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SPEAKER BIOS

Altorki

Dr. Nasser Altorki

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Dr. Nasser K. Altorki is the Vice Chairman of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital and is the David B. Skinner Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. He is also leader of the Experimental Therapeutics Program at the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center and Director of the Neuberger Berman Lung Cancer Research Center.

Beyond his expertise in the surgical treatment of lung cancer and other chest malignancies, he has a longstanding interest in studying the immune landscape as well as immunotherapy for early-stage lung cancer and has led several trials of adjuvant and neoadjuvant immunotherapy in early-stage lung cancer. Dr. Altorki has served as the principal investigator on a number of national and international clinical trials and has written numerous manuscripts and book chapters on lung cancer screening, staging and management of early lung cancer.

Bekele

Dr. Abebe Bekele

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Abebe Bekele, MD, FCS (ECSA), FACS, MAMSE, is Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) in Rwanda. He has served as CEO of the Black Lion Teaching Hospital and Dean of the School of Medicine of Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. He is a Professor of Surgery (General and Thoracic surgery) and has full professor faculty positions at UGHE, the Addis Ababa University and the University of Rwanda. He has received fellowships in Medical Education from the FAIMER institute in Philadelphia and in Simulation Based Education from the University of Washington. He has also graduated in Surgical Leadership from the Harvard Medical School. He has vast experience in medical and surgical education for more than 22 years and has served as visiting professor and external examiner in undergraduate and post graduate education in Ethiopia, Africa, and North America. He is a fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Master Surgical Educators of the American College of Surgeons.

Professor Abebe is the Secretary General of the College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) and served as Chairman of the Examinations and Credentials Committee for the past 7 years, He is the and Editor-in Chief of the East and Central Africa Journal of Surgery and sits on the editorial board of the JAMA health forum and the Ethiopian Medical Journal. He has published more than 100 articles and book chapters and is a recipient of several regional and international awards and recognitions. He serves as a member of the advisory councils and boards of the Ethiopian Ministry of Sciences and Higher Education, the WHO council on Learning and Capacity Building in Health Emergences, the Global Surgery foundation and the African Forum for Research and Education in Health

Professor Abebe is actively engaged in Global Safe Surgery and has served as a senior advisor to the Federal Ministry of Health, Ethiopia in the Saving Lives Through Safe Surgery initiative. He is passionate about equitable access to surgical care, care, gender equity in global surgery and surgical education. His research interest include trauma, surgical oncology, equity in global surgery and education.

Cunningham

Dr. Carrie Cunningham

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Dr. Cunningham is an Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Section Head of the Massachusetts General Hospital Endocrine Surgery Unit, Associate Director of Mentoring in the Department of Surgery, and an Associate Director of the MGH Institute for Technology Assessment. She is the principal investigator of extramural funding for her clinical research program through the NIH and the American Cancer Society. She is the immediate Past-President of the Association of Academic Surgery, a national organization with over 4,000 members with the mission “to inspire and develop young academic surgeons”. The focus of her presidency and her presidential address (available on YouTube) was mental health. Through her owned lived experience, she continues to advocate for mental health awareness, reducing stigma and enacting change for increased resources for those who are struggling in our community.

Feldman

Dr. Liane D. Feldman

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Dr Liane Feldman is the Edward W. Archibald Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at McGill University and Surgeon-in-chief at the McGill University Health Centre. Her clinical focus is minimally invasive gastrointestinal surgery. Her research program focuses on improving quality of abdominal surgery, including measurement of surgical recovery; optimization of perioperative care processes; and technology-enabled assessment and improvement of operative performance.

Title of Presentation: Langer Lecture

Synopsis of the presentation: Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Programs were introduced over 20 years ago as a strategy to implement evidence-based, multidisciplinary perioperative care into practice and improve value. This presentation will review what ERAS has helped accomplish in a Canadian setting and what is new in improving recovery including prehabilitation, same day discharge and the role of digital health to predict outcomes and support patients.

Galandiuk

Dr. Susan Galandiuk

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Bio coming soon!

Title of Presentation: CSCRS Gordon Lecture: Future Horizons in Colorectal Surgery

Grimminck

Dr. Rachel Grimminck

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Dr. Grimminck (she/her) is the Physician Associate for the Peer Support Portfolio with Well Doc Alberta and Well Doc Canada.  She is the former Clinical Medical Director of Psychiatric Emergency Services at Foothills Medical Center and led the development of the simulation program for psychiatry residents at the University of Calgary.  She is the recipient of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada 2020 Early Career Leadership in Medical Education, the Canadian Psychiatric Association 2020 Early Career Achievement in Psychiatry and a member of Calgary’s Top 40 under 40 class of 2020.

Huang

Dr. James Huang

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Bio coming soon!

Title of Presentation:  CATS STS Lecture: Lung Cancer Tips and Tricks

"Managing Multiple Primary Lungs Cancers"

Kaafarani

Dr. Haytham Kaafarani

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Bio coming soon!

Title of Presentation: Surgeons as a Second Victim / Moral Injury

Dr. Tsuyoshi Konishi

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Dr. Tsuyoshi Konishi is an associate professor of Colon and Rectal Surgery at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, USA.

Dr. Konishi completed advanced training in the field of Surgical Oncology and Colorectal Minimally Invasive Surgery at top institutions including the University of Tokyo, Cancer Institute Hospital of the JFCR and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Konishi served as an attending colorectal surgeon since 2010 and Head Attending since 2017 at Cancer Institute Hospital of the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research in Tokyo, Japan before moving to MD Anderson in 2020. He has been taking a leadership in advancing a minimally invasive surgery program for complex colorectal cancer.

Dr. Konishi’s research interest includes multidisciplinary approache for complex colorectal cancer, including neoadjuvant therapy, extended surgical resection and a minimally invasive surgery. Particularly, he has been taking an international leadership in studying and educating lateral pelvic lymph node in rectal cancer.

Dr. Konishi has given more than 100 invited lectures at international academic meetings and published more than 200 articles in the top-rated journals. He has been awarded from multiple major international and domestic academic societies for his works on novel minimally invasive approaches for complex colorectal cancer surgeries, such as the ASCRS Barton Hoexter, MD, Best Video Award in 2019 and 2022.

Lemaire

Dr. Jane Lemaire

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Dr. Jane Lemaire has worked in the field of physician wellness for almost 20 years as a researcher, knowledge translator, and thought leader. She has served in advisory roles for multiple organizations at the local, provincial, national, and international levels. She is co-founder/director of Well Doc Alberta and the Well Doc Canada pilot. Dr. Lemaire has received multiple acknowledgments for her career work in the field, most recently the Canadian Medical Association Dr. Léo-Paul Landry Medal of Service award (2022) that recognizes a CMA member who has made exceptional contributions to the advancement of health care in Canada.

Dr. Rebecca Minter

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Rebecca M. Minter, M.D., is the A.R. Curreri Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Previously, Dr. Minter held successive leadership roles at the University of Texas Southwestern and the University of Michigan, serving as Chief of the Hepatopancreatobiliary Section/Division at both institutions.

Dr. Minter's clinical practice is in the areas of pancreatobiliary and gastrointestinal surgery. She has a particular interest in the management and treatment of benign and neoplastic diseases of the pancreas. Dr. Minter is recognized as a clinical leader in her field and is a past President of the Americas Hepatopancreatobiliary Association and is the current Diversity and Inclusion Officer of the International Hepatopancreatobiliary Association.

Dr. Minter's research efforts focus on surgical education, specifically the development of training frameworks which explicitly define progressive entrustment and the development of autonomy. Dr. Minter holds national leadership positions in multiple societies in recognition of her work in the field of surgical education and academic surgery. She is a past President of the Society of University Surgeons and the Fellowship Council, and currently serves as a Board Director of the American Board of Surgery.

Okereke

Dr. Ikenna Okereke

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Dr. Okereke was raised in Detroit, Michigan and attended Johns Hopkins University.  He attended Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.  He did his general surgery residency at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and his cardiothoracic residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Dr. Okereke is the current Vice Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Henry Ford Health.  He is active in basic and outcomes research and has been awarded numerous NIH grants.  He established the Okereke Foundation in 2013 to provide mentorship and medical access for underrepresented communities.

Opitz

Dr. Isabelle Opitz

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Bio coming soon!

Title of Presentation:  CATS STS Lecture: Lung Cancer Tips and Tricks

"Pancoast Tumours - SWOT chemotherapy and radiation versus chemotherapy and immunotherapy: Surgical Considerations"

Redan

Dr. Jay Redan

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Dr. Redan is the Past President of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, Chief of Surgery at Advent Health-Celebration, in Celebration, Florida, USA, and Professor of Surgery at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine. Dr. Redan is also now Past President for the Florida Chapter American College of Surgeons and Governor for the State of Florida.

Dr Redan received his medical degree from and completed his residency in General Surgery at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey. He has recently recertified for the third time from the American Board of Surgery. He retired from the US Army and US Army National Guard as a Major. Dr Redan also a member of the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Charter member of the Society of Robotic Surgery and member of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. He is on the editorial staff of the Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, Surgical Endoscopy, Trocar.net, and the Journal of Robotic Surgery. He is a frequent lecturer and has published numerous journal articles and book chapters. He has been performing laparoscopic and thoracoscopic procedures since the infancy of this specialty.

 

Starting with laparoscopic cholecystectomy and diagnostic laparoscopy for trauma in 1989, he has participated in the growth of the specialty as it is now the standard of care for multiple surgical procedures. Dr. Redan has also been involved with the development of Hand-Assisted Laparoscopic Surgery (HALS), Robotic (i.e. Computer Assisted) Surgery, Natural Orifice Surgery (NOTES) as well as teaching, preceptoring and new product testing.

Additionally, as new technology evolves there is an increasing need for “team education” and “telemedicine” as it relates to the integration of endoscopy and laparoscopy in the Operating Room. As more specialized Robotic equipment continues to overlap into the Operating Room environment, our educational process needs to change to help develop safer Operating Rooms and better peri-operative care which is also a passion of Dr. Redan's.

Dr. David Suzuki

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Dr. David Suzuki has made it his life's work to help humanity understand, appreciate, respect and protect nature. He is familiar to television audiences as host of the CBC science and natural history television series The Nature of Things. In 2020 David received The Canadian Academy of Cinema and Television's Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been recognized by BC Achievement in partnership with the Lieutenant Governor of BC for his extraordinary work as a recipient of the 2021 BC Reconciliation Award. Dr. Suzuki is a Companion to the Order of Canada and a recipient of UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for science, the 2009 Right Livelihood Award, and UNEP’s Global 500. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and holds 31 honorary degrees from universities in Canada, United States and Australia. His written work includes more than 56 books, 19 of them for children. Dr. Suzuki lives with his wife and family in Vancouver, B.C.

Title of Presentation:

‘We Claim We Are Intelligent: Then why are we in such a mess?’
What Can We Learn from COVID-19 and Where Do We Go Now?

Synopsis of the presentation: The COVID-19 crisis has had two enormous and related consequences — it brought much of human activity to a halt and it’s given nature a respite. Both provide an opportunity to reset society's priorities and head in a different direction.


Confrontation with the reality of a new epidemic should have subdued political and economic imperatives to scientific reality and the US and Brazil have shown what happens when science is ignored or brushed aside. In a time of accusations of fake media, deep conspiracies, and relentless trolls, scientists should have regained authoritative prominence, and people have had to confront important questions about purpose, values, opportunities, and constraints in the way we choose to live.


During the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd in the US and Indigenous people and the outbreak of racist attacks against Asians in Canada have revealed deep-seated racism and inequities that must be dealt with in a post-COVID world. 


In this exploratory presentation, Dr. David Suzuki touches on some of the stark questions and answers we’ve encountered during this global pandemic, from our impact on the environment and our ability to change it, to our dependence on the human creation called the economy and the unfair treatment of our elders, indigenous people, homeless people, etc.


Suzuki puts out a call to action for all of us to rethink our priorities and learn the ultimate lesson in front of us — that nature can be far more forgiving than we deserve. Post-COVID, he says, let us continue to allow her to recover and learn how to put our efforts into living green and building a society that not only restores Earth’s sustainable productivity, yet encourages collaboration and humanity.

Tavakkoli

Dr. Ali Tavakkoli

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Dr. Tavakkoli is a minimally invasive and bariatric surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he serves as the chief of the Division of General and GI Surgery, co-director of the Center for Weight Management and Wellness, and director of the minimally invasive surgery fellowship. He is an associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School.  

He received his medical degree from The London Hospital Medical College in England and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (FRCS) before moving to Boston and finishing his surgical residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and subsequently completing the Harvard Advanced Minimally Invasive fellowship.  

Dr. Tavakkoli leads an active research group that studies the mechanisms of diabetes resolution after gastric bypass surgery, focusing on the role of intestinal metabolism and portal signaling.  His group’s goals are to develop less invasive alternatives to surgery that can replicate the metabolic benefits of surgery without the risks. 

He is an active member of many professional societies, including serving as a member of the Board of Governors of the American College of Surgeons, president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, and Recorder for the New England Surgical Society.  He is an associate editor for the journal of Digestive Disease and Sciences and on the editorial board of the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery.  He has been recognized for his dedication to surgical education with several teaching and mentorship awards throughout his career.

Wright

Dr. Frances Wright

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Professor of Surgery at University of Toronto

Solway Chair of Breast Cancer Surgery, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Skin Cancer Lead, Cancer Care Ontario-Ontario Health

Provincial Lead Surgical Oncology Program, Cancer Care Ontario- Ontario Health

 

Dr. Wright is a Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto and practices at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.  Her clinical areas of interest are melanoma and breast cancer.

She is the lead surgeon of the Temerty Breast Cancer Centre and awarded the Solway Chair in Breast Cancer in 2023.

 

Dr. Wright works at Cancer Care Ontario-Ontario Health as the Skin Cancer Lead (2018) and is also the Provincial Lead for the Surgical Oncology Program (2021).  

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