Media Contacts

Marissa Villasenor

Public Relations Specialist, Office of Public Affairs
Email: Marissa.villasenor@hsc.utah.edu
Phone: 801-581-3102

Mar 31, 2014 1:09 PM

(SALT LAKE CITY) − University of Utah surgeon Catherine R. deVries, M.D., M.S., professor of pediatric urology and director of the University of Utah Center for Global Surgery will be honored with the Clinical Excellence Award at the Ninth Annual Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. National Physician of the Year Awards.  The Awards recognize and honor five exemplary physicians, as well as the many thousands of other excellent physicians practicing in communities throughout the United States. 

In the past two decades deVries has made dozens of trips to Africa, Latin America, and Asia where hundreds of millions of people have extremely limited access or no access at all to surgery. While she has performed countless operations for people with urologic needs, her primary goal has been to establish a sustainable approach by teaching surgical procedures to local physicians and nurses so they can meet the needs of the populations they serve. 

Improving access to urologic and other surgical care for undeveloped and underserved nations has become deVries’ passion. As director of the University of Utah’s Global Surgery Center, Dr. deVries recently organized the first Global Surgery Conference, which was held in Salt Lake City and attended by surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other physicians, researchers, and policymakers from around the world. The goal of the conference was to drive innovations that help areas worldwide, including parts of the United States, where lack of infrastructure and resources prevent people from getting surgical care. 

deVries became interested in providing urologic care to undeveloped nations when she visited Honduras shortly after completing her surgical residency at Stanford University. Seeing children who needed urologic care but had no access to it, she developed a surgical care and education model built around the conditions and limited resources available in undeveloped countries. In 1994, she founded International Volunteers in Urology, which focuses on teaching urology in resource-poor areas. The not-for-profit organization, now called IVUmed, has set up educational partnerships to teach all aspects of urology to doctors and nurses in 30 nations. 

Her travels have shown deVries that people in undeveloped nations need access to all types of surgery. Recognizing this, she recently established the Center for Global Surgery at the University of Utah. The center brings together people with backgrounds in surgery and anesthesiology, business and finance, and engineering to combine their experience and talents to find innovative ways for resource-poor areas to develop the infrastructure to provide surgery. This March, the center held its first annual conference, which was attended by people from across the United States and throughout the world. 

deVries also serves on two World Health Organization projects, including the Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgery committee, and other initiatives as well.

About the National Physician of the Year Awards

Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. created the National Physician of the year Awards nearly a decade ago as a further way to acknowledge the clinical excellence that typifies American medicine.  Building upon its already broad and deep processes for the identification of Castle Connolly Top Doctors®, it annually solicits special nominations from thousands of physicians across the country and the leadership of more than 1,000 hospitals to identify extraordinary physicians who have made significant and cutting-edge contributions to their areas of medicine.  The three physicians selected annually for Clinical Excellence awards have already made major contributions over the course of their medical careers to-date and are expected to do so in the years ahead.  The two physicians recognized annually for Lifetime Achievement have achieved international and national recognition for the body of their lifetime contributions to medicine and health on the broadest of levels. Though the creation of these very special National Physician of the year Awards, Castle Connolly continues to demonstrate its commitment to the very best in American medicine. 

To see the full list of honorees, please visit Castle Connolly online at www.CastleConnolly.com.