Education Recognition WISE

Awad Named President of Association for Surgical Education

Michael Awad holding gavel at ASE annual meeting

Michael Awad, MD, PhD, MHPE, has been named President of the Association for Surgical Education (ASE). The announcement came during Surgical Education Week in San Diego, CA.

“I am truly humbled, honored and privileged to have this opportunity to further the tradition of excellence in surgical education,” says Awad, a professor of surgery.

Awad is director of the Washington University Institute for Surgical Education (WISE), an American College of Surgeons (ACS) Accredited Education Institute. Awad also directs the WISE Simulation Fellowship and serves as an associate program director for the general surgery residency. Additionally, he serves as chair of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Robotics Steering Committee and Director of Robotic Surgery for BJC HealthCare.

In 2020, Awad was selected as a member of the Washington University Academy of Educators and an associate member of the ACS Academy of Master Surgeon Educators. He is an Executive Officer of the ASE and is on the Editorial Board of the ASE Journal, Global Surgical Education. Awad serves in multiple leadership roles for the ASE, ACS, SAGES, American Foregut Society and Association for Program Directors in Surgery.

Awad has received numerous awards for his remarkable commitment to education, including three Evarts A. Graham Surgical Resident Teaching Awards, the Moley Faculty Mentorship Award, four Clinical Teacher of the Year Awards and the Class of 2023 Inclusion Distinguished Service Teaching Award. A past Jerome and Carol Loeb Teaching Fellow, Awad received the Recognition of Excellence Medallion and the Phillip J. Wolfson Outstanding Teaching Award from the ASE.

“Mentorship has been key throughout my career,” says Awad. His mentors at Washington University have included Director of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center Timothy Eberlein, MD, who is also Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor. During his time as chair of the department, Eberlein recruited Awad and encouraged him to pursue opportunities in surgical education at the institutional and national level. Other mentors have included Professor Emeritus Mary Klingensmith, MD, who is Senior Vice President for Procedural Accreditation at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), and Chief of Minimally Invasive Surgery Michael Brunt, MD, the Pruett Family Professor of Surgery. “I also want to thank our chair, Dr. John Olson, who continues to promote and encourage excellence in surgical education at Washington University.”

Awad, whose passion for education began early in college, joined the ASE during his residency training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. After serving on several committees, he was selected as ASE Treasurer, during which time he ushered the society through the challenges of the pandemic.

As president, Awad aims to expand the reach of knowledge to a wider audience, including international members, surgeons in community health centers, trainees in osteopathic programs, military members and others.

“The ASE has long recognized the importance of creating a positive learning environment for our trainees and educators,” says Awad. “To that end, I want to make sure the society continues to foster a dialogue and lead the narrative around diversity, equity and inclusion in surgical education. We have the opportunity to create healthy learning environments and help our trainees grow into inclusive leaders in surgical education.”

Part of this vision includes developing the infrastructure for a learning management system to host ASE’s education content, making these resources more accessible to trainees and educators in local communities and around the world.

“The mission of the ASE, as stated in the association’s bylaws, is ‘to lead innovation, scholarship, and professional development in surgical education.’ I can think of no one better suited to lead the ASE in this mission than Dr. Awad, a truly masterful surgical educator,” says Bixby Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery John Olson Jr., MD, PhD.