“I admire the way SAGES has adapted to advances in technology, the addition of robotics and the growing specialty of hernia repairs. I plan to be a member for life,” says Dr. Shirin Towfigh.
While Dr. Towfigh remembers her fellow UCLA surgery residents choosing specialties just to avoid laparoscopic surgery, she says she was always “super gung-ho” about laparoscopy. She took her first SAGES foregut course as a resident, taught by former SAGES president Dr. Jeff Peters.
At her first job at USC, Dr. Towfigh worked closely with multiple SAGES leaders and members, including Dr. Peters, along with Drs. Namir Katkhouda, Peter Crookes, Lee Sillin, and Cedric Bremner. When she moved to Cedars-Sinai, she worked with both Drs. George Berci and Edward Phillips, adding, “I am a great advocate of mentorship and learning from surgical history. I have been blessed to be in SAGES’ Los Angeles hub and thus being exposed to the greatest of the great.”
Since joining SAGES as a second year surgery resident, Dr. Towfigh has remained gung-ho in her participation, including as a member of the FLS committee helping to write FLS exam questions, co-editing the SAGES Manual of Groin Pain, working with the Hernia committee and her more current involvement with Community Practice Committee.
Dr. Towfigh’s favorite aspect of being a SAGES member? The Sing Off, of course. She says, “SAGES has a unifying event every year that is fun, relaxing, cultured, international and promotes a siblinghood among its membership that makes the society so special. I remain close friends with people I would have never met outside of SAGES. It’s a bond we share that I don’t see in most other societies. And this is unique because SAGES is not a regional meeting, yet still manages to instill such a sense of belonging and camaraderie among its members.”
As a mentor to students and residents, Dr. Towfigh adds, “I now enjoy seeing and promoting my past residents and fellows on the SAGES stage or on committees at SAGES. The cycle continues, and I love it!”