ST. PAUL - Describing it as another milestone in his career, St. Paul surgeon Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad was inducted into the Fellowship of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) during a virtual ceremony held Oct. 4.
Along with his wife and children, the St. Paul surgeon was joined by colleagues of the St. Paul medical community, Mayor Maureen Miller and MLA Dave Hanson to celebrate the occasion as the induction ceremony unfolded in a live stream from Chicago for the first ever fully virtual ACS Clinical Congress.
“I strongly believe in continuous education and learning new skills,” Dr. Ahmad, who is already a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow, said. “The college awards Fellowship Certificates to surgeons who meet high standards established and demanded by the College based on education, training, professional qualification, surgical confidence and ethical conduct.”
Since moving to Canada, Dr. Ahmad has been attending the Clinical Congress which is conducted annually with the collaboration of the ACS and the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada. He had planned to travel to Chicago with his family to attend the Fellowship Convocation in person but as is the case with so many things during this pandemic, those plans had to be set aside.
The class of 2020 included 2,120 surgeons of which 1,357 were from the U.S. and Canada, and 763 from 75 countries around the world. These surgeon have successfully met the ACS requirement to “provide optimal care to the surgical patient,” and in reciting the Fellowship Pledge during the ceremony they “promised to place the welfare and rights of my patients above all else.”
Dr. Ahmad has been a surgeon at the St. Therese Health Centre for nine years and maintains he plans to continue his services to the community for the long term. He is also part of Department of Surgery at the University of Alberta and has been involved in teaching medical students and residents.
Dr. Ahmad said he is blessed with six children and proudly said “they are not only academically focused but also involved in numerous community services. My wife, Shazia and I fully support and encourage them in their journey to achieve their career goals.”
“You have completed a rigorous evaluation and demonstrated that your education and training, professional qualifications, surgical competence and ethical conduct meet the high standards demanded by the College,” reads a letter of congratulations to Dr. Ahmad from ACS.
“When you began your journey to become a Fellow, COVID-19 did not exist, not did it hold any significance in your day-to-day practice. Yet today, COVID-19 has a profound impact on our profession and will continue to change the landscape of surgery for the foreseeable future.”
ACS President Dr. J. Wayne Meredith addressed the inductees during the ceremony saying, “There are unprecedented times in which we are living right now but they are not insurmountable times, we are all going to get through this, you are going to get this.”
He spoke of the pandemic and racism and how the medical community must lead in excellence on both fronts.
“To be truly excellent, we need to be excellent in issues of race. Race is an issue everywhere in American life – it’s overt or it’s hidden. If we intend to pursue excellence, we must purse excellence in this area of race. It’s true for the American College of Surgeons, it’s true for every hospital, it’s true for every practice and it’s true for every one of us as surgeons – it’s not enough for us to be colour blind, we must be colour bold.”