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2023 Nominees for ASCRS Fellow and International Fellow

Becoming a Fellow or International Fellow of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons is a rigorous process befitting the remarkable achievements of this highest class of membership. ASCRS Fellows enjoy the right to vote, hold office, serve on any committee of the Society, attend and appear on scientific programs and participate in discussions of scientific papers. Fellows are alternatively known as  “voting members” of ASCRS. Each year the current voting members are asked to give formal approval to applicants for Fellow and International Fellow membership in ASCRS, who have met the rigorous requirements.
The following members have been found qualified for consideration for ASCRS Fellow member status:

Ahmed Al-Khamis, MD
Allison Aka, MD
Anne-Lise D’Angelo, MD
Esther Hyunwoo Cha, MD
Evan Fitz, MD
Ira Lewis Leeds, MD
Jean-Paul Joseph LeFave, MD
Jesus Flores, MD
Jose Andujar, MD
Julia R. Berian, MD
Katherine Ann Kelley, MD
Kellie Cunningham, MD
Kristina Linnea Guyton, MD
Marcia Russell, MD
Molly Meyers, MD
Peter Hofman, MD
Sean Whelan, MD
Stephen P. Sharp, MD
Tamara Merchant-McCambry, MD
Victor Rodriguez-Rapale, MD

International Fellow
There were no International Fellow applicants during this voting period.
Change to the Voting Process
In September, the Executive Committee approved semi-annual electronic votes pertaining to Fellow elevation – once in the fall and the second vote one month before the Annual Business Meeting. 

Meet the 2024 Honorary Fellowship Nominees

Each year the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) recognizes up to six Honorary Fellows. Honorary Fellowship is designed to honor individuals, regardless of specialty, in recognition of their outstanding achievements and contributions to the field of colon and rectal surgery and allied fields. Nominees for Honorary Fellow should have made significant contributions to the peer reviewed literature, advancement and/or fostering of innovation, and education in the specialty of colon and rectal surgery or allied fields; demonstrated significant and/or sustained leadership within their country, national or regional society; developed and promulgated significant advances (clinical, research and/or technological) in the field of colon and rectal surgery and allied fields.

The Executive Council and members of the Honorary Fellowship Committee are pleased to submit the following slate of 2024 Honorary Fellow nominees for election.

Denise Hibbert RN, Saudi Arabia
  • Senior Advisor to the Director General, Health Affairs of Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahmam University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Registered Nurse and Senior Lecturer at Al Faisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • President Elect of the World Council of Enterostomal Therapists® (WCET®)
  • Executive Board Member of WCET®
  • Editorial Board member of Annals of Saudi Medicine, World Journal of Colorectal Surgery, the World Council of Enterostomal Therapists Journal and Advances in Skin and Wound Care.
  • Established Saudi Chapter of Enterostomal therapists in 2012.
  • Founder of a nationally and internationally recognized formal education program (diploma program) in enterostomal therapy in Saudi Arabia and initiated ET training into the curriculum of medical schools.
  • 35 years of experience in colorectal nursing with 25 years in stoma, wound, continence, and anorectal physiology and widely regarded as bringing expertise and training in the care of stoma patients to Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East.
  • Introduced Anorectal Physiology testing and biofeedback therapy in Saudi Arabia, including training for both Colorectal Fellows and Enterostomal Therapists   

Dr. Brij Agarwal, India
  • Co-chair of Department of Laparoscopic, Laser and General Surgery at Ganga Ram Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi (Chair as of December 1, 2023)
  • Founding Director of the post-doctoral fellowship program in colorectal surgery in Northern India
  • Editor in Chief, Indian Journal of Colorectal Surgery
  • National award (2016) of “outstanding surgeon of the year” by the Association of Surgeons of India (ASI is the national body of surgeons with more than 30,000 surgeons), State award (2015) for “best surgeon of the year” by the Association of Surgeons of India (ASI), and National award (2014) of “outstanding researcher of the year” by the Association of Surgeons of India (ASI)
  • Past president of the Association of Surgeons of India (2018)
  • Vice President of International Society of Coloproctology (2015-2017)
  • Associate Editor, Indian Journal of Surgery (2013-2018)
  • Established a foundation KRISH (Knowledge Research Innovation in Science of Health) which provides academic support and grants to residents in surgery in addition to organizing an annual meeting bringing international surgery leaders for interaction with young surgeons since 2012.
  • Widely regarded for his passion for teaching, training young surgeons and elevating colorectal care in India.
  • Developed an annual international colorectal surgery summit at his institution with colorectal surgery leadership from the USA and Europe.

Dr. Carlo Ratto, Italy
  • Chief of Proctology and Pelvic Floor surgery, Catholic University Hospital “A. Gemelli”, Rome Italy
  • Associate Professor of Surgery
  • Inventor of the GateKeeper and SphinKeeper procedure for fecal incontinence and developed aspects of the THD procedure for hemorrhoidal disease.
  • Former General Secretary and former Vice President of the Italian Society of Colorectal Surgery (SICCR)
  • Editor of textbooks on Fecal Incontinence: Diagnosis and Treatment and three volume of book series “Coloproctology”
  • European Society of Coloproctology- former ESCP delegate from Italy
  • Research and clinical interests – rectal prolapse and ODS, fecal incontinence, hemorrhoids, anal fistula, anal cancer (HPV related diseases), and anorectal physiology.
  • Editorial boards-Techniques in Coloproctology, World Journal of Gastroenterology and Advisory Board of Colorectal Disease.

Professor Antonino Spinelli, Italy
MD, PhD, FEBS (Colo), FESA, FASCRS, CBCD (Hon), CSS (Hon)
  • Director of the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Humanitas, Rozzano Milano and Co-Director of the integrated IBD Center, Humanitas Research hospital, Rozzano, Milano
  • Professor of Surgery, Humanitas University
  • Director of Residency Program in General Surgery and Lead of the Surgical Innovation Committee
  • President Elect European Society of Colon and Rectal Surgery
  • Research and Clinical interests include colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease, surgical innovation, robotic surgery and ERAS.
  • 365 publications plus 11 book chapters
  • H index (Scopus) 55
  • Editorial Boards/Associated Editor Role - Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, Journal of the Anus, Rectum and Colon, Journal of Crohn’s Colitis, Coloproctology, Updates in Surgery, Colorectal Disease.
Election of 2024 Honorary Fellows
The 2024 Honorary Fellow nominees will be voted on ahead of the 2024 Annual Business meeting in Baltimore this June. The purpose is to allow time for recipients to be notified and to make arrangements to travel to the meeting.  ASCRS Voting Fellows will receive a separate communication with information about voting.

We hope you will join us in Baltimore June 1-4, 2024, to meet our honorees. Register today for ASM 2024 and join us for our 125th Anniversary!

National Study to Document Changes in Physician Practice Expense

The American Medical Association (AMA) is undertaking a new national study, supported by 173 health care organizations, to collect representative data on physician practice expenses. The aim of the Physician Practice Information Survey is to better understand the costs faced by today’s physician practices to support physician payment advocacy. The study will serve as an opportunity to communicate accurate financial information to policymakers, including members of Congress and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The AMA has contracted with Mathematica, an independent research company with extensive experience in survey methods as well as health care delivery and finance reform, to conduct the study.

The Medicare physician payment schedule, maintained by CMS and used by many other payers, relies on 2006 cost information to develop practice expense relative values, the Medicare Economic Index and resulting physician payments. As the U.S. economy and health care system have undergone substantial changes since that time, including inflation and the wide-spread adoption of electronic health records and other information technology systems, practice expense payments no longer accurately reflect the relative resources that are typically required to provide physician services.

The study will rely on financial experts in the practice to complete an online financial information survey. The number of direct patient care hours is a critical component of the Medicare payment methodology. Therefore, thousands of individual physicians will receive a short patient care hours survey from either their practice directly or from Mathematica. The input from physician practices and individual physicians that are randomly selected to participate in this study is critical for its success. Participation will ensure that practice expenses and patient care hours are accurately reflected.

ASCRS Hosts Another Successful Pathway Program for Students During the 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting

The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) hosted an immersive one-day pathway program for 35 Seattle-area high school, medical, and college students interested in the field of surgery during the society's 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting in Seattle, Washington on June 4, 2023. 

DEI-Pathways-1The ASCRS Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee led this program for students. Industry partners Applied Medical, Cook Biotech, Ethicon, Intuitive, Medtronic, Olympus, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals also participated in the program by providing hands-on surgical robotics, suturing stations and presentations about technology within the specialty. Other program support was provided by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and Tour 4 Diversity
The program kicked off with a welcome breakfast for students and their parents, while they listened to life stories and medical school journeys from Dr. Sharon Dykes, Dr. Martin Uwah, and Dr. Carolina Martinez. Students and parents took a walk through a 12-foot-by-12-foot inflatable colon that displayed descriptive banners next to disease replicas, intended to spark conversation and increase awareness of colon health. Additionally, students attended sessions that promoted awareness for making healthy lifestyle choices, understanding the importance of colon health, and breaking the status quo when it comes to diversity in the colorectal field. Students concluded the day with a lesson on suturing, using kits donated by THD America followed by a friendly suturing competition.  


The DEI Committee's mission is to help ASCRS provide diverse and equitable care to patients and create a diverse colorectal workforce. Sharing information on the medical and surgical fields with curious young minds goes beyond making a difference in the colorectal surgery field.  

“Seeing this inspires me to move forward. Even if you don’t want to go into medicine, just having the drive to do something like this (program) is going to translate to whatever you do want to do.” Dr. Martin Uwah stated during his talk to students. 
ASCRS will host its next student pathway program in Baltimore, Maryland, at the ASCRS 2024 Annual Scientific Meeting. 

ASCRS Announces 2023 David Jagelman Award Winner

The Jagelman Award honors the memory of Dr. David Jagelman, whose advocacy for his patients at the Cleveland Clinic is legendary. 

Dr. Jagelman founded and directed the Cleveland Clinic’s Familial Polyposis Registry and had become chair of the Department of Colorectal Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Florida shortly before he died from kidney cancer in 1993, at age 53.   

.           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .

This year, we honor the Colon Cancer Foundation with the David Jagelman award.

In 2004 Dr. Thomas Weber founded the nation’s first public colon cancer awareness event – the Colon Cancer Challenge. As a surgical oncologist working daily with colorectal cancer patients, he saw the need for increasing public awareness of the nation’s second deadliest form of cancer and the importance of expanding research focused on the causes and cures of colorectal cancer.

The Colon Cancer Challenge has grown to attract thousands of participants and supporters from around the nation, and in 2008 the Colon Cancer Foundation was established with a formal mission of reducing colorectal cancer and related deaths through supporting research, increasing public awareness and education, and collaborating with strategic partners in the fight against colorectal cancer.

A significant area of focus for the Colon Cancer Foundation is research, including the understanding of the causes for early age onset and hereditary colorectal cancer. The Foundation has been supporting young investigators since its first Colon Cancer Challenge walk in Central Park. Additionally, CCF has created a colorectal cancer provider outreach program providing reassurance and support starting at the time of diagnosis. CCF is also the creator of the Protect Your Butt program and call center that puts on fundraising and awareness programs each year. All money raised during Protect Your Butt! Campaigns helps to raise awareness of the nation’s second leading cancer killer and provides funds for colorectal cancer research, education, and prevention programs for the underserved.

ASCRS presented the 2023 Jagelman Award to the Colon Cancer Foundation during the 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting in Seattle, Washington. 

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