Health Secretary Enrique Ona is set to receive this week the Honorary Fellowship of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the highest honor the institution can confer to any surgeon.
Ona will be awarded the honor during ACS’ 98th Clinical Congress to be held in Chicago, Illinois starting Monday (Manila time).
“I consider this award a recognition of the contributions of Filipino surgeons to the ACS and to the international surgical community,” the Cabinet official said in a statement Sunday.
Ona becomes the first Filipino and the first Southeast Asian to receive this recognition since its conception in 1913.
The ACS’ Honorary Fellowship is awarded to “individuals who possess an international reputation in the field of surgery or medicine” and those who “have rendered distinguished humanitarian services, especially in the field of medical science,” according to the institution’s website.
Ona specializes in vascular surgery and organ transplantation. He performed the first liver and pancreas transplant in the Philippines in 1979.
He is recognized as one of the top surgeons in the field of vascular surgery and organ transplantation in the Philippines, having trained in the US and the United Kingdom.
He is certified by both the Philippine Board of Surgery and the American Board of Surgery.
Upon his return to the Philippines, Ona established the first training program in vascular and organ transplant surgery in the country.
This earned him the distinction of being one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) in medicine in 1979.
Also, Ona performed the first liver and pancreas transplant in the country and the first multiple-organ transplant (liver/kidney, kidney/pancreas) in Asia.
The ACS is a scientific and educational association of surgeons founded in 1913 to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient by setting high standards for surgical education and practice.
It has about 78,000 members in 103 chapters around the world, including a chapter in the Philippines.
“Since its establishment, the ACS has awarded Honorary Fellowships to individuals who possess an international reputation in the field of surgery or medicine, or to those who have rendered distinguished humanitarian services, especially in the field of medical science,” the DOH said.
The DOH said Honorary Fellows include Dr. William Stewart Halsted (United States, 1917), who introduced radical mastectomy for treating breast cancer and started the first formal surgical residency training program in the United States.
Before being appointed Secretary of Health in 2010, Ona served as as the Executive Director of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) from 1998 to 2010.
“Under his leadership, the NKTI became a world-class medical institution in kidney transplantation and the first ISO certified government hospital in the Philippines. At present, the NKTI is now performing the second largest transplant program as a single institution in the world,” the DOH said.
(Courtesy of Andreo Calonzo, GMA News)