Resident Surgeons Competition Awards History
Established in 1951, the Annual Resident Surgeons Competition has long been the hallmark of the MCACS Annual Meeting (actually beginning two years prior to the formal birth of the Michigan Chapter). At first, residents competed for a single award, the “best paper” presented. For decades, the single award was the Frederick A. Coller Award, or “The Coller Award.” For many years, the entire resident program was informally called “The Coller Competition” and the day of presentations was known as “Coller Day.”
Over the years, things have changed. Papers have increased in number and with the progression of subspecialty areas within surgery, awards gradually came into being for these fields – trauma, cancer, vascular surgery, and transplantation. Within the past few years, two new areas have been added with residents competing for an ethics award and an education award. Currently, nine awards are presented yearly and all of them are highly prized by the presenting resident, co-authors in some cases, their sponsors and institutions. Currently, there are two overall awards and seven specialty or specific area awards.
A timeline of awards by generic designations follows:
- 1952 Best Paper Award
- 1976 Trauma Award
- 1986 Cancer Award
- 1992 Transplant Award
- 1994 Vascular Award
- 1995 Second Place Overall Award
- 2009 Education Award
- 2009 Ethics Award
The Cancer Award is given under the auspices of the State Chair of Cancer Liaison who sits on the Council of the Michigan Chapter in similar fashion to the Trauma Chair.
Of the nine awards, six are “named” awards, in each case, honoring the named person. One of the six named awards honors two individuals. The Michigan Chapter is indebted to all of the named individuals and is honored to pay tribute to every one. Five of the honorees are honored in memory but at this writing, the honorees of the recent award for ethics remain vibrant and exceedingly active leaders.
Frederick A. Coller Award
First Place Overall
Alexander J. Walt Award
Second Place Overall
Basic Science Trauma Award and Farouck N. Obeid Clinical Trauma Award
The first specialty (or “subspecialty”) award of the Michigan Chapter was appropriately the award for the best trauma paper, and this was initiated in 1976. This evolved into two separate awards – one for basic science trauma research and one for clinical trauma research. The first of these has close to the longest name of all the chapter awards and this is the “Michigan Committee on Trauma Basic Science Award.” The award in clinical trauma was recently renamed the “Farouck N. Obeid Clinical Trauma Award,” the newest of the named awards. Doctor Obeid came to the United States as a young man, took his surgical residency at Henry Ford Hospital, became a staff member, and remained so until his death of a malignant brain tumor while he was in the prime of life. He was already one of the most respected surgeons in Michigan. A major interest throughout his professional career was trauma surgery/emergency surgery. He was a key figure in MCOT for years and a past president of the Michigan Chapter. When Ford Hospital contracted to develop a trauma service at Hurley Hospital in Flint, Doctor Obeid accepted the challenge. He developed a major trauma service and, for good measure, also a bariatric surgery program. His medical DNA has been passed on to his children to form a small medical dynasty.
The Danto Cancer Research Award
The second specialty award of the Michigan Chapter to be established was, fittingly, the “cancer award” or, as most frequently designated in brief, “The Danto Cancer Research Award,” founded in 1986. This is also the only named award honoring a patient rather than a surgeon. Robert Danto was a member of the well-known philanthropic Danto family of metro Detroit and was an elderly gentleman when he became a patient of Doctor Charles Lucas who operated on him at Harper (University) Hospital. Mr. Danto had a surgeon son, Doctor Larry Danto, in California. When son Doctor Larry and Mrs. Danto wanted to express appreciation for the care that their father and husband had received, Doctor Lucas suggested a named award for cancer research, noting it was appropriate for the state of Michigan to be so recognized. This led to the legacy gift.
D. Emerick Szilagi Michigan Vascular Award
Krishna K. & Pamela E. Sawhney Ethics Award
Gift of Life Transplantation Award
Suresh “Lata” Mittal Education Award
This competition category started in 2009 and was changed to the Suresh “Lata” Mittal Education Award in 2019. Established in the loving memory of Suresh “Lata” Mittal, auxiliary member and beloved wife of ACSMC past president, Vijay K. Mittal. This award recognizes excellence in education research by a resident. Mrs. Mittal was a gentle but strong-hearted woman with a philosophy of giving back to her community and residents. She participated in all section activities and considered members of the ACSMC as her family, with a special affection for surgical trainees. She advocated for, supported, and inspired all surgical residents and students who crossed her path. She became an integral part of their education both within and outside the walls of the surgical department.