On October 22, the Digestive Health Institute’s Dr. Sharona Ross was presented with the Nina Starr Braunwald Award at the Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) Annual Conference and American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress in Boston. Each year, AWS bestows the award “in recognition of sustained, outstanding contributions to the advancement of women in surgery.” The award is the highest honor the AWS Foundation confers.
“It is an amazing honor,” said Dr. Ross. “I am humbled to be counted among this distinguished group of surgeons.”
Created in 1993, the Nina Starr Braunwald Award has honored 23 female surgeons to date. In 2006, the award was given to the American College of Surgeons, the world’s largest association of surgeons and a group committed to increasing the ranks of women in surgery. The award’s namesake, Dr. Braunwald, was born in 1928 and became the first woman to be certified by the American Board of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Dr. Braunwald pioneered the development of artificial mitral valves for the heart. She was one of the first women to perform open-heart surgery and led the team in 1960 that was the first to successfully perform heart valve replacement.
Dr. Ross is an advanced foregut and hepatopancreaticobiliary (HPB) surgeon who specializes in minimally invasive and robotic procedures for the esophagus, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, stomach and more. She is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a distinction awarded to surgeons who demonstrate high degrees of professional proficiency and adherence to rigorous ethical standards.
Aside from being an accomplished minimally invasive surgeon, Dr. Ross has long been driven by a mission to help young women understand surgery can be a rewarding career choice. To that end, she founded and organized the Women in Surgery Career Symposium. The annual event, now in its 10th year, attracts women from high school through medical school and beyond, and provides encouragement and support.
“Today, women make up half of all medical school students, yet fewer than 1 in 5 surgeons is female,” said Dr. Ross. “I believe our efforts are changing that, and I’m proud to serve as a mentor for young women as they pursue careers in medicine.”
The next Women in Surgery Career Symposium takes place February 15-16, 2019, at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort in St. Pete Beach, Florida. Visit women-in-surgery.com for full information and to register for the event.