• Congratulations to the 2023-2024 SAAS Visiting Professors!
  • Zhi Fong, MD is the recipient of the 2024 SAAS Junior Faculty Award!
  • Radhika Rastogi, MD is the recipient of the 2024 Esther Tsai Sugg Award for the highest scoring SAAS abstract to 2024 Academic Surgical Congress!
  • Christy Chai, MD is the recipient of the 2024 SAAS-SUS Mid-Career Award!
  • Areeba Saif, MD is the recipient of the 2023 SAAS-AWS Resident Research Travel Award!
  • Raja Narayan, MD, MPH is the recipient of the 2023 SAAS Resident/Fellow Development Scholarship!
  • Jeremy Chang, MD is the winner of the 2023 SAAS Annual Meeting Travel Award!
  • Russell Woo, MD is the recipient of the 2023 SAAS-SUS Leadership Agility Program Scholarship!

Dr. Daniel Chu visits Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, for the 4th Fundamentals of Surgical Research and Career Advancement Course, hosted by AAS and AKU, on Feb. 29, 2024.

Dr. Daniel Chu visits Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, for the 4th Fundamentals of Surgical Research and Career Advancement Course on Feb. 29, 2024.

Our trip to Pakistan was amazing. This was the first in-person visit from members of the Association of Academic Surgery (AAS) to Pakistan (after 3 prior virtual conferences) and was made possible because of the generous invitation from Aga Khan University (AKU) Dean Adil Haider and the AKU Department of Surgery. We arrived (after 20+ hours of flying) to Karachi, Pakistan, on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. Medical students from AKU greeted Lily Gutnik and I and escorted us to our hotel. After settling, we headed to AKU to meet the Chair of Surgery, Dr. Saleem Islam, and the surgical staff for lunch on the beautiful campus. We then took a tour of AKU and Karachi before joining course directors Drs. Fahad Umer and Rashna Sukhia for dinner at the stunning restaurant Kolachi that sits right on the Arabian Sea. A lovely evening was spent sharing in Pakistan cuisine, watching the seagulls fly over the sea, and conversing with AKU and visiting surgeons from all over the world.

Dr. Dan Chu (left) and Dr. Adil Haider (right)

Dr. Dan Chu (left) and Dr. Adil Haider (right)

The next day (Thursday) was the 4th Fundamentals of Surgical Research and Career Advancement Course hosted by AKU and AAS. This was a fantastic day and started with an opening session with Adil and Drs. Mike McKirdy (President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow) and Khalid Gondal (President of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan). The day was divided into 3 main sessions focused on research methods, early career development, and mid-career advancement. Speakers included AAS members (Drs. Lily Gutnik, Juan Santamaria, and myself) and AKU attending staff. Sessions were quite interactive with great questions and dialogue from the audience, which was a diverse mix of medical students, residents, and faculty. This day was quite full and I learned from all the speakers and attendees. At night we finished with a spectacular dinner at the home of AKU President Sulaiman Shahabuddin where his family welcomed several other international guests including Drs. Andrea and Martin Pusic.

On Friday morning we toured Karachi and visited one of the largest public hospitals in Pakistan – Civil Hospital. This was an eye-opening experience. This hospital is completely public, so no fees are paid by patients or families. The hospital serves as a critical trauma center, tertiary burn referral center for the entire country, and provides advanced tertiary care for the people of Pakistan. Busy does not do justice to the sheer number of people, needs, and clinical challenges that lined the hospital grounds. The faculty and staff were amazing – every single person was so dedicated, focused, and task-oriented to the hospital mission.

Friday afternoon was spent at the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan which was hosting the 2024 International Medical Education Conference. We were able to learn from education leaders from all over the world who gathered there to help certify all trainees in Pakistan. Friday evening was spent at the opening ceremony for the 9th AKU Annual Surgical Conference. Attendees were treated to warm welcomes from the entire leadership of AKU and we were also able to enjoy a traditional Pakistani instrumental group as AKU ushered in this conference focused on Surgery in the Digital Era.

Saturday and Sunday were busy days filled with all-day conference activities. Speakers from all over the world joined in-person and virtually to give compelling talks on artificial intelligence, cutting-edge research techniques, and new technologies. This was a truly fantastic two days and speakers from AAS were also able to share some of our expertise on breast cancer screening techniques, neural network modeling, and patient engagement technologies. It was special to make so many new connections and new friends. A truly meaningful moment was also the opportunity to participate in a Sunday morning mentor breakfast with medical students and junior faculty from all over Karachi. It was readily apparent that there are many common threads shared amongst all of us in the surgical profession. Sunday night finished with yet again another spectacular Pakistani dinner on a rooftop restaurant with Saleem and the AKU Department of Surgery.

Lily and Juan departed Pakistan after the last day of the conference on Sunday. I was fortunate to be able to stay one more day in Karachi. Monday was spent with Dr. Hina Inam, one of the very few woman cardiothoracic surgeons in Pakistan. Dr. Inam took me for a tour of Karachi and we had a chance to visit many places including the shores of the Arabian Sea and Frere Hall, a historic building completed in 1865 surrounded by gardens. Monday evening was spent at the AKU Intern graduation ceremony. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am grateful to Adil and the AKU leadership for inviting me to this special ceremony as the Chief Guest. As I shared some words with the graduation class, it was inspiring to see all the interns together and to know the positive impact each person would make in Pakistan and the world.

My trip to Pakistan was moving, memorable, and impactful. It epitomized the best parts of academic surgery: the opportunity to meet new friends and colleagues, the chance to exchange new knowledge, and the special moments to grow personally and professionally. Thank you to Adil, Saleem, the AKU faculty, the AKU trainees, and AAS for making this special exchange possible.


SAAS Stories Essay Competition

Read the first few stories from the SAAS Communications Committee’s first-ever SAAS Stories Essay Competition.

SAAS Foundation 2024-2025 Visiting Professorships

Congratulations to the 2024-2025 SAAS Visiting Professors, as well as our other recent award and accolade recipients: Drs. Oliver Eng, Annabelle Fonseca, Kevin Koo, Tammy Holm, Victoria Lai, Melanie Ongchin, James Wu, Jessica Zagory, Zhi Ven Fong, Christy Yoon-Hee Chai, Lillian Kao, Sandra Wong, Danny Chu, and Brenessa Lindeman.

An Ultimate Challenge to the Palate

SAAS members attend a Japanese whiskey tasting fundraiser, hosted by Dr. Herbert Chen at the 2023 SAAS Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.

A Sansei’s Story

General Surgery Resident Natalie Nadia Hisae Merchant, MD, discusses lessons learned from her family and their history and how they have influenced her experiences, identity and perspective.

SAAS Sips Recap: Acing the Residency Interview

The SAAS Sips for Medical Students Series is a casual, low-stress setting for trainees to interact with SAAS leaders. The Nov. 2, 2023, event focused on “Acing the Residency Interview.”

Kuo Family Lectureship: Jason Kalirai, PhD

This year’s Kuo Family Lecture was given by Jason Kalirai, PhD, at the 2023 SAAS Annual Meeting. Dr Kalirai is the Mission Area Executive for Civil Space in the Space Exploration Sector of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

SAAS 2023 Presidential Address: Susan Tsai, MD, MHS

Susan Tsai, MD, MHS, delivered her Presidential Address to the Society of Asian Academic Surgeons at the 2023 SAAS Annual Meeting, titled “Navigating the Bamboo Ceiling: Empowering AAPI Surgeons for Success.”

Designing an Inclusive Operating Room: For All and By All

As the surgical workforce makes strides toward greater gender and minority representation, Dr. Meghal Shah proposes ways to make the operating room, including surgical instrument design, more accessible for everyone.

SAAS Leadership Highlights

Congratulations to our members for their recent accomplishments, including Dr. Mayur B. Patel who has been named Chief of the Division of Acute Care Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

A Moment with SAAS: Herbert Chen

This season’s “A Moment with SAAS” features one of our founding members, Dr. Herbert Chen, chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

SAAS Leadership Highlights

SAAS congratulates Drs. Kenric Murayama, Thomas Varghese, Ankush Gosain, Shaun Kunisaki, and Vikas Dudeja for their recent accomplishments.

Medical Student Student Reflections

Medical students Gopika SenthilKumar and Nate Verhagen attended their first SAAS meeting in September and said the meeting offered a place for trainees to build new, lasting relationships.

Kuo Family Lectureship: Debbie Lum

“Why do we always have to play the side part? Why aren’t we the protagonist of the story?” asks award-winning filmmaker Debbie Lum at this year’s 2022 Kuo Family Lectureship.

Kui and Wai Fong Lectureship: David Hu

The 2022 Kui and Wai Fong Lectureship was delivered by Professor David Hu from Georgia Institute of Technology. David Hu is a professor of mechanical engineering who draws inspiration from his observation of nature.

Sustainability in Surgery

Connie Shao, MD, discusses the importance of sustainability in surgery in this issue of the Lotus Scroll.

SAAS Leadership Highlights

The Society of Asian Academic Surgeons would like to congratulate our members on their many recent accomplishments.

Presidential Address: ‘A is for… American. Asian. Ally.’

Tracy S. Wang, MD, MPH, delivered her Presidential Address to the Society during the 2021 SAAS 6th Annual Meeting, focusing on her thoughts regarding Asian American identity in relation to her role as SAAS president for the past two years.

President’s Message: December 2021

SAAS President Dr. Allan Tsung discusses this year’s SAAS annual meeting, the pandemic and the future of the society in his December 2021 President’s Message.

The Sequelae of Hate

Dr. Lindsey Zhang discusses the recent rise in hate crimes, racial discrimination and violence toward the Asian American community.

Q&A: Dr. George Yang

The Lotus Scroll interviews George Yang, MD, PhD, former president of the Society of Asian Academic Surgeons.

SAAS Foundation 2018-2019 Visiting Professorships

Congratulations to the 2018-2019 SAAS Foundation Visiting Professors! SAAS Foundation Visiting Professorships support travel to host institutions for junior faculty to give grand rounds and increase the national visibility of rising stars in academic surgery.

SAAS on Twitter!

This year, SAAS was active more than ever on Twitter! In addition to updates and announcements, more content was created for our followers to improve engagement, highlight issues and events important to our society and members, and promote the activities at SAAS.

SAAS Executive Council: Message on the Rise of Racism

First, as the current pandemic continues to affect our communities and families, we want to express our profound gratitude to our surgical colleagues and to all healthcare professionals who are the frontlines of caring for patients with the SARS-CoV2 virus/COVID-19.

Q&A: Dr. Kenric Murayama

The Lotus Scroll is honored to interview Kenric Murayama, MD, this year’s host of the SAAS Annual Meeting.

President’s Message: December 2019

SAAS President Dr. Tracy Wang discusses how far the Society has come and what’s in store for 2020 in her December 2019 President’s Message.

SAAS 2019 Meeting Recap

SAAS held its 2019 Annual Meeting at the Boston Medical Center, Sept. 26-27, with more than 148 scientific presentations and breakout sessions.

SAAS 2019 Meeting Highlights

The fourth annual meeting of the Society of Asian Academic Surgeons will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, Sept. 26-27, 2019, and promises to be an incredibly fun, impactful and meaningful gathering of academic surgeons, trainees and students from both the U.S. and abroad.

Q&A: Dr. Jennifer Tseng

Jennifer Tseng, MD, MPH, is the James Utley Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at Boston University School of Medicine and surgeon-in-chief at Boston Medical Center.

Welcome to the Lotus Scroll

Welcome to the launch of Lotus Scroll, the official newsletter of the Society of Asian Academic Surgeons (SAAS). Through the Lotus Scroll, we are excited to distribute and enhance the vision of SAAS: to promote diversity and inclusion in academic surgery through the sponsorship and development of its leaders.