About Us

Staff Leadership

The ABS executive team and staff support the work of the ABS Board of Directors, Council, and specialty boards, and ensure the progress of and commitment to the ABS mission.

surgeon and physician reviewing notes on a clipboard

Facilitating the day-to-day operational functions of the organization

To manage the organization, support the ABS volunteer workforce and implement the direction of the ABS strategic plan, the ABS employs a staff that is led by a team that consists of four surgeons and other experts in their respective fields. All manage teams of staff members – some more than one team – and most have been involved with the ABS for over a decade.

Executive Staff

Leading the ABS by promoting the highest standards for professionalism
Jo Buyske, M.D.

Jo Buyske, M.D.

President & Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Jo Buyske has led the ABS since 2017. In that time the organization has undergone sweeping change, including a complete organizational and governance redesign, resulting in an organization that is forward thinking, effective, and inclusive. Dr. Buyske has been on staff at the ABS since 2008, initially as an associate executive director and director of evaluation, and before that served in several volunteer roles including writing exam questions, giving exams, and serving as a director.

Dr. Buyske has been prominent in surgery and surgical education for nearly three decades. As a director of the ABMS and the ACGME-I, president of SAGES, member of the Blue Ribbon Committee II and a myriad other roles, in addition to her role at the ABS, she has brought increased flexibility and a human touch to surgical training, and enhanced the relevance and validity of continuous certification.

Amit R. T. Joshi, M.D.

Amit R. T. Joshi, M.D.

Editor-in-Chief, SCORE®

Dr. Amit Joshi joined the ABS as editor-in-chief of SCORE in 2021. At Cooper University Healthcare in Camden, NJ, he is a general surgeon with expertise in minimally invasive hernia repairs. He is the associate dean for graduate medical education and professor of surgery at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.

Dr. Joshi is passionate about surgical education, and in his role with SCORE, he aims to make the platform more user-friendly and valuable to trainees and program directors with the ultimate goal of helping every institution/organization become better at what they do aligned with their mission/visions.

Dr. Joshi completed Brown University’s eight-year program in Liberal Medical Education and received his B.A. in music in 1997 followed by his M.D. (with academic distinction) in 2001. He completed his surgical residency at New York Presbyterian/Cornell and a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at North Shore/Long Island Jewish Hospitals.

Dr. Joshi is a 2022 awardee of the ACGME’s Parker J. Palmer “Courage to Teach” Award for Program Director Excellence. He is the president of the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS). He serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Surgical Education. He is a member of the Committee on Certification for the ABMS and chair of the Education pillar of the ACS Board of Governors.  He served on the ABS Board of Directors. 

John Mellinger, M.D.

John D. Mellinger, M.D.

Vice President

Dr. John Mellinger first joined the ABS in 2014 when he was elected to the original board of directors (now the ABS Council), having been nominated by the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS). He was selected as vice chair-elect in 2018, and joined the new ABS Board of Directors following the ABS governance redesign in 2019. He served as vice chair and chair of the board of directors in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Dr. Mellinger was named ABS vice president in 2021, succeeding Dr. Mary Klingensmith. In this role, Dr. Mellinger works closely with ABS executive leadership and staff, the ABS Board of Directors, the ABS Council and Council Committees, ABS Specialty Boards, and national stakeholders so as to provide oversight and management and lead the development and implementation of the ABS Entrustable Professional Activities (EPA) multi-year initiative.

Dr. Mellinger is a United States Air Force veteran, and completed medical school at Case Western Reserve University and general surgery residency training at the Blodgett/St. Mary’s Hospitals (now Michigan State University Program), followed by a surgical endoscopy fellowship at Mt. Sinai Medical Center and a Surgical Education Research Fellowship through the Association for Surgical Education (ASE).

In addition to his ABS role, Dr. Mellinger is Professor Emeritus at Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine in Springfield, IL. His most recent roles there, until 2021, included serving as the J. Roland Folse, M.D. Endowed Chair in Surgery, and professor and vice chair of the Department of Surgery. He also served as Director of Leadership and Excellence for the Center for Human and Organizational Potential at SIU.

Dr. Mellinger previously served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA), as well as academic dean for the Commission on Medical and Dental Education of the CMDA. He is a director of the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), president-elect of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), and a past president of the APDS, and has served on the editorial board for Annals of Surgery and the Journal of Surgical Education. Dr. Mellinger has been the recipient of more than 30 teaching awards including three national-level awards, has presented over 300 national, international, or visiting professor presentations, and has authored over 130 peer-reviewed primary scientific or review articles, as well as 28 book chapters and one book.

Bruce A. Perler, M.D.

Bruce A. Perler, M.D.

Vice President

Dr. Bruce Perler joined the ABS in 2016, succeeding Dr. Robert Rhodes as associate executive director for vascular surgery. He was named vice president in 2019. Dr. Perler is clinically active, and in addition to his ABS position, he is the Julius H. Jacobson II Professor of Surgery at Johns Hopkins University, as well as director of the vascular noninvasive laboratory. He previously served for more than a decade as chief of the division of vascular surgery and endovascular therapy and is the founder and past director of the vascular surgery training program. Originally from New Bedford, Massachusetts, he completed his medical degree at Duke University and his general surgery residency and vascular surgery fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Perler has served as president of the Society for Vascular Surgery, Southern Association for Vascular Surgery, Eastern Vascular Society, and Chesapeake Vascular Society, and on the executive council of the Association of Program Directors in Vascular Surgery. In 2021, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery. He is co-editor of Rutherford’s Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, 9th, 10th, and now 11th Editions, and past senior editor of the Journal of Vascular Surgery publications. Dr. Perler is certified by the ABS in vascular surgery and previously in general surgery.

Mark Hickey

Mark Hickey

Chief Operating Officer

Mark Hickey joined the ABS in 2020 as the chief information officer and was appointed to chief operations officer in 2022. Prior to that, he was the chief operating officer of SCORE from 2007 through 2019 when it merged with the ABS. 

In his current role, Mr. Hickey oversees all ABS departments as he provides oversight for all ongoing operations and procedures within the organization. He seeks to improve ABS infrastructure, tools and workflow to streamline processes for end users both within and outside of the organization. He brings to the organization 30+ years of systems architecture, educational software and media design.

Mr. Hickey is a graduate of St. John Fisher College in New York and holds a master’s degree from Emerson College in Massachusetts.

Andrew Jones, Ph.D.

Andrew Jones, Ph.D.

Chief Quality, Research, and Assessment Officer

Dr. Andrew Jones joined the ABS in 2009 as a psychometrician. He left the organization briefly in 2014 to work with another member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and returned to the ABS psychometrics team in 2015. He became the director of psychometrics and research in 2017, and was appointed to chief quality, research, and assessment officer in 2022.

In his current role, Dr. Jones provides direction and leadership to psychometric and examination development staff to implement organizational priorities and improve the quality of exams. He is responsible for leading internal efforts and partnerships with external stakeholders to conduct research that serves the mission of the ABS, as well as implementation of processes to automate operational exam scoring procedures.

Dr. Jones is a graduate of James Madison University in both his undergraduate and graduate educations. He has held leadership positions for several ABMS advisory groups, currently serving as a member of the Database and Information Technology Advisory Committee (DITAC), and serving as a past-chair of the Research and Advisory Group for Continuing Certification and the Scoring and Reporting Group for Continuing Certification.

Mary Mackey, C.P.A.

Mary Mackey, C.P.A.

Chief Financial Officer

Mary Mackey joined the ABS in 2018 as controller, following three years of consulting for the organization, and was named chief financial officer in 2022. She is responsible for the financial integrity of the enterprise through the effective management of corporate financial resources. In addition, Ms. Mackey provides leadership and oversight of the overall economic, strategic, and operational corporate planning, financing needs, budgeting, forecasting, cash and investment management, financial reporting and analysis, accounting, and payroll. 

Before joining the ABS in 2018, Ms. Mackey worked in public accounting for 18 years in audit, compilations, accounting, tax, and forensics before switching to the nonprofit sector. She performed finance and accounting consultant work for nonprofit organizations for six years leading up to her employment with the ABS. During that time, Ms. Mackey acted as controller and chief financial officer/advisor for various nonprofits, including medical and professional organizations, learning institutions, urban youth groups, environmental companies, and the ABS.

Ms. Mackey received her B.S. in accounting from Temple University. She is an active Certified Public Accountant, licensed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy since 2001. In addition, she has earned various certificates in leadership from Cornell University. Ms. Mackey is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Adanwimo "Ada" Okafor, Esq.

Ada Okafor, Esq.

General Counsel and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

Ada Okafor joined the ABS in 2021 and currently serves as general counsel (GC) and chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer (CDEIO).  

In her role as GC, Ms. Okafor leads the organization’s legal, compliance, ethics and enterprise risk management functions. In her role as CDEIO, she leverages data analytics, coaching, facilitated discussions, workshops, and educational training to promote diversity within the surgical space, cultivate a culture of belonging, and foster employee well-being, innovation, productivity and retention. 

Prior to joining the ABS, Ms. Okafor practiced at national and international law firms in Philadelphia, PA, and Washington, DC, where she specialized in complex ERISA, employee benefits, health, retirement, and executive compensation law.  

Ms. Okafor has received numerous awards including being named a “Top 100 Powerful DEI Leader” by Proven Base, a “40 Under 40 Rising Star” by City & State Philly, a “GC with Impact” by the Legal Intelligencer, “50 Women to Watch” by Corporate Counsel Business Journal, “Top 50 Women Leaders in Law” by Women We Admire, “Top 100 Lawyer” by the National Black Lawyers, United Nations “Most Influential People of African Descent (UN MIPAD)” Global Top 100 Health and Wellness Edition, and “Best of the Bar” by the Philadelphia Business Journal. 

Ms. Okafor is an active member of various professional organizations including the Association of Corporate Counsel, the Women’s General Counsel Network, the American Board of Medical Specialties Bar Association, the Diverse Lawyers Network, the Leadership Development Committee of the DC Bar, and the Steering Committee of the American University Washington College of Law Alumni Association.

She holds a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University, a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law, and a B.A. from Southern Methodist University.

Jessica A. Schreader

Jessica A. Schreader

Chief of Staff/Chief Administrative Officer

Jessica Schreader joined the ABS in 1993 as a part-time employee while attending law school. Over the years, she has held many various positions, including vascular surgery examination coordinator, hospice and palliative medicine examination coordinator, arrangements coordinator and operations manager. She became the organization’s chief operations officer in 2019, and was appointed to the dual roles of chief of staff and chief administrative officer in 2022. 

In her current role, Ms. Schreader works closely with all ABS employees as she oversees the processes and procedures of multiple departments within the organization. 

In addition to being a graduate of Loyola University, Ms. Schreader holds a J.D. from Rutgers School of Law and is a SHRM Certified Professional.

Contact Us
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consect etur adipiscing elit.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed accumsan erat semper tellus semper ultricies. Aenean dictum lacus vel tortor ornare egestas. Nunc ac eros vulputate, hendrerit odio eu, vestibulum velit. Phasellus eget dui at sem vehicula molestie non sit amet lectus. Donec sed feugiat nulla, eleifend consectetur dolor. Phasellus auctor, ligula quis venenatis feugiat, ligula quam ullamcorper mauris, ut aliquam neque urna.