Annabelle L. Fonseca, M.D., M.H.S., F.A.C.S., was chosen for the Jeffrey and Joan Matthews Developing Leaders Program at Digestive Disease Week, a meeting of GI professionals held May 6-9 in Chicago. Only one recipient is selected per year.
By Carol McPhail
Annabelle L. Fonseca, M.D., M.H.S., F.A.C.S., a surgical oncologist at the USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute, has been selected for a leadership development program by the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT).
Fonseca was chosen for the Jeffrey and Joan Matthews Developing Leaders Program at Digestive Disease Week, a meeting of GI professionals held May 6-9 in Chicago. Only one recipient is selected per year.
The two-year program aims to develop and support mid-career faculty from underrepresented backgrounds and/or under-resourced institutions who have an interest in becoming an academic leader in gastrointestinal surgery.
“I am very grateful to be selected for this award,” Fonseca said. “As surgeons, we spend a long time training to deliver excellent patient care; however, there is very little structure around leadership training. This program provides an opportunity to develop one’s leadership skills and a pathway to do so through courses for skill acquisition, executive coaching and mentoring, as well as exposure and networking.”
Participants receive executive coaching, attend annual meetings, and present at grand rounds outside their institutions as a Jeffrey and Joan Matthews visiting professor.
Fonseca, an assistant professor of surgery at the Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine, joined USA Health in 2018. The following year, she performed the first robotic liver resection in southern Alabama.
Her clinical focus includes tumors of the liver, pancreas, gastric and biliary system. Her research focuses on disparities in access to cancer care, with the goal of improving the delivery of guideline-concordant cancer care in foregut cancers. In 2022, she received funding from the Center for Clinical and Translational Surgery to study barriers in access to care faced by pancreatic cancer patients. She also conducts research on pancreatic cystic disease and the progression of these lesions to pancreatic cancer.
A native of Mumbai, India, Fonseca earned her medical degree at Padmashree Dr. D.Y. Patil Medical College in India. She continued her training, obtaining a Master of Health Science degree at Yale University School of Medicine and completing her residency at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. She completed a fellowship in complex general surgical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.