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ABS Names Adanwimo "Ada" Okafor as General Counsel and Announces the Retirement of Abby Pozefsky

Oct. 1, 2021 Media Contact: Alyson Maloney, 215-568-4000

Adanwimo "Ada" Okafor, Esq. (top) and Abby L. Pozefsky, Esq. (bottom)

The American Board of Surgery (ABS), the national certifying body for general surgeons and related specialists, announced today that Adanwimo "Ada" Okafor, Esq., has been named general counsel of the organization, effective October 1. She fills this position following the retirement of previous general counsel, Abby Pozefsky, Esq.

In the general counsel role, Okafor will lead the ABS legal department and oversee the organization's legal, compliance, ethics and enterprise risk management functions. She also serves as ABS' inaugural chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer (CDEIO).

"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as general counsel as well as CDEIO," said Okafor. "I look forward to supporting ABS’ continued success and commitment to sustained high performance, collaboration, excellence and integrity."

As CDEIO, Okafor leverages data analytics, coaching, facilitated discussions, workshops, and educational training to promote diversity within the house of surgery, cultivate a culture of belonging, and foster employee well-being, innovation, productivity and retention.

"We are very excited to promote Ada to general counsel," said ABS President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jo Buyske. "She is a natural leader and an all-around great person who has already made great strides as our CDEIO and will make an immediate impact leading our legal department."

Abby Pozefsky retired as general counsel and chief administrative officer on September 30. During her tenure at ABS, Pozefsky revitalized the legal department, implemented many legal and human resources initiatives, and streamlined various processes that resulted in increased performance and productivity across the board.

"I would also like to thank Abby for all of her incredible contributions to ABS," Dr. Buyske said. "Abby is an accomplished legal strategist whose outstanding legal career spanned more than 30 years. Our organization benefited greatly from her extensive experience, sound judgment, and principled legal advice during her tenure. I am privileged to count her as a trusted colleague and as a friend, and I wish her every bit of happiness in her much-deserved retirement."

Prior to ABS, Pozefsky was an important fixture at some major institutions in Philadelphia, serving in roles that include Philadelphia Water Department General Counsel, Philadelphia Airport General Counsel, chief deputy of regulatory affairs for the Philadelphia Law Department, Philadelphia Gas Works General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer, board secretary for the Philadelphia Facilities Management Corporation and transformation consultant for the Philadelphia School District Legal Department. In addition to her dual roles at ABS, she currently serves on the Philadelphia Water, Sewer and Storm Water Rate Board.

Abby and Ada are, respectively, the first woman and first woman of color to hold the general counsel position and lead the ABS legal department. Dr. Buyske added, "I believe this is a testament to our strategic, long-term commitment to diversify ABS and the house of surgery."

About the ABS
  • The American Board of Surgery is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1937 for the purpose of certifying individuals who have met a defined standard of education, training and knowledge in the field of surgery. Surgeons certified by the ABS have completed at least five years of surgical training following medical school and successfully completed a written and oral examination process administered by the ABS. They must then maintain their board certification through ongoing learning and practice improvement activities.
  • The ABS offers board certification in general surgery, vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, surgical critical care, complex general surgical oncology, surgery of the hand, and hospice and palliative medicine. It is one of the 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties.