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American College of Surgeons

Clinical Congress 2021 

Trauma surgeon M. Margaret Knudson, MD, FACS, honored for inspiring women in surgery

ACS Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award recognizes Dr. Knudson’s contributions to the advancement of women in the field of surgery

M. Margaret Knudson, MD, FACSCHICAGO (October 24, 2021)This evening M. Margaret Knudson, MD, FACS, San Francisco, California, received the 2021 American College of Surgeons (ACS) Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award during the virtual Convocation ceremony that is a highlight of the College’s Clinical Congress 2021, which is also a virtual event. Dr. Knudson is a professor of surgery at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), adjunct professor at the Uniformed Services University, and the Medical Director of the Military Health Service Strategic Partnership with the American College of Surgeons (ACS). In addition to these duties, Dr. Knudson is also currently the deputy editor of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. The award was developed by the ACS Women in Surgery Committee (WiSC) and recognizes significant contributions to the advancement of women in the field of surgery.

Dr. Knudson completed medical school and general surgery training at the University of Michigan, followed by a fellowship in pediatric surgery at Stanford University. She joined the faculty at UCSF in 1989, working primarily at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH), where she was the second woman to work as a surgeon at the trauma center.

In addition to her work at UCSF and SFGH, Dr. Knudson has been on the front lines treating trauma victims in major disasters, including the 2010 Haitian earthquake and the 2013 crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco. She has served as visiting surgeon at both Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and Balad Air Force Hospital in Iraq while treating soldiers injured on the battlefield. Dr. Knudson has a long and dedicated career of service with the U.S. military that began in 2003 when she taught ultrasound to surgeons who were deployed into battle zones.

Dr. Knudson (first row, second from left) serves as visiting surgeon treating injured soldiers in IraqShe developed and formalized the Senior Visiting Surgeon program, which promoted civilian trauma and vascular surgeons to rotate through the Army Hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, and assisted in the care of injured troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2008, she was the only civilian who spent time downrange at a military hospital in Iraq. With her extensive military experience, dedication to improving the outcomes of active soldiers, and her surgical expertise, Dr. Knudson has served as the Director for the Military Health System (MHS) Strategic – American College of Surgeons Partnership since 2015.

In her nomination letter, the UCSF Muriel Steel Society stated, “The call for nominations describes Dr. Mary Edwards Walker as being ‘unwavering in her commitment to service to her country and surgical profession’ and a woman whose perseverance, excellence, and pioneering behavior paved the way for the women surgeons of today. We can think of no person who embodies that legacy more than our own Dr. M. Margaret “Peggy” Knudson.”

Dr. Knudson’s pioneering career has paved the way for young women in surgery, and her perseverance, dedication, and focus exemplify the spirit of the Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award.

The Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award is named for Mary Edwards Walker, MD, the first female surgeon to be employed by the U.S. Army and the only woman in the 1855 graduating class of Syracuse Medical School. Dr. Walker is the only woman to have received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Her extensive commitment to the surgical profession has helped pave the way for the women surgeons of today.

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About M. Margaret Knudson, MD, FACS

M. Margaret Knudson, MD, FACS received her bachelor's degree from University of Dayton, Ohio and her medical degree from University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan. She completed her surgical internship and residency at Beth Isreal Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. And University of Michigan Medical School.

Dr. Knudson has held leadership positions in several professional organizations, including the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST), the Western Trauma Association, and the ACS Committee on Trauma (COT), where she became the first female Vice-Chair. She has served as the Chair of the Research Committee for the National Trauma Institute and remains on the Board of Directors for the Center for National Trauma Research. Dr. Knudson currently holds grants from the Department of Defense to study post-traumatic pulmonary embolism and from the NIH for investigating the use of anticoagulants in patients with COVID-19. Dr. Knudson was honored with the National Safety Council Award by the AAST/COT. She has given the Fitts Oration at the AAST and the Scudder Orations at the ACS. In addition to the 2019 Scudder Orations, Dr. Knudson was invited to give the 2019 "Paint the Ceiling" lecture at the Western Trauma Conference.

About the American College of Surgeons

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 84,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit www.facs.org.

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