Houston Global Surgery Symposium

Speakers & Program

Dr. Raymond R. Price, M.D., FACS - Keynote Speaker

Title: Surgical Care for a Better World

Recognized as an international leader and pioneer in expanding the role of surgery in public health, Dr. Price’s work highlights the dramatic impact surgery can have on communities, economies and individuals. Dr. Price co-founded and serves as the director of the Center for Global Surgery at the University of Utah and directs the graduate surgical education at Intermountain Medical Center, Intermountain Healthcare.


Dr. Price received his BS from the University of Utah, MD from Harvard Medical School, and completed his surgical residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Price is a Clinical Professor (Department of Surgery) at the University of Utah.  He has participated in or led medical and surgical expeditions to Asia, Latin America, and Africa.  He has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and books. He serves (or has served) in many leadership positions with the WHO Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care, the Society of American and Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), the American College of Surgeons, and the International Surgical Society (ISS).


Honors received include: Utah Medical Association 2017 Physician of the Year, Presidential Friendship Medal, Mongolia, American College of Surgeons-Pfizer International Volunteerism Award, a Medal of Honor from the Minister of Health of Mongolia, and multiple teaching awards.

His greatest work, however, is with his wonderful wife Anne and their 7 daughters and one son who also volunteer internationally and at home.

Dr. Girma Tefera, M.D.

Title: A Call to Surgeons to Advance Global Health

Dr. Tefera is a vascular surgeon at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Tefera joined the American College of Surgeons Division of Member Services as the new Medical Director of the Operation Giving Back Program in February 2015.  His clinical research interests include abdominal aortic aneurysm treatment with endovascular stent graft and other complex aneurysmal diseases of the thoracic and abdominal aorta.  He is currently the principal investigator of 7 clinical trials focusing on vascular diseases. Dr. Tefera is the lead physician in the development of our newly open hybrid operating room where integration and fusion of different imaging modalities is applied.


Additionally, Dr. Tefera leads DHHS-funded international efforts to design health care systems and education in Ethiopia. He leads the University of Wisconsin efforts in the development of Emergency medical services in Ethiopia. He is also in the process of establishing vascular and endovascular surgery services in Ethiopia. As a US partner with Addis Ababa University (MEPI grant), Dr. Tefera has assisted with the introduction of mentoring and basic as well as advanced clinical research programs. He is a devoted mentor to medical students, residents and vascular fellows.

Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, M.D., Ph.D.

Title: Children's Surgery at Home and Abroad: Lessons Learned

Dr. Olutoye is Professor of Surgery, Pediatrics and Obstetrics & Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine and is Co-Director of the Texas Children’s Fetal Center at Texas Children's Hospital, in Houston, Texas. Dr. Olutoye also serves as Co-Director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Global Surgery & Anesthesiology Program, Co-Chair of the Texas Children’s Hospital Global Health Steering Committee and is a member of the leadership team of Texas Children’s Global HOPE (Hematology-Oncology Pediatric Excellence), a $100 million public-private partnership to establish an innovative pediatric hematology-oncology treatment network in southern and east Africa. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, American Academy of Pediatrics and the West African College of Surgeons.


Dr. Olutoye completed his medical school education at Obafemi Awolowo University, in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and received his Ph.D. and advanced surgical and research training in the United States. Dr. Olutoye has specialized clinical expertise in fetal and neonatal surgery, with specific interest in congenital diaphragmatic hernia and complex wounds. Dr. Olutoye’s research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and by grants from industry and philanthropy. Dr. Olutoye has participated in over 30 medical missions to Russia, Guatemala, Haiti, Malawi, Botswana and Liberia.

Dr. Sandi Lam, M.D., M.B.A.

Title: Developing Pediatric Neurosurgery in the Developing World: Lessons in collaboration, sustainability, public health, and neurosurgical education

Dr. Lam is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, Section of Pediatric Neurosurgery. She is a faculty affiliate at the Baylor Center for Ethics and Policy as well as a faculty advisor for the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute.


Her clinical focus encompasses pediatric epilepsy surgery, cerebrovascular surgery, and craniofacial surgery, with expertise in minimally invasive surgical techniques and in development of multidisciplinary patient-centered clinical programs.


Her academic program is based on health services research with aspects of quality improvement and outcomes research, and using big data analytics to understand and improve health care utilization and delivery. This focus intersects with health policy and advocacy.


Aligning with the efforts of her mentor to develop pediatric neurosurgery in the developing world, Dr. Lam contributes to building a sustainable pediatric neurosurgery service and clinical training program in Kenya along with other international neurosurgery efforts.

Dr. Stephen Guy, M.D.

Title: Barriers to Renal Transplant in Developing Countries

Dr. Guy is a kidney, pancreas and liver transplant surgeon who currently serves as Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation at Drexel University School of Medicine. He was instrumental in developing minimally invasive, laparoscopic living donor nephrectomy for kidney transplantation. He has published extensively and lectured nationally regarding numerous research initiatives, as well as clinical aspects of kidney and liver transplant surgery. He has also served as Director of Transplant programs in multiple medical centers in which he has worked over his career and has served in leadership positions in numerous transplant organizations.


In the service of global health, he was instrumental in an international effort to start a living donor kidney transplant program in Guyana, SA and extend it into the Caribbean Basin.

Currently, he is also developing a cadaveric kidney transplant initiative in Guyana SA.


Dr. Guy received his B.A. from Boston University and his M.D. from Boston University School of Medicine. He completed his surgical residency at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and his American Society of Transplant Surgeons approved Multi-Organ Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Surgery Fellowship at the Mount Sinai Hospital Recanati/Miller Transplantation Institute in New York City.

Dr. Larry Hollier, M.D.

Title: A Sustainable Scalable Model for Global Surgical Efforts

Dr. Hollier serves as the Surgeon in Chief of Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) as well as the Chief of Plastic Surgery at the Baylor College of Medicine. Clinically, he specializes in pediatric facial reconstruction including cleft and craniofacial repair.


He has also been very focused on improving the patient and family experience at TCH by initiating projects such as same-day clinic appointments and surgeries and the first ever pediatric pharmacy delivery project in which families receive their child’s medicines and are counseled by a pediatric pharmacist before discharge. For this work, he was named Physician of the Year for the United States in 2016 by Press Ganey.


He has authored over 200 manuscripts and over 50 book chapters. He serves as editor or co-editor for many scientific journals. He’s also been very involved in global surgical work. In addition to organizing and participating in numerous educational and capacity building surgical projects in Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East, he serves as director of the Baylor Global Surgery Fellowship. He also serves as chairman of the Medical Board of Smile Train, helping supervise safety and quality in over 100,000 pediatric surgeries in 85 countries around the world.

Dr. Michael Belfort, M.D., Ph.D.

Title: Baylor/Malawi Women’s Health Initiatives: Setting Up and Growing a Program

Dr. Michael A. Belfort is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), and Obstetrician and Gynecologist-in-Chief at Texas Children’s Hospital.


Dr. Belfort did his graduate education at the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, earning his Basic Medical Degree (MBBCH: Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery) in 1981. After his internship, he spent 2 years in the military and subsequently earned a Diploma in Anesthesia before beginning his first Ob/Gyn residency at the University of Cape Town which he completed in 1989. He has a Post Graduate MD from the University of Cape Town (1990) for his thesis on Neonatal Brain Blood flow. He completed his second OB/Gyn residency at BCM from 1989–1993 and then did an MFM Fellowship from 1993-1995 at BCM. He then went on to earn a PhD from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.


Dr. Belfort has more than 290 peer-reviewed publications in his areas of interest and holds two patents - one for a drain used in the management of malignant ascites in ovarian cancer, and a US Patent for a tamponade balloon system used in the management of postpartum hemorrhage.

Dr. Glenn Geelhoed, M.D., M.P.H.

Title: Bringing Surgery to the People--the furthest people first--then backfilling the global healthcare gap

Glenn received his BS and AB cum laude from Calvin College and MD cum laude from the University of Michigan. He completed his surgical internship and residency through Harvard University at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital Medical Center. To assist in developing further volunteer surgical services in underserved areas, Glenn completed master’s degrees in international affairs, epidemiology, health promotion and disease prevention, anthropology, and a philosophy degree in human sciences.


He works as a Professor of Surgery at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington D.C. and is a member of numerous medical, surgical, and international academic societies. He is also a widely published author accredited with several books and more than 500 published journal articles and chapters in books. He is the founder of Mission to Heal, a nonprofit organization through which he and his team provide surgical services in the most remote areas of the world using the Mobile Surgical Unit (MSU) as their essential tool. He also provides medical training to the indigenous population to ensure his work has a sustainable and culturally embedded future.

Dr. Bruce MacFadyen, M.D.

Title: General Surgery Residency Training in Africa

Bruce V. MacFadyen, M.D. graduated from Drexel Medical School and did his general surgery residency at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas Houston. Following residency, he joined the faculty of the University of Texas Medical School Houston pursuing his clinical and research interests in gastrointestinal surgery, surgical nutrition and surgical education. He has been actively involved in the development of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) and has been President of the Society American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) and the Houston Surgical Society. In addition, he has been co-editor of the journal Surgical Endoscopy and Seminars in Laparoscopic Surgery. In 2002, he joined the faculty of the Medical College of Georgia, became Chairman of the Department of Surgery, and developed a research and clinical program in MIS. Presently, he is Clinical Professor of Surgery at the McGovern Medical School.


In addition, Dr. MacFadyen has travelled to numerous developing countries teaching and performing surgery. In 1996, he helped to develop the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS) which trains general surgery residents in rural mission hospitals in Africa. PAACS now has 70 general surgery residents and residency training programs in orthopedic surgery, head and neck surgery, cardiothoracic surgery and pediatric surgery in 9 countries.

Dr. Rachel Davis, M.D.

Title: Sharpening the Knife: Preparing Surgeons for Global Practice

Seeing that there were gaps in contemporary general surgical education for those planning to practice in resource-limited settings, Dr. Rachel Davis envisioned and created the Baylor College of Medicine Global Surgery Track. Since 2014, she has worked with the BCM Department of Surgery to develop educational opportunities in global surgery for students, residents, and professionals. Now in her second year of Global Surgery Fellowship training, Dr. Davis has operated in Ecuador, Guatemala, Malawi, Mongolia, Nepal, and Tanzania, and has worked with Dr. Walt Johnson in the area of Emergency and Essential Surgery at the World Health Organization.


She completed her MD at Baylor College of Medicine, and has been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, and the Gold Humanism Honor Society. She directed the first two HGHC global health conferences and is a current member of the HGHC Board of Directors.

Dr. Aaron Abarbanell, M.D.

Title: The Road Less Traveled? Pursuing a passion for global cardiac surgery

Dr. Abarbanell obtained a BA in Romance Studies from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, prior to embarking on a six-year tour on active duty with the United States Navy. He served with Naval Support Force Antarctica, went to sea on the destroyer USS Caron (DD 970), and finished his career on the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). He then worked for Ethicon Endo-Surgery selling surgical devices developing a love for surgery. He completed his premedical requirements at Scripps College in Claremont, CA.


He attended the University of Michigan Medical School leading surgical missions to Honduras with otolaryngology and anesthesia faculty. In his fourth year of medical school, he worked at Karoyln Kempton Memorial Hospital in Togo, West Africa on the general surgery team. He proceeded to train in general surgery at Indiana University continuing to work overseas in Togo and Kenya. He completed a MS in Clinical Research and was in the inaugural class of the global health program. He completed thoracic residency at Emory University and congenital cardiac surgery fellowship at USC/Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. He is a pediatric heart surgeon at Washington University in St. Louis.

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