The Nathan A. Womack Surgical Society Research Day and Graduation Celebration

June 15, 2018

To register, please click here.

Nathan A. Womack Distinguished Visiting Professor


Director, Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care

American College of Surgeons (ACS)



Dr. Clifford Ko is the Director of the Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care at the American College of Surgeons. He oversees all the quality improvement and accreditation/verification programs and activities of the division, including those related to Bariatric, Cancer, Pediatric, and Trauma surgeries. He also oversees the Surgeon Specific Registry (SSR), the Coalition for Quality in Geriatric Surgery (CQGS), and the Improving Surgical Care and Recovery (ISCR) project informed for enhanced recovery protocols. Dr. Ko serves as the Director of ACS NSQIP, which recently was recognized with the Eisenberg Award from the National Quality Forum/Joint Commission.

Dr. Ko’s work focuses on surgical quality of care, including quality measurement, process improvement, value based care, and achieving high reliability in surgical care. He has served in advisory roles to national and international efforts for achieving higher quality and safety including the World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine, the National Quality Forum, PCORI, amongst others. He has received millions of dollars in grant funding to study quality of care from sources that include the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society, the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Veterans Administration. He has published over 400 peer reviewed manuscripts and has written more than 20 book chapters. He is frequently invited to speak nationally and internationally, and was recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the top 50 experts leading the field of patient safety.

Current national initiatives for Dr. Ko include overseeing the newly released Optimal Resources for Surgical Quality and Safety and the adjunctive and integrated resources/standards for the manual to inform a new verification program, and the implementation of surgical bundles into 1000+ hospitals.

Clinically, Dr. Ko is a double board-certified surgeon with a practice currently focusing on patients with colorectal cancer. At UCLA, he is the Robert and Kelly Day Professor of Surgery, has won the Faculty Teaching Award three times, and is recognized as one of the Best Doctors in America. He is also professor of health services at the UCLA School of Public Health.

Dr. Ko received his B.A (Biology), M.S. (Biological/Medical Ethics), and M.D. from the University of Chicago. He also received a Masters of Science Degree (Health Services/Outcomes Research) from the University of California, Los Angeles during his time as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Fellow at UCLA and RAND. Dr. Ko completed his General Surgery Residency at UCLA Medical Center, and obtained specialty training at the Lahey Clinic in Boston in Colon and Rectal Surgery.


Abstracts are now being accepted for the 2018 Research Day and Nathan A. Womack Surgical Society Meeting. Previously presented posters and/or abstracts are acceptable. Mandatory attendance and participation with abstract submission is asked of all residents. Submissions from fellows and medical students are also encouraged and welcomed.

Abstracts must be less than 3,000 characters including spaces. Top ranked abstract submissions will be selected for oral presentations. Applicants selected for oral presentations will be informed by late May. Prizes will be awarded for the top oral and poster (basic, clinical and medical student) presentations.

All abstracts must be submitted electronically through the online submission form. The deadline for submission is Friday, May 11th by 11:59 pm. Late submissions will not be accepted.

For more information or questions about Research Day, please contact or visit our website: for helpful hints/templates.


This year’s event will take place on the ground floor of the UNC School of Dentistry. The School is located on the UNC Campus at 385 South Columbia Street.

10:00 AM – 11:15 AM Poster Set-Up and Registration, Main Street (Ground Floor)

11:00 AM – 11:15 AM Lunch and Opening Remarks, G508 (Ground Floor)

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM Resident’s Lecture
The Current and Future State
Clifford Ko, MD, MS, MSHS
G508 (Ground Floor)

12:15 PM – 1:45 PM Poster Presentations, Main Street (Ground Floor)

1:45 PM – 3:45 PM Oral Presentations, G411 (Ground Floor)

3:45 PM – 4:45 PM Nathan A. Womack Distinguished Visiting Professor Keynote Lecture
Achieving Surgical Quality: Observations from the American College of Surgeons
Clifford Ko, MD, MS, MSHS
G411 (Ground Floor)

6:00 PM – 10:00 PM Nathan A. Womack Alumni and Awards Reception and Graduation Celebration
Carolina Inn