Release Date: April 7, 2016
BUFFALO, NY – Steven D. Schwaitzberg, MD, chair of the Department of Surgery at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, is being recognized with prestigious awards for achievement in two very distinct fields.
The Society of Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) has awarded him the SAGES Distinguished Service Award for his outstanding contributions to the field of minimally invasive surgery and to the organization. He also is the recipient, along with his co-authors, of the American College of Healthcare Executives 2016 Edgar C. Hayhow Article of the Year award.
The two achievements reflect how broadly Schwaitzberg has influenced both the intensely demanding field of surgery and the national dialogue within the medical profession about how to improve the delivery of health care in general.
Schwaitzberg, also medical director of surgical program development for Kaleida Health and the Erie County Medical Center, received the SAGES award at the 10th Annual SAGES Education and Research Foundation Awards Luncheon in March held at the Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston.
The award is given to a surgeon who has made a significant, long-term educational, research, clinical or technological contribution to the field of surgical endoscopy and has advanced the mission of SAGES.
“Steve Schwaitzberg embodies qualities — energy, ‘can do spirit’ and enthusiasm to take on challenges — that are the core of the SAGES culture,” said SAGES Awards Committee Chairman David Rattner. He noted that Schwaitzberg has devoted countless hours to cementing SAGES relationships with major societies, such as the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the American College of Surgeons, to find common ground and ways to work together in areas of mutual interest.
Among Schwaitzberg’s most significant research accomplishments is the demonstration of the feasibility of using microwaves to warm blood, facilitating transfusions. His work in this area led to the development and federal approval of a practical device.
Schwaitzberg has promoted the use of minimally invasive surgery skills around the world. His research has focused on methods of improving clinical outcomes to lessen recovery times, and he has contributed to the clinical use of robots in surgery.
In addition to his expertise in surgery, Schwaitzberg has long had an interest in the national discussion on improving the delivery of health care. Earlier this year, he and his co-authors Milton E. Hammerly, MD, market medical director at Peoples Health in New Orleans and Larry Harmon, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, received the Edgar C. Hayhow Article of the Year award for “Good to Great: Using 360-Degree Feedback to Improve Physician Emotional Intelligence.”
Published in the September/October 2014 issue of the Journal of Healthcare Management, the article advocates the use of anonymous feedback surveys to analyze physician behavior, allowing organizations to screen staff for areas in need of improvement. The article discusses how emotional intelligence educational and intervention programs along with ongoing evaluations and feedback help solidify team-oriented environments in the health care industry.
A faculty member at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences since June 2015, Schwaitzberg was previously professor of surgery at the Harvard Medical School, chief of surgery at the Cambridge Health Alliance and associate professor of surgery at Tufts University School of Medicine. He also served in Iraq as director of intensive care at the 365th Evacuation Hospital.