American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

The Communication Pulse: Leadership and Member Perspectives

100 Words

The process of selecting surgical trainees is complex. Residency programs invest considerable time and money to make sure the students that they matriculate are a fit for the training program. The medical students always hope to get their first choice in "the match." The ACS has convened a group of surgical educators to take a hard look at this process. What are the personal characteristics that we value the most that can ensure we train clinically competent, compassionate and ethical surgeons? Our trainees will become our providers; surgical residency selection will now initiate continuous quality improvement.

L. Scott Levin, MD, FACS, Chair, American College of Surgeons Board of Regents

Surgeon Voices

In this issue, Steven D. Wexner, MD, FACS, FRCSEng, FRCSEd, FRCSI(Hon), FRCSGlasg(Hon), Vice-Chair, ACS Board of Regents, and Director, Digestive Disease Institute at Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston, FL, interviews:

Michael Griffin, OBE, president, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, on how COVID-19 affected Scotland and the work of the royal college during the pandemic and beyond.

A conversation about the recent resident selection-focused ACS Summit on Surgical Training, with the following participants:

  • L. Scott Levin, MD, FACS, Chair, ACS Board of Regents
  • Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS, FRCSC, FSACME, MAMSE, Director, ACS Division of Education
  • Sonya Malekzadeh, MD, FACS
  • Gerald A. Isenberg, MD, FACS
  • Celia M. Divino, MD, FACS

Celebrating Dr. Patricia Bath, a Pioneering Black Woman Ophthalmologist

An Article from ACS Board of Governors Communications Pillar

by Randolph Guzman, MD, FACS, FRCSC, RVT, RPVI, ICD.D, and Bryan K. Richmond, MD, MBA, FACS

In recognition of the ACS initiative emphasizing diversity, equity, and inclusion, we take this opportunity to spotlight Patricia Bath, MD, as part of the "On the Shoulders of Giants" historical series. Dr. Bath is recognized by the ACS for her pioneering efforts in the specialty of ophthalmology, as well as for her contributions as an inventor, researcher, educator and humanitarian.

Dr. Bath was born November 4, 1942, in Harlem, New York City. As a teenager, she quickly distinguished herself academically and was subsequently awarded a scholarship from the National Science Foundation, which allowed her to complete her undergraduate studies at Hunter College, New York City. She then completed her medical degree in 1968, at Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, DC. Upon receiving her medical degree, Dr. Bath returned to Harlem Hospital to complete her residency and fellowship training in ophthalmology while serving as the first African-American resident in ophthalmology at New York University. Her dedication to provide care for underserved patients was a passion throughout her career and served as a major driver of her research interests. For example, while in training, Dr. Bath noted that African-American patients suffered from higher rates of blindness than white patients. She moved to Los Angeles, CA, in 1974, and became the first woman faculty member in the department of ophthalmology at what is now known as the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Jules Stein Eye institute.

In 1976, Dr. Bath cofounded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, which was founded on the core belief that eyesight is a basic human right. She promoted access to community ophthalmology resources to underserved minority and ethnic populations. She was also a pioneer in graduate medical education, becoming the first woman leader of an ophthalmology training program in 1983, while serving as program chair of the King-Drew UCLA Ophthalmology Residency Program. In 1988, she was awarded a patent for the Laserphaco Probe, a device used to remove cataracts using laser technology. Dr. Bath was the first African-American woman physician to be awarded a medical patent. She ultimately went on to hold a total of five U.S. patents and three international patents. During this productive period, Dr. Bath was also a Fellow of the ACS from 1976 to 1989.

Dr. Bath was a humanitarian and regularly traveled across the world to provide ophthalmology care and promote training for ophthalmology residents. She collaborated with the World Health Organization to promote eye health and combat blindness.

Her accomplishments are truly remarkable by any measure and are made even more notable considering the environment of racism and gender discrimination that she encountered throughout her career. In 2018, she was interviewed on Good Morning America in an interview, "Meet a woman who changed the face of medicine." Reflecting on the obstacles she had to face, Dr. Bath said she had to "shake it off" and that these challenges were "noise and you have to ignore and keep your eyes on the prize."

Dr. Bath died from complications of cancer in San Francisco, CA, on May 30, 2019. We acknowledge the truly remarkable career and life of Dr. Bath and encourage you to read more about her life and accomplishments. Through her monumental efforts, Dr. Bath did, indeed, change the world.


Green A. Patricia Bath obituary. Lancet. 2019;394(10197):464. Available at: Accessed May 27, 2021.

Kermode-Scott B. Patricia Bath: Ophthalmologist, inventor, and humanitarian. BMJ. 2019;366:l4768. Available at: Accessed May 27, 2021.