Association of Women Surgeons.

Dedicated surgical educator

The award also is being presented, "In acknowledgement of her outstanding clinical and academic contributions to the field of general surgery" and "her commitment to teaching the next generation of surgeons," the citation states. In addition to her previously mentioned positions at The Methodist Hospital, Dr. Bass is the executive director of the Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation and Education and serves on the Education Institute steering committee. She is course director, department of surgery grand rounds, and clinical faculty for students from other institutions on rotations at The Methodist Hospital. She is professor of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, and senior member of The Methodist Hospital Research Institute.

Dr. Bass has been responsible for mentoring 27 pre- and postdoctoral fellows, presented and published more than 130 manuscripts with trainees throughout her career, and delivered more than 70 named lectureships and invited talks.

Prior to taking on her roles at The Methodist Hospital in 2005, Dr. Bass was associate chair for research and academic affairs, general surgery residency program director, and professor of surgery, department of surgery, University of Maryland, Baltimore. While at the University of Maryland, Dr. Bass also held several positions at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Baltimore, culminating in her service as director of the surgical care center and chief of surgical service.

Dr. Bass’s career in surgical education began at George Washington University in Washington, DC, which she left in 1994 as an associate professor of surgery. She also held various prestigious posts at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD; Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC; and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Washington, DC.

Dr. Bass studied at Bennington College, VT, and Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of science degree from Tufts University, Medford, MD. She earned her medical degree from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. She completed her surgical internship and general surgery residency at George Washington University and a gastrointestinal surgical research fellowship at Walter Reed.

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