Global Surgery Speakers

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Global Surgery

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Keynote Speakers

Raymond R. Price, M.D., FACS

Recognized as an international leader and pioneer in expanding the role of surgery in public health, Dr. Price’s work highlights the dramatic impact surgery can have on communities, economies and individuals. Dr. Price co-founded and serves as the director of the Center for Global Surgery at the University of Utah and directs the graduate surgical education at Intermountain Medical Center, Intermountain Healthcare. Dr. Price received his BS from the University of Utah, MD from Harvard Medical School, and completed his surgical residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Price is a Clinical Professor (Department of Surgery) at the University of Utah.  He has participated in or led medical and surgical expeditions to Asia, Latin America, and Africa.  He has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and books. He serves (or has served) in many leadership positions with the WHO Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care, the Society of American and Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), the American College of Surgeons, and the International Surgical Society (ISS).

Honors received include: Utah Medical Association 2017 Physician of the Year, Presidential Friendship Medal, Mongolia, American College of Surgeons-Pfizer International Volunteerism Award, a Medal of Honor from the Minister of Health of Mongolia, and multiple teaching awards. His greatest work, however, is with his wonderful wife Anne and their 7 daughters and one son who also volunteer internationally and at home.

Surgical Care for a Better World

Timely and appropriate surgical care builds communities, expands economies, saves lives, and engenders hope.  This talk explores inspiring examples of people overcoming some of the most vexing problems for access for affordable quality surgical care and describes some of the current national and international movements propelling surgery as a realistic component for mainstream public health initiatives.

Additional Speakers

Oluyinka Olutoye, MD, PhD

Dr. Olutoye is Professor of Surgery, Pediatrics and Obstetrics & Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine and is Co-Director of the Texas Children’s Fetal Center at Texas Children’s Hospital, in Houston, Texas. Dr. Olutoye also serves as Co-Director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Global Surgery & Anesthesiology Program, Co-Chair of the Texas Children’s Hospital Global Health Steering Committee and is a member of the leadership team of Texas Children’s Global HOPE (Hematology-Oncology Pediatric Excellence), a $100 million public-private partnership to establish an innovative pediatric hematology-oncology treatment network in southern and east Africa. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, American Academy of Pediatrics and the West African College of Surgeons. Dr. Olutoye completed his medical school education at Obafemi Awolowo University, in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and received his Ph.D. and advanced surgical and research training in the United States. Dr. Olutoye has specialized clinical expertise in fetal and neonatal surgery, with specific interest in congenital diaphragmatic hernia and complex wounds. Dr. Olutoye’s research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and by grants from industry and philanthropy. Dr. Olutoye has participated in over 30 medical missions to Russia, Guatemala, Haiti, Malawi, Botswana and Liberia.

Children’s Surgery at Home and Abroad: Lessons Learned

Will discuss the experiences of a pediatric surgeon in global surgery, opportunities for involvement, challenges, joys and lessons learned.

Sandi Lam, MD, MBA

Dr. Lam is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, Section of Pediatric Neurosurgery. She is a faculty affiliate at the Baylor Center for Ethics and Policy as well as a faculty advisor for the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute. Her clinical focus encompasses pediatric epilepsy surgery, cerebrovascular surgery, and craniofacial surgery, with expertise in minimally invasive surgical techniques and in development of multidisciplinary patient-centered clinical programs. Her academic program is based on health services research with aspects of quality improvement and outcomes research, and using big data analytics to understand and improve health care utilization and delivery. This focus intersects with health policy and advocacy. Aligning with the efforts of her mentor to develop pediatric neurosurgery in the developing world, Dr. Lam contributes to building a sustainable pediatric neurosurgery service and clinical training program in Kenya along with other international neurosurgery efforts.

Developing Pediatric Neurosurgery in the Developing World: Lessons in Collaboration, Sustainability, Public Health, and Neurosurgical Education

Dr. Lam will share perspectives and lessons learned from experiences in Kijabe, Kenya from 2011-2018, and discuss building sustainability in international neurosurgery.

Stephen Guy, MD

Dr. Guy is a kidney, pancreas and liver transplant surgeon who currently serves as Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation at Drexel University School of Medicine. He was instrumental in developing minimally invasive, laparoscopic living donor nephrectomy for kidney transplantation. He has published extensively and lectured nationally regarding numerous research initiatives, as well as clinical aspects of kidney and liver transplant surgery. He has also served as Director of Transplant programs in multiple medical centers in which he has worked over his career and has served in leadership positions in numerous transplant organizations. In the service of global health, he was instrumental in an international effort to start a living donor kidney transplant program in Guyana, SA and extend it into the Caribbean Basin. Currently, he is also developing a cadaveric kidney transplant initiative in Guyana SA. Dr. Guy received his B.A. from Boston University and his M.D. from Boston University School of Medicine. He completed his surgical residency at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and his American Society of Transplant Surgeons approved Multi-Organ Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Surgery Fellowship at the Mount Sinai Hospital Recanati/Miller Transplantation Institute in New York City.

Barriers to Renal Transplant in Developing Countries

I will discuss the challenges and barriers to the introduction of a complex first world medical/surgical program, renal transplantation, in the developing country, Guyana, South America. While providing a life-saving and altruistic intervention in an impoverished and underdeveloped country, far from the resources that we take for granted in the United States, we encountered a host of complex issues. This presentation will review the social, financial, organizational, ethical and technical hurdles that were encountered over the years. Additionally, long term follow-up for donors and recipients becomes infinitely more complex.

Girma Tefera, MD

Dr. Tefera is a vascular surgeon at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Tefera joined the American College of Surgeons Division of Member Services as the new Medical Director of the Operation Giving Back Program in February 2015.  His clinical research interests include abdominal aortic aneurysm treatment with endovascular stent graft and other complex aneurysmal diseases of the thoracic and abdominal aorta.  He is currently the principal investigator of 7 clinical trials focusing on vascular diseases. Dr. Tefera is the lead physician in the development of our newly open hybrid operating room where integration and fusion of different imaging modalities is applied. Additionally, Dr. Tefera leads DHHS-funded international efforts to design health care systems and education in Ethiopia. He leads the University of Wisconsin efforts in the development of Emergency medical services in Ethiopia. He is also in the process of establishing vascular and endovascular surgery services in Ethiopia. As a US partner with Addis Ababa University (MEPI grant), Dr. Tefera has assisted with the introduction of mentoring and basic as well as advanced clinical research programs. He is a devoted mentor to medical students, residents and vascular fellows.

A Call to Surgeons to Advance Global Health

Larry Hollier, MD

Dr. Hollier serves as the Surgeon in Chief of Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) as well as the Chief of Plastic Surgery at the Baylor College of Medicine. Clinically, he specializes in pediatric facial reconstruction including cleft and craniofacial repair. He has also been very focused on improving the patient and family experience at TCH by initiating projects such as same-day clinic appointments and surgeries and the first ever pediatric pharmacy delivery project in which families receive their child’s medicines and are counseled by a pediatric pharmacist before discharge. For this work, he was named Physician of the Year for the United States in 2016 by Press Ganey. He has authored over 200 manuscripts and over 50 book chapters. He serves as editor or co-editor for many scientific journals. He’s also been very involved in global surgical work. In addition to organizing and participating in numerous educational and capacity building surgical projects in Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East, he serves as director of the Baylor Global Surgery Fellowship. He also serves as chairman of the Medical Board of Smile Train, helping supervise safety and quality in over 100,000 pediatric surgeries in 85 countries around the world.

A Sustainable Scalable Model for Global Surgical Efforts

Smile Train is a Global surgical NGO focused exclusively on the problem of Cleft care. Smile Train‘s efforts are directed at identifying qualified local providers and safe facilities in which this care can be delivered. Through a proprietary online system, patient records are uploaded and the safety and the quality of the results evaluated. Once this has been assured, funding is provided appropriate to the case mix and volume. Using this approach, Smile Train has developed approximately 2000 partner surgeons in over 1000 hospitals in 85 countries across the world. These efforts are responsible for surgery on over 100,000 children annually. Research evaluating the global economic impact and the move towards provision of more comprehensive care will be discussed.


Michael Belfort, MD, PhD

Dr. Michael A. Belfort is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), and Obstetrician and Gynecologist-in-Chief at Texas Children’s Hospital. Dr. Belfort did his graduate education at the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, earning his Basic Medical Degree (MBBCH: Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery) in 1981. After his internship, he spent 2 years in the military and subsequently earned a Diploma in Anesthesia before beginning his first Ob/Gyn residency at the University of Cape Town which he completed in 1989. He has a Post Graduate MD from the University of Cape Town (1990) for his thesis on Neonatal Brain Blood flow. He completed his second OB/Gyn residency at BCM from 1989–1993 and then did an MFM Fellowship from 1993-1995 at BCM. He then went on to earn a PhD from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Dr. Belfort has more than 290 peer-reviewed publications in his areas of interest and holds two patents – one for a drain used in the management of malignant ascites in ovarian cancer, and a US Patent for a tamponade balloon system used in the management of postpartum hemorrhage.

Baylor/Malawi Women’s Health Initiatives: Setting Up and Growing a Program

Glenn Geelhoed, MD, MPH

Glenn received his BS and AB cum laude from Calvin College and MD cum laude from the University of Michigan. He completed his surgical internship and residency through Harvard University at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital Medical Center. To assist in developing further volunteer surgical services in underserved areas, Glenn completed master’s degrees in international affairs, epidemiology, health promotion and disease prevention, anthropology, and a philosophy degree in human sciences. He works as a Professor of Surgery at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington D.C. and is a member of numerous medical, surgical, and international academic societies. He is also a widely published author accredited with several books and more than 500 published journal articles and chapters in books. He is the founder of Mission to Heal, a nonprofit organization through which he and his team provide surgical services in the most remote areas of the world using the Mobile Surgical Unit (MSU) as their essential tool. He also provides medical training to the indigenous population to ensure his work has a sustainable and culturally embedded future.

Bringing Surgery to the People – the furthest people first – then backfilling the global healthcare gap

Bruce MacFadyen, MD

Bruce V. MacFadyen, M.D. graduated from Drexel Medical School and did his general surgery residency at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas Houston. Following residency, he joined the faculty of the University of Texas Medical School Houston pursuing his clinical and research interests in gastrointestinal surgery, surgical nutrition and surgical education. He has been actively involved in the development of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) and has been President of the Society American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) and the Houston Surgical Society. In addition, he has been co-editor of the journal Surgical Endoscopy and Seminars in Laparoscopic Surgery. In 2002, he joined the faculty of the Medical College of Georgia, became Chairman of the Department of Surgery, and developed a research and clinical program in MIS. Presently, he is Clinical Professor of Surgery at the McGovern Medical School. In addition, Dr. MacFadyen has travelled to numerous developing countries teaching and performing surgery. In 1996, he helped to develop the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS) which trains general surgery residents in rural mission hospitals in Africa. PAACS now has 70 general surgery residents and residency training programs in orthopedic surgery, head and neck surgery, cardiothoracic surgery and pediatric surgery in 9 countries.

General Surgery Residency in Africa

In Africa, there are 56 million surgical procedures that are not being performed because of a lack of trained general surgeons. This lack of surgical resources is particularly acute in rural Africa, and as a result, many people with potentially treatable surgical conditions will die. In 1996, the Pan African Acad
rained surgeons will have graduated by 2020. In addition, residencies have been started in orthopedic surgery, pediatric surgery, and cardiothoracic surgery along with a fellowship in head and neck surgery. Further growth and the impact of these programs will be discussed.

Rachel Davis, MD

Seeing that there were gaps in contemporary general surgical education for those planning to practice in resource-limited settings, Dr. Rachel Davis envisioned and created the Baylor College of Medicine Global Surgery Track. Since 2014, she has worked with the BCM Department of Surgery to develop educational opportunities in global surgery for students, residents, and professionals. Now in her second year of Global Surgery Fellowship training, Dr. Davis has operated in Ecuador, Guatemala, Malawi, Mongolia, Nepal, and Tanzania, and has worked with Dr. Walt Johnson in the area of Emergency and Essential Surgery at the World Health Organization. She completed her MD at Baylor College of Medicine, and has been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, and the Gold Humanism Honor Society. She directed the first two HGHC global health conferences and is a current member of the HGHC Board of Directors.

Sharpening the Knife: Preparing Surgeons for Global Practice

With increasing specialization of surgical education, US surgeons are often untrained in skills necessary for practice in austere or resource-limited environments. Dr. Davis will speak on global surgery educational opportunities for students, residents, and practicing surgeons. With lessons learned from the development of the Baylor College of Medicine Global Surgery Track and the Tropical Surgery, Obstetrics, and Gynecology diploma course, she will also discuss how to approach the creation of an academic global surgery program for your home institution.

Aaron Abarbanell, MD

Dr. Abarbanell obtained a BA in Romance Studies from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, prior to embarking on a six-year tour on active duty with the United States Navy. He served with Naval Support Force Antarctica, went to sea on the destroyer USS Caron (DD 970), and finished his career on the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). He then worked for Ethicon Endo-Surgery selling surgical devices developing a love for surgery. He completed his premedical requirements at Scripps College in Claremont, CA. He attended the University of Michigan Medical School leading surgical missions to Honduras with otolaryngology and anesthesia faculty. In his fourth year of medical school, he worked at Karoyln Kempton Memorial Hospital in Togo, West Africa on the general surgery team. He proceeded to train in general surgery at Indiana University continuing to work overseas in Togo and Kenya. He completed a MS in Clinical Research and was in the inaugural class of the global health program. He completed thoracic residency at Emory University and congenital cardiac surgery fellowship at USC/Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. He is a pediatric heart surgeon at Washington University in St. Louis.

The Road Less Traveled? Pursuing a passion for global cardiac surgery

Moderator: Megan Vu, MD

After graduating from the University of Florida, Megan was inducted into the UF Hall of Fame and named Woman Leader of the Year for her work to preserve the Vietnamese language program during statewide cuts and for her advocacy in an international human trafficking case. She graduated from the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine with a Navy HPSP scholarship. She served as Executive Director of the global health student organization MedPACt, helped establish the first student-run free clinic at UCF, and organized numerous global medical outreach trips to Jamaica, Peru, Vietnam and the Dominican Republic. She completed her General Surgery internship at Naval Medical Center San Diego and is currently a General Surgery resident at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. She founded the Association of Women Surgeons at both UCF and BCM and will be the second Global Surgery Fellow at BCM. Last but not least, Megan is a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.


Moderator: Youmna Sherif, MD

Youmna Sherif is a first year general surgery resident at the Baylor College of Medicine. Her interest in global surgery began early in her medical career. During her first year as a medical student she designed and implemented a research project concerning the sequela of the hepatitis C endemic. As a resident she is part of Baylor’s Global Surgery Fellowship and is planning to continue her work in Egypt with a focus on hepatocellular carcinoma.