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James W. Fleshman, MD, FACS, FASCRS

Abstract: It is always a wonderful experience to have the opportunity to work with and introduce one of your mentors on any project. Dr. James W. Fleshman is the Helen Buchman and Stanley Joseph Seeger endowed professor of surgery at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, TX. He completed medical school and surgery residency at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, and Colon and Rectal Surgery Fellowship at the University of Toronto. He served as the chief of colorectal surgery at Washington University in St. Louis for several years prior to his current position as the chief of surgery at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas. Jim has dedicated his career to service to his trainees as well as national and international organizations. He has served as president of the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery, president of the Research Foundation of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS), and president of the ASCRS. His professional focus is the treatment of patients with colorectal diseases, though he has developed an international reputation in the laparoscopic treatment of colorectal cancer, the training of surgeons in the laparoscopic resection of colorectal problems, and the development of randomized controlled trials to evaluate the use of laparoscopic techniques in the treatment of colorectal cancer. As a clinical surgeon, his interests focus on improving patient outcomes through new technology or quality assurance of surgical techniques. He has participated in, helped design, and led multicenter randomized clinical trials throughout his career, including some of the largest and most impactful multicenter international and national cooperative trials regarding minimally invasive surgery for colon and rectal cancer. In the process of participating in those trials, he has developed educational tools for surgical training and credentialing as part of those studies. His research interests led him to the leadership of the ASCRS Research Foundation and the development of the peer-review process for clinical and basic science project funding. This has resulted in editorial board membership in all of the major surgical journals, associate editorship for Annals of Surgery, and study chair for the recently completed American College of Surgeons Oncology Group Z-6051 randomized trial comparing open and laparoscopic resection of rectal cancer. Jim is married to Linda, and they have three children: Brett, Cindy, and Angie, and five grandchildren: Maren, Livia, Whitney, Jamie, and Ginny. When not working, he enjoys playing golf. On a personal note, he continues to be a leader of several surgical societies, yet still takes the time for each individual, including me, to help advance their personal and professional careers. For that, I am forever grateful. On behalf of the readers and staff of Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery, I want to sincerely thank Dr. Fleshman for serving as a guest editor and for providing us with an incredible issue on an important topic of leadership.
Keywords: career / surgery / laparoscopic resection / Research Foundation / Society / leadership / Jim / Board

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