Dr. Fabrizio Michelassi Receives Grand Award of Merit from the American Society of the Italian Legions of Merit

Society's Highest Honor Recognizes Dr. Michelassi's Excellence in Surgery and Dedication to Improving the Lives of Americans, Italians and Italian Americans

Dec 18, 2012


Dr. Fabrizio Michelassi, the Lewis Atterbury Stimson Professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, and surgeon-in-chief of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, has received the Grand Award of Merit from the American Society of the Italian Legions of Merit (ASILM), the Society's highest honor.

The Grand Award of Merit recognizes Dr. Michelassi for his world-renowned excellence in the fields of surgery and medicine and his accomplishments, dedication and leadership to improving the lives of numerous Americans, Italians and Italian Americans.

The award was presented to Dr. Michelassi Dec. 7 at ASILM's 47th Annual Gala Dinner Dance and Awards Ceremony at The Pierre Hotel in New York City. This year's other esteemed honorees included: Antonin Scalia, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States; Arnaldo Pomodoro, an Italian artist; and Ronald Spogli, former United States Ambassador to the Italian Republic.

Previous recipients of the prestigious Grand Award of Merit include President of the Republic of Italy H.E. Giorgio Napolitano, former President of the United States George W. Bush and U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.

In 2009, in recognition of his many lifetime achievements, Dr. Michelassi was honored as an Official of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy with the rank of Commendatore, the most prestigious and important distinction awarded by the President of the Republic of Italy to Italian citizens of particular merit. He was then inducted as a member of the ASILM, the Italian-American society comprised of those 600 individuals who have been so decorated by the Republic of Italy. In 2010, Dr. Michelassi received the prestigious Golden Lion Award from the Order of the Sons of Italy in America and the "Campano d'Oro" medal from the University of Pisa, the highest honor that can be accorded to a University of Pisa alumnus.

Dr. Michelassi is a world-renowned, board-certified gastrointestinal surgeon with a strong expertise in the surgical treatment of gastrointestinal and pancreatic cancers as well as inflammatory bowel disease. A prolific author of more than 250 papers, book chapters and abstracts, Dr. Michelassi has contributed new insight in the surgical treatment of pancreatic and colorectal cancers, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. He has pioneered the development of important new techniques that ensure better outcomes and improved quality of life for patients with rectal cancer and ulcerative colitis. These techniques have resulted in a greater percentage of patients avoiding permanent stomas and maintaining urological and sexual function. His recognized expertise in the surgical treatment of pancreatic cancer has led many patients to seek his counsel and he has contributed new knowledge to this field through clinical trials. His experience and expertise in treating Crohn's disease led him to develop a novel bowel-sparing procedure, now known as the Michelassi strictureplasty, designed to avoid sacrificing large amounts of bowel at the time of surgery and facilitating quiescence of the acute disease affecting the diseased intestinal loops. He has edited a book on operative strategies in inflammatory bowel disease and has produced eleven instructional movies for surgeons on the surgical treatment of complications of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

  • As an outstanding clinician, researcher and teacher, Dr. Michelassi has delivered many named and keynote lectures across the country; has been invited to be a visiting professor at 75 national and international institutions; and has delivered more than 300 national and international presentations. He is associate editor of the Annuals of Surgical Oncology and serves on the editorial board of five prestigious medical journals including: the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Surgery, The British Journal of Surgery, Digestive Surgery and Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology and Hepatology. A recognized leader in the gastrointestinal surgical field, Dr. Michelassi has been appointed to many international and national task forces and panels.
  • Dr. Michelassi has served as president of the Society of Surgical Oncology, the Illinois Surgical Society, the Spencer Surgical Society, the Western Surgical Society, the Central Surgical Association, the Society of Surgical Chairs and the New York Surgical Society. He has served as secretary of the Society of the Alimentary Tract and SSAT Foundation and as director of the American Board of Surgery. A member of more than 45 professional societies in the United States and internationally, he serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors of the American College of Surgeons and he is chair of the Committee on Clinical Congress Programs of the Advisory Council for General Surgery of the American College of Surgeons. He has served as vice-president of the International Society of Digestive Surgery and he is currently a director of the James IV Association of Surgeons, Inc.

Dr. Michelassi has earned numerous awards for his innovative contributions to advancing the treatment of digestive diseases, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Award, the American Cancer Society Cancer Development Award and the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. His research on Crohn's disease has been funded by the International Organization of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and his research on the genetics of gastrointestinal cancer has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society. He has been repeatedly recognized by Castle Connolly, New York Magazine and Chicago Magazine as one of the "Best Doctors in America." He was named as one of "America's Top Doctors" by U.S. News & World Report. He was chosen as one of "American's Top Surgeons" by the Consumers' Research Council of America, and has been selected as one of New York's "Super Doctors" every year since 2008, an honor accorded to just 5 percent of all New York physicians.

After graduating summa cum laude from the University of Pisa School of Medicine, Dr. Michelassi completed his internship and surgical residency at New York University and a research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University. In 1984, he joined the faculty of the Department of Surgery at the University of Chicago. He became section chief of General Surgery in 1994, tenured professor in 1995, vice chair of the Surgery Department in 2000 and the Thomas D. Jones Professor of Surgery in 2001. He also served as director of the Surgical Oncology Fellowship from 1988 through 1995 and director of the General Surgery Residency Program from 1997 through 2004. He moved to his current position at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in 2004.

Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside, aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances -- including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with the Methodist Hospital in Houston. For more information, visit weill.cornell.edu

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,409 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including 12,797 deliveries and 195,294 visits to its emergency departments. NewYork-Presbyterian's 6,144 affiliated physicians and 19,376 staff provide state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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