The Layton Rikkers Surgical Society is proud to celebrate the Forward Award on behalf of the University of Wisconsin Department of Surgery. This award recognizes outstanding alumni contributions by current or former residents, faculty, and fellows of the University of Wisconsin Department of Surgery.
The Forward Award is presented annually each fall at the LRSS Alumni Dinner held during the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress. This year’s dinner took place on Oct. 24 in Boston, Mass.
It’s been nearly 20 years since the 2023 Forward Award winner, Dr. John Mansour, served his residency in general surgery at UW-Madison but his time as a Badger had a meaningful impact on his career.
“As time passes from my residency training in Madison, my appreciation and gratitude for the people and the culture within the Department of Surgery only grows,” Dr. Mansour said. “The Chair of the Department of Surgery during my time, Dr. Layton Rikkers, was committed to seeing his faculty and trainees succeed. That philosophy is woven into the fabric of the University of Wisconsin Department of Surgery and lives on in the faculty and leadership to this day.”
Following his stint in Madison, Dr. Mansour moved on to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute and a fellowship in Surgical Oncology where he received advanced training in surgical oncology and upper GI and hepatopancreatobiliary malignancy. Since 2007 he has been a member of the faculty of the Department of Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center. In 2017 he was presented the Patricia and William L. Watson Jr., M.D. Award for Excellence in Clinical Medicine, UT Southwestern’s highest honor in clinical medicine. After serving as Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology, he is currently a Professor of Surgery and Vice Chair of Quality for the Department.
Dr. Mansour treats patients with malignancies of the stomach, pancreas, liver, bile duct, and other abdominal organs, as well as the diverse population of sarcoma patients. He was selected by his national peers to serve on the American Board of Surgery Complex General Surgical Oncology Board, where he focuses on the standards and expectations for formal certification of surgeons specializing in surgical oncology.
The son of a surgical oncologist, Dr. Mansour has seemingly been training for his career all of his life. And he’s determined to put that all that preparation to good use.
“To be a good surgical oncologist, you can’t be just one thing,” Dr. Mansour said. “You have to be a skilled surgeon and a scientist who understands what the next steps in cancer care are five, 10, 20 years down the line. You have to be an oncologist who understands cancer, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other therapies. And you need personal skills to bring together all of those pieces with a patient and his or her family, which is not always easy to do.”
“John was a truly exemplary resident during his time at UW,” said Dr. Rebecca Sippel, Chair of the Division of Endocrine Surgery at UW–Madison and Dr. Mansour’s nominator. “He had an amazing attitude and was incredibly dedicated to not just his patients, but also his fellow residents and students. He was universally loved by all of the faculty, residents, students and staff at UW. Through all of his leadership both locally and nationally, he is helping to show the world how truly fantastic the training program at Wisconsin is.”
Despite the passage of time, Dr. Mansour’s bond with the UW Department of Surgery continues to this day.
“My connections to the University of Wisconsin Department of Surgery didn’t end when I graduated,” Dr. Mansour said. “I have continued to be inspired and counseled and mentored by former teachers and co-residents. An outsider can easily see the accomplishments and excellence of the Department. What may not be as obvious to an outsider, is the sense of respect and humanity that has always been at the heart of the Department’s mission. These people are not only tremendous doctors and surgeons, they are simply phenomenal people.”