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Patricia L. Numann wins top ACS honor

Patricia J. Numann, MD, FACS, receives American College of Surgeons Lifetime Achievement Award

Patricia J. Numann, MD, FACS, past president of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor with a longtime association with Upstate Medical University, has been awarded an ACS Lifetime Achievement award.

The award was presented Oct. 29 during the ACS Convocation ceremony that preceded the opening of the College’s 2019 Clinical Congress, one of the largest international meetings of surgeons in the world.

Numann is the fourth surgeon to be accorded this distinction. Previous recipients are C. Rollins Hanlon, MD, FACS, Past-Executive Director of the ACS; George F. Sheldon, MD, FACS, ACS Past-President; and Thomas R. Russell, MD, FACS, Past-Executive Director of the ACS.

Numann has ardently devoted her entire professional life to Upstate. After earning a medical degree there in 1965, she completed a combined internship in medicine and surgery (1965–1966), and then trained as a general surgery resident (1966–1970). After residency, Numann was appointed assistant professor of surgery (1970–1975), and then rose through the academic ranks at Upstate serving as associate professor of surgery (1975–1989), associate dean of the College of Medicine (1978–1984), associate dean of the College of Medicine Clinical Affairs (1989–1994), professor of surgery (1989–2007), medical director of the University Hospital (1997–2007), and Lloyd S. Rogers Professor of Surgery (2000–2007) and SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus.

Numann also served as attending surgeon at Upstate (1989–2007); staff surgeon at Veteran’s Affairs Hospital (1970–2007); and as consulting surgeon at Crouse Hospital (1970–2006), all located in Syracuse. Numann is board certified by the American Board of Surgery (1971, re-certified 1994).

Numann became a Fellow of the College in 1974 and has actively contributed to the work of the ACS for many years. She has attended every Clinical Congress since 1969. Most recently, she served on the ACS Foundation Board of Directors (2011–2018), starting as an ex-offico member during her College presidency. Among her other leadership positions in the ACS, she served as ACS Second Vice-President (1999–2000) and as Director, ACS Fundamentals of Surgery Curriculum (FSC), and led the ACS FSC Steering Committee. She continues to serve as ACS FSC Co-Chair and on the ACS Entering Resident Readiness Assessment Committee.

In 2006, the ACS recognized Numann for her invaluable service contributions by naming her the recipient of its Distinguished Service Award, the College’s highest honor. In 2018, she was selected as an inaugural Fellow of the ACS Academy of Master Surgical Educators.

Throughout her surgical career, Numann’s clinical and scientific interests have focused on breast disease, and thyroid and parathyroid disease, a commitment reflected in the establishment of Breast & Endocrine Surgery Center at Upstate in 1986. Moreover, she received grants and served as principal investigator or co-investigator of several studies researching various aspects of breast and endocrine disease. When Numann retired from active clinical practice and as Lloyd S. Rogers Professor of Surgery in 2007, she was awarded emeritus status by SUNY, and the Breast and Endocrine Center was renamed in her honor. In 2009, it was announced that “in honor of her life’s work and outstanding dedication,” Upstate was creating its first endowed chair for a woman: the Patricia J. Numann, MD, Chair of Surgery.

Known as an outstanding and motivating educator, Numann received the Distinguished Teacher Award (1983) and President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (1990) from Upstate, where the graduating medical students have regularly asked her to serve as faculty marshal or to deliver the Oath of Hippocrates during commencement.

Numann authored or coauthored several chapters in surgical textbooks as well as numerous journal articles and abstracts, many of which focus on breast and parathyroid disease. She has served on the editorial boards of several prestigious medical and surgical journals including the Journal of Surgical Research, Journal of the American College of Surgeons, World Journal of Surgery.