Surgical Week Subsite 2020

Surgical Week Subsite 2020

BSW 2020 Faculty: John Alverdy

John C. Alverdy, MD, FACS

Sarah and Harold Lincoln Thompson Professor of Surgery,

University of Chicago, USA










John Alverdy, MD, FACS, is a leading surgeon-scientist with a focus on the molecular basis of surgical infections and the gut microbiome. Dr. Alverdy is the Sarah and Harold Lincoln Thompson Professor of Surgery and executive vice-chair, department of surgery, University of Chicago, IL. He has served in leadership positions at many national organizations. He was the 2016 president of the Surgical Infection Society. He received the American Surgical Association’s Flance-Karl Award in 2018 for his groundbreaking work in surgical infection pathogenesis and microbiome research.

Dr. Alverdy has for sure traveled a non-conventional - out of the box -  path to become  the renowed scientist he is now . He was a Spanish major as an undergraduate with a minor in biology. His love of language and travel sent him on a path to foreign affairs schools with the intention of becoming a diplomat. He had little interest in becoming a physician except for the fact that his father, a dentist and son of an immigrant, insisted he would go to medical school. In an interview with the ACS bulletin, he recalls the day he spoke with his advisor, who felt that graduate school in biology would be his best bet to successfully compete for admission to an American medical school. Ironically, he had a strong distaste for biology, so being relatively fluent in Spanish, without applying to any American medical schools, he headed off to medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico where he graduated from. After having  spent one year at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, IL he completed a surgical residency at Michael Reese Hospital, an aliate of the University of Chicago at the time. He completed a surgical research fellowship at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF).

His first big discovery was to demonstrate, for the first time, that intestinal bacteria sense host stress, such as what occurs following injury, and then respond with enhanced virulence. At a time when everyone was studying how the host immune system responds to bacteria, he asked, “How do bacteria respond to the host?” and thought that pathogens are present in our patients all the time, so something about surgical injury must trigger them to express virulence, not accepting that serious infections were just a random encounter with a very bad pathogen. He showed that bacteria sense the physiologic stress of surgery by binding soluble compounds released by host tissues that transduce their quorum sensing resulting in virulence activation.

He is a clinician as well, of course. He performs a wide variety of complex minimally invasive and open gastrointestinal surgical procedures with decades of experience in the field. Dr. Alverdy is nationally recognized for introducing several new operations into the field, including minimally invasive pancreatic surgery, bariatric surgery, and surgery for disorders of the foregut including the esophagus and stomach. He is one of the University of Chicago Hospitals’ most accomplished critical care surgeons and serves as the director for the Surgical Treatment of Obesity Program.

Dr. Alverdy accepted to give two lectures at the BSW, both in line with the congress’ theme :

-      Manipulating the microbiome to prevent surgical complications: leaks, wound infections and cancer recurrence. on the plenary session of Thursday May 7th.

-       “Surgery, music, Science, it is all just improvisational jazz ... “ on Friday’s May 8th plenary session.

BSW 2020 Faculty: Tessa Richards

Tessa Richards MD

Senior Editor/ Patient Partnership

British Medical Journal

London, UK




Dr Tessa Richards is a senior editor at The BMJ and leads the BMJs patient partnership initiative. She was trained at Guy’s hospital in London and worked as a general physician and  rheumatologist in the NHS before joining the BMJ editorial staff. Here she has led the journals GP, Education and Analysis sections and established the Overdiagnosis series ( part of the BMJs Too Much Medicine campaign) and one on High Integrity Health.

She is a member of the Royal College of Physicians, a BMJ columnist and writes regularly on patient perspectives. Series she has co-ordinated include ones on medical education, medicine in India, HMO’s and medicine in Europe.

BMJ theme issues commissioned include Health in the Middle East, Partnering with Patients, and Patient Centred Care. She has a long standing interest in global health and European Health policy and is a regular writer and speaker on the importance and potential of patient and public partnership in healthcare and health research

She lives since 2004 with stage IV adrenal cancer, hyperparathyroidy and pernicious anemia, and is a carer for close family members with rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, and blindness.

Her own experience as a professional and a patient makes her the ideal person to talk about patient’s involvement in medical care.

Tessa’s talk “ Sharing ideas, decisions and power with patients” will  be  set on Thursday’s May 7th plenary session.

BSW 2020 Faculty: Mark Slack

Mark Slack MD MB BCh, MMed, FCOG (SA), FRCOG

Addenbrook’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK.




Mark Slack qualified as MD in Johannesburg at the University of the Witwatersrand. He then completed his postgraduate training at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur hospital. He graduated from the College of Medicine of South Africa winning the Daubenton Gold Medal for the most distinguished candidate in the exams in the country. After leaving South Africa he trained in Urogynaecology under John Sutherst in Liverpool. He was head of Gynaecology and Urogynaecology at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, University of Cambridge Teaching Hospitals Trust, Cambridge. He is also a fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and an associate lecturer at the University of Cambridge.

Mr. Slack runs an active research unit in Cambridge. Research topics include surgery for pelvic floor disorders, the science behind the use of alloplastic materials, the microbiology behind disease and quality of life studies. He has published over 50 papers in the scientific literature and authored more than 20 chapters in books both on gynaecology and medicolegal matters.

He is a founder and director of CMR, a start-up company in Cambridge developing a surgical robot.

He was appointed the Ethicon travelling Professor in 2004 as well as the Sims Black Professorship of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for 2005/6. In 2006 he was awarded a travelling Professorship to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He was recognised by the NIHR in 2015 as one of the leading researchers in the UK for clinical research.

He is currently involved with a project looking at ways of managing disciplinary matters more efficiently and fairly.

Other appointments have included membership of the British Society of Urogynaecology (BSUG) Executive Committee, the RCOG Audit and Guidelines Committee, Chairmanship of the BSUG Guidelines Committee and Membership of the Scientific Committee. He was on the Education Committee of the International Urogynaecology Association (IUGA) and the Chair of the IUGA Observership Scheme that has recently introduced fellowships allowing members to visit internationally renowned centres. He has served on the Scientific Committee of the IUGA. More recently he has been involved as an expert witness in the class actions suits in the United States about mesh materials. 

Mark  is an inspiring and charismatic  speaker whom we had the pleasure to welcome at last year’s BGES congress. His talk “All that glitters is not gold ; the problems of trends and fashions in medicine” will be the closing presentation on Friday’s May 8th plenary session.

BSW 2020 Faculty: Kris Vanhaecht

Kris Vanhaecht , RN, Ph.D.


KU Leuven Institute for Healthcare Policy

University Hospitals Leuven & Flemish Hospital Network

KULeuven, Belgium




Kris Vanhaecht is an  Associate Professor at Leuven University involved in research & teaching in Quality in Healthcare within the Leuven Institute for Healthcare Policy, Faculty of Medicine. He is Policy Advisor on Quality Management at the University Hospitals Leuven & Flemish Hospital Network. On international level he collaborates with Dutch hospitals on leadership development, with the Western Norway Research Network on Integrated Care, Helse Fonna on care pathways and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Boston on quality & safety management. He is an expert on quality for the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQUA).

He is the Secretary General of the European Pathway Association (, an international not for profit association to support knowlegde sharing, research & teaching on the organization of care processes. He leads the European Quality of Care Pathway Study. Specialties: Care pathways, care process organization, quality, safety , healthcare, second victims after adverse events, mangomoments In 2017 he launched the "In search of Mangomoments" movement on patient centered care, in which health care workers provide happiness to patients with unexpected little gestures.

His motto is “Quality is the result of care”

Kris will discuss medical errors from the point of view of the perpetrator ; the “second victim” at Friday morning’s May 8th plenary session.

BSW 2020 Faculty: Martina Lemmerer

Martina Lemmerer MD, MBA,FEBS


Department of Surgery

Medical University Graz, Au




Martina Lemmerer is  a Consultant in General and Visceral Surgery Fellow of the European Board of Surgery Department of Surgery - Division of General, Visceral and Transplantation Surgery Medical University Graz, Austria.

She  is an outstanding general and visceral surgeon with a wide range of surgical experience and years of specialization in colorectal surgery, visceral surgery, and oncological surgery. A graduate of the Medical University of Graz, She completed her surgical training at the Surgery Department of the University Hospital Graz and subsequently specialized in visceral and colorectal surgery at St. John’s Hospital in Graz. An expert in the treatment of the open abdomen, complications management, and the Vacuum Assisted Closure Therapy for more than 15 years, she is also a lecturer on the subject of topical negative pressure therapy and has trained innumerable national and international surgeons on the subject of Abdominal Vacuum Assisted Closure.

Other of her focal areas are oncological abdominal surgery, IBD (Crohn’s Disease, cerative Colitis), complication management, fistula surgery, and surgery of the rectum and anus. She is leader of the Colorectal Surgery Group at the Department of Surgery at the University Hospital Graz and a co-opted board member of the Association for Coloproctology of the Austrian Society of Surgery. She is  the representative for Central Europe of the European Society of Coloproctology. Passionate about training young colleagues, she is a member of the national Examination Board for Surgery and a board member for the Medical Education of the Styrian Medical Association.

On top of her medical and surgical credentials she has other talents : she holds a Master of Business Administration in Health Care and Hospital Management, she has a degree as fashion designer and is a glider pilot.

Martina is sure that her experience as a glider pilot helps her in surgery.

She will explain us how in a lecture in the plenary session on Friday May 8th.