CHATTANOOGA,Tenn (Oct. 18, 2019) – In appreciation for his exceptional and continuous service as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), as well as his foresight in recognizing the issues affecting training for surgical residents, the ACS Board of Regents will present its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award (DSA), to R. Phillip Burns, MD, FACS, surgeon with University Surgical Associates (USA), at Convocation, October 27 at the ACS Clinical Congress 2019, San Francisco, CA.

The award citation acknowledges “his innovative vision as an integral engineer of the College’s focused initiatives influencing general surgery training, ultimately creating better prepared general surgery residents entering practice with enhanced skills and confidence to further improve the quality of care for their patients.” According to the citation, Dr. Burns “is a role model to surgeons everywhere to always do the right thing for patients.”

“On behalf of the physicians and staff at University Surgical Associates, we congratulate Dr.Burns on this prestigious honor,” says Benjamin W. Dart, MD, FACS, USA surgeon and vice chairman, department of surgery,University of Tennessee (UT) College of Medicine, Chattanooga. “He has dedicated his career to providing exceptional care to patients and teaching others to do the same. His commitment to surgical education and philosophy of putting patients first will be his legacy.”

Dr. Burns is a founding partner and Chairman of the Board of University Surgical Associates, based in Chattanooga, Tenn., and specializes in breast and laparoscopic surgery. Under his leadership, USA has grown to one of the largest independent surgical practices in the country. Dr.Burns serves as professor and chairman, department of surgery, University of Tennessee (UT) College of Medicine, Chattanooga, and practices at USA and Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga. He is a member of the UT College of Medicine’s system-wide advisory committee on hospital and university affairs and the UT health affairs subcommittee of the UT board of trustees. At UT College of Medicine, he chairs the surgical education advisory committee, serves on the graduate medical education committee, and is founder and medical director of the medical/surgical skills laboratory. He serves on multiple committees at both UT and Erlanger Medical Center. Dr. Burns is regarded as a dedicated surgical educator and has a track record of committed leadership in surgery.

Background Information on the American College of Surgeons and Distinguished Service Award:

 The American College of Surgeons (ACS) is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient by setting high standards for surgical education and practice. Members of the ACS are referred to as “Fellows.” The letters FACS (Fellow, American College of Surgeons) after a surgeon’s name mean that the surgeon’s education and training, professional qualifications, surgical competence, and ethical conduct have passed a rigorous evaluation, and have been found to be consistent with the high standards established and demanded by the College.

The Distinguished Service Award was established by the Board of Regents in 1957. The award is given to one or more Fellows who have not been a Regent or an officer. In 1966, the criterion for the award was that the recipient be a distinguished contributor to the College. In 1971, the criterion was amended to include that the recipient have an outstanding service and be an active supporter of the American College of Surgeons. Former governors of the College are eligible to receive the award. There is no lecture associated with the award.

Each year at Clinical Congress, one Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) is named as the recipient of its highest honor: the ACS Distinguished Service Award. For decades, the awarding of this honor by the current ACS President is one of the highlights of the Annual Clinical Congress.