David J. Sugarbaker, MD
While 2018 was a year of gains for the AATS Foundation, it was also a year of tremendous loss with the passing of David J. Sugarbaker, MD, 94th President of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery and long-standing President of the AATS Foundation. It was his vision and leadership that enabled the AATS Foundation to expand opportunities and become the significant organization that it is today.
AATS Foundation President, 2012-2018
David J. Sugarbaker’s impact on the AATS, the AATS Foundation, and the field of cardiothoracic surgery is immeasurable. Through his service as AATS President, Treasurer, and Councilor, and long standing President of the Foundation, Dr. Sugarbaker personified the AATS’ core values. Thanks to his leadership and focused attention, he played a major role in transforming the Association into a contemporary, international, and philanthropic organization.
His contributions to the AATS Foundation are just a small part of his influence on the specialty. No other contemporary leader has left a larger footprint on the field of Thoracic Surgery than Dr. Sugarbaker. A legendary pioneer who helped define the management of patients with mesothelioma and other complex thoracic tumors, Dr. Sugarbaker’s legacy endures through the numerous Division Chiefs and Professors of Thoracic Surgery he trained that are now in leadership positions throughout the United States.
His impact on the American Association for Thoracic Surgery cannot be forgotten, through his service as Councilor, Treasurer, President, and then President of the AATS Foundation. He personified the Association’s core values of Leadership, Education, Research and Innovation, Excellence in Patient Care, and Mentoring as a teacher, physician, and compassionate healer. He loved the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, and through his leadership and focused attention, he played a major role in transforming the organization into a contemporary, international, and philanthropic organization. His mentorship of so many leaders in the Association will have a lasting effect on the trajectory of the organization for years to come.
It was Dr. Sugarbaker’s vision that the AATS Foundation would foster and promote individual scholarship to enhance the knowledge of cardiothoracic surgeons throughout the world. Thanks to his exceptional leadership and the generosity of our donors, this mission is now being realized.
The AATS Foundation is pleased to announce the addition of the David J. Sugarbaker Memorial Lectureship and the David J. Sugarbaker Surgical Resident Investigator Award as integral parts of the Honoring Our Mentors Program. The Lectureship will be presented as a highlight of the AATS Annual Meeting and International Thoracic Surgical Oncology Summit and will be given by a true pioneer in cardiothoracic disease. The Surgical Resident Investigator Award supports surgical residents engaged in cancer research in the lab of an established thoracic surgical investigator. This award has a focus on thoracic surgical oncology, with particular interest in mesothelioma and lung cancer.