• 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!

The Chicago skyline as seen from the Adler Planetarium at dusk. (Source: Unsplash)

The Chicago skyline as seen from the Adler Planetarium at dusk. (Source: Unsplash)

Society of Asian Academic Surgeons leadership has announced that this year’s SAAS annual meeting will be tentatively held in person, Sept. 25-26, 2021, at the Northwestern School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. With abstracts now under review, the SAAS Program Committee is hard at work putting together an undoubtedly stellar meeting.

While we await more details, here are a few things we are looking forward to at the 2021 meeting:

Building and Extending our Community

The 2021 meeting is shaping up to be the first in-person meeting for many of us. While there’s still a lot of suffering and strife in the world, the idea of seeing friends and colleagues again is very exciting. One of the key reasons why SAAS is such a great organization is the community. The SAAS Program Committee has always organized events with the intention of ensuring students, trainees and junior faculty have every opportunity to network with senior faculty. To date, the SAAS annual meeting has likely had the highest chairperson-to-attendee ratio of any meeting, and we anticipate this will be the case again in September.

SAAS offers an inclusive environment not only for Asians, but also for all members of the academic surgical community to celebrate the diversity of our field. Amid a rise in hate crimes and bigotry, this year’s meeting will undoubtedly renew our bonds as a community.

Cutting-Edge Research from Future Leaders

The heart of our meeting are the presentations by trainees and junior faculty. We look forward to the thoughtful discussions that accompany the presentations. One of the great joys of the SAAS annual meeting has been seeing, first-hand, the energy and enthusiasm coming from our future leaders. While video conferencing has come a long way, there’s nothing quite like the impromptu discussions arising in the research presentation sessions and, afterwards, over drinks and snacks.


One of the joys of meetings is a chance to (re)visit great cities. Chicago, Illinois, is well known to many of us, if for nothing else than being the frequent host of the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress or the city where many of us took our oral boards. Nonetheless, Chicago is a fantastic town to explore, with great sights, activities, food and drink. Here are some of things we love about Chicago:

Cloud Gate, also known as the Bean (Source: Unsplash)

Cloud Gate, also known as the Bean (Source: Unsplash)

Millennium Park: Best known for being the home of the Cloud Gate (AKA the Bean), Millennium Park is a great place for a lakefront stroll.

Magnificent Mile: Walking down the broad Michigan Avenue is always a treat. Whether you’re (window) shopping, people watching or just enjoying the bustle of one of the great American cities, there’s something here for everyone.

Architecture: Chicago features some of the earliest built skyscrapers, as well as magnificent art deco buildings and interiors. For those willing to go farther afield, many Frank Lloyd Wright classics are a short drive away.

Navy Pier: Navy Pier celebrated its 100th birthday in 2016, and while it’s definitely touristy, it still offers lovely views of Lake Michigan and the city.

Kids’ Activities: For those bringing kids, there are lots of great options to keep them entertained, such as the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum and Lincoln Park Zoo.

Food: While some of you may be obsessively checking when reservations become available at Alinea, others will be seeking more low-key options. Definitely corner the locals for up-to-date info, but for us out-of-towners, here are options we’ve enjoyed in the past: Eataly, Purple Pig, Sable and Coco.

Drink: We’ll let Dr. Daniel Chu guide the bar selection this year (as always), but Chicago is also home to other great options for drinks like coffee. Intelligentsia was a critical part of the “third wave” of coffee, and while its sale to Peet’s may turn some off, there’s no shortage of great options.


The Chicago Theatre (Source: Unsplash)

Magnificent Mile

The Old Republic Building on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago (Source: Unsplash)


Chicago-style deep-dish pizza (Source: Unsplash)

Millennium Park

Cloud Gate, also known as the Bean (Source: Unsplash)


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.”

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.

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.