Trauma surgeon M. Margaret Knudson, MD, FACS, honored for inspiring women in surgery

ACS Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award recognizes Dr. Knudson’s contributions to the advancement of women in the field of surgery

M. Margaret Knudson, MD, FACSCHICAGO (October 24, 2021): This evening M. Margaret Knudson, MD, FACS, San Francisco, California, received the 2021 American College of Surgeons (ACS) Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award during the virtual Convocation ceremony that is a highlight of the College’s Clinical Congress 2021, which is also a virtual event. Dr. Knudson is a professor of surgery at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), adjunct professor at the Uniformed Services University, and the Medical Director of the Military Health Service Strategic Partnership with the American College of Surgeons (ACS). In addition to these duties, Dr. Knudson is also currently the deputy editor of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. The award was developed by the ACS Women in Surgery Committee (WiSC) and recognizes significant contributions to the advancement of women in the field of surgery.

Dr. Knudson completed medical school and general surgery training at the University of Michigan, followed by a fellowship in pediatric surgery at Stanford University. She joined the faculty at UCSF in 1989, working primarily at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH), where she was the second woman to work as a surgeon at the trauma center.

In addition to her work at UCSF and SFGH, Dr. Knudson has been on the front lines treating trauma victims in major disasters, including the 2010 Haitian earthquake and the 2013 crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco. She has served as visiting surgeon at both Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and Balad Air Force Hospital in Iraq while treating soldiers injured on the battlefield. Dr. Knudson has a long and dedicated career of service with the U.S. military that began in 2003 when she taught ultrasound to surgeons who were deployed into battle zones.

Dr. Knudson (first row, second from left) serves as visiting surgeon treating injured soldiers in IraqShe developed and formalized the Senior Visiting Surgeon program, which promoted civilian trauma and vascular surgeons to rotate through the Army Hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, and assisted in the care of injured troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2008, she was the only civilian who spent time downrange at a military hospital in Iraq. With her extensive military experience, dedication to improving the outcomes of active soldiers, and her surgical expertise, Dr. Knudson has served as the Director for the Military Health System (MHS) Strategic – American College of Surgeons Partnership since 2015.

In her nomination letter, the UCSF Muriel Steel Society stated, “The call for nominations describes Dr. Mary Edwards Walker as being ‘unwavering in her commitment to service to her country and surgical profession’ and a woman whose perseverance, excellence, and pioneering behavior paved the way for the women surgeons of today. We can think of no person who embodies that legacy more than our own Dr. M. Margaret “Peggy” Knudson.”

Dr. Knudson’s pioneering career has paved the way for young women in surgery, and her perseverance, dedication, and focus exemplify the spirit of the Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award.

The Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award is named for Mary Edwards Walker, MD, the first female surgeon to be employed by the U.S. Army and the only woman in the 1855 graduating class of Syracuse Medical School. Dr. Walker is the only woman to have received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Her extensive commitment to the surgical profession has helped pave the way for the women surgeons of today.

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