ABS Welcomes Drs. Mellinger and Hines as Chair and Vice Chair of Board of Directors

The ABS is pleased to welcome Drs. John D. Mellinger and O. Joe Hines as chair and vice chair of the board of directors.


John Mellinger, M.D.

The American Board of Surgery (ABS), the national certifying body for general surgeons and related specialists, is pleased to welcome Dr. John D. Mellinger as chair for 2020-2021.

Dr. Mellinger is the J. Roland Folse, M.D. Endowed Chair in Surgery, vice chair of the department of surgery, and professor and chair of general surgery at Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine in Springfield, IL. He also serves as director for leadership and excellence of the Center for Human and Organizational Potential at SIU. He completed medical school at Case Western Reserve University, followed by general surgery residency training at the Blodgett/St. Mary’s Hospitals (now Michigan State University Program) in Grand Rapids, MI. Post-residency, Dr. Mellinger completed a surgical endoscopy fellowship at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Cleveland, OH, as well as a Surgical Education Research Fellowship through the Association for Surgical Education (ASE).

Prior to joining the surgery department at SJU, Dr. Mellinger served on active duty in the United States Air Force and has had academic appointments at Wright State University, Michigan State University, and the Medical College of Georgia. His academic interests include surgical education, surgical endoscopy, gastrointestinal surgery, and international surgery.

As an academic physician and clinical leader, Dr. Mellinger is heavily involved with many surgical organizations. In addition to serving as chair of the ABS, he is a director of the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM). He is also vice president of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), and serves on the organization’s Board of Governors. Dr. Mellinger is a past president of the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS), and has 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 on the editorial board for Annals of Surgery and the Journal of Surgical Education, and is co-editor-in-chief for Resources in Surgical Education, a web-based, peer-reviewed resource from the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

Dr. Mellinger has received more than 30 teaching awards, including the Outstanding Teacher Award of the ASE, the SIU system-wide 2018 Excellence in Teaching Award, the Educator of the Year Award from the CMDA, and the Jeffrey L. Ponsky Master Educator in Endoscopy Award from SAGES. He has presented over 200 national, international, or visiting professor presentations, and has authored over 110 peer-reviewed primary scientific or review articles, as well as 28 book chapters and one book.

“It is without question the greatest privilege of my career to have the opportunity to serve the ABS as chair in the coming year,” said Dr. Mellinger. “In the past several years, through exemplary individual and corporate leadership, the Board has demonstrated the courage to reimagine its governance structure and strategic plan, in order to enhance its ability to serve the public and the profession in pursuing excellence in patient care. The ABS accomplishes this through establishing and honoring the highest standards in surgical education and certification, and through an ongoing adaptive and generative focus on the needs of our patients, learners and diplomates in achieving that goal. The Board is constituted by some of the finest individuals with whom I have ever worked, who serve sacrificially and with unsurpassed commitment and competence as stewards through the work of the organization. I look forward to the privilege of serving this group, and to being accountable to the profession for the spirit, effort and diligence in which that service is offered during these challenging and opportunity-laden times.”

In 2014, Dr. Mellinger was elected to represent the APDS on the previous ABS Board of Directors (now the Council of the ABS). While serving as a director, he was a member of the General Surgery Advisory Council (now the General Surgery Board of the ABS) and chair of the General Surgery Residency Committee.

Vice Chair

Dr. O. Joe Hines

O. Joe Hines, M.D.

Dr. O. Joe Hines has been elected to serve as chair of the ABS for the 2021-2022 term, succeeding Dr. John D. Mellinger. Elected to the ABS from the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT) in 2015, Dr. Hines served on the previous ABS Board of Directors (now the ABS Council) until 2019, when he was elected to serve as a director on the new governing board of the ABS.

Dr. Hines is chief for the division of general surgery, professor of surgery and vice chair for administration at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In addition, he serves as the Robert and Kelly Day Chair in General Surgery and director of the UCLA Agi Hirshberg Center for Pancreatic Disease, and has been appointed interim chair for the UCLA Department of Surgery, beginning July 1, 2020. Dr. Hines completed medical school at the University of Oklahoma, followed by residency training at UCLA.

“The American Board of Surgery is the standard-bearer for our profession,” said Dr. Hines. “Through the establishment of competencies for resident training, certification, and continuous learning, the American public is protected. I am excited about the prospects to continue the modernization of the programs for our diplomates in order to secure the future of our profession.”

In addition to his role with the ABS, Dr. Hines is president-elect of the American Pancreatic Association. Previously, Dr. Hines has served as president of the ACS Southern California Chapter, president of the Society of University Surgeons, vice president of the Pacific Coast Surgical Association, and governor of the American College of Surgeons.

New Director

Robert D. Fanelli, M.D. M.H.A.

Robert D. Fanelli, M.D. M.H.A.

Dr. Robert D. Fanelli has been elected to the ABS Board of Directors from the ABS Council to fill the seat vacated by former chair Dr. K. Craig Kent. Elected to the former ABS Board of Directors (now the ABS Council) in 2014 as an at-large representative, Dr. Fanelli served on the General Surgery Advisory Council (GENSAC) and later as the first-ever chair of the General Surgery Board (GSB). He joins the other 12 members of the Board of Directors in serving a six-year term.

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.

Jul. 6, 2020 Media Contact: Alyson Maloney

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