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ABS Hires Dr. Richard H. Bell as Assistant Executive Director

May 4, 2006 Media Contact: Christine Shiffer, 215-568-4000

  • The American Board of Surgery (ABS) is pleased to announce the hiring of Richard H. Bell, Jr., M.D., as assistant executive director. In this newly created position, Dr. Bell will play a key role in defining and implementing the future direction of the ABS. He will begin his new position in August.

Dr. Bell is currently the Loyal and Edith Davis Professor and Chair of the department of surgery at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago as well as director of its general surgery residency program. In addition, Dr. Bell serves as surgeon-in-chief at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

A native of Providence, Rhode Island, Dr. Bell earned his bachelor's degree at Princeton University and medical degree at Northwestern University. He completed a general surgical residency and a transplantation fellowship at the University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver. After two years as a major in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, he joined the faculty at the University of California at San Diego as an assistant professor of surgery. In 1983 Dr. Bell was appointed associate professor of surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, where he rose to chief of the general surgery section and chief of surgical service at the Cincinnati Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center. In 1994 he joined the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle as professor and vice-chair of the department of surgery and served as chief of surgical service for the VA Puget Sound Health Care System.

Dr. Bell's practice has focused on gastrointestinal surgery and he has conducted extensive research regarding the causes and treatment of pancreatic diseases. He is a past president of the Association for Academic Surgery and the Pancreas Club. He has also been an active member of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, the Society of University Surgeons and the Association of VA Surgeons. In 2002 Dr. Bell was elected to the American Board of Surgery as a representative of the American Surgical Association and has served as chair of the ABS' General Surgery Residency Committee. He is also a member of the Board of Governors of the American College of Surgeons and the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program. Additionally, he sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Surgery, and Pancreas.

Dr. Bell will be based in the ABS offices in Philadelphia and will spend the majority of his time facilitating the development of a standardized surgery residency curriculum, in concert with the other principal U.S. organizations involved in surgical education. He will in addition participate in examination development and contribute to the growth of the ABS Maintenance of Certification Program.

About the ABS

The American Board of Surgery (ABS) is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1937 for the purpose of certifying surgeons who have met a defined standard of education, training and knowledge. Surgeons certified by the ABS, known as diplomates, have completed a minimum of five years of surgical training and successfully completed a written and oral examination process. The ABS currently certifies surgeons in the following fields: general surgery, pediatric surgery, vascular surgery, surgical critical care, and surgery of the hand. The ABS is one of the 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties.