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During ASCA’s annual conference in Dallas this year, the association recognized two physicians with its 2022 Nap Gary Award for Lifetime Achievement in the ASC Community: Thomas M. Deas Jr., MD, and Peter Daly, MD. Both men exemplify the long-standing dedication to the ASC community, leadership qualities and high moral and ethical standards the award was created to recognize. Each also contributed in unique ways to advancing the ASC care model.

Deas, a former member of ASCA’s Board of Directors, is board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology. The list of leadership positions he has held and his accomplishments during his career is long, so I will mention only a few highlights here. In 1991, after a 20-year career in the U.S. Air Force, Deas retired as colonel and began his gastroenterology medical practice in Fort Worth, Texas. He served as medical director of the Fort Worth Endoscopy Center between 1994 and 2012 and the Southwest Fort Worth Endoscopy Center between 2002 and 2012. He also served as medical director and president of North Texas Specialty Physicians during many of those same years and as president of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy from 2012 to 2013. Since 1994, Deas has been an outspoken advocate for the high-quality, cost-efficient care that ASCs provide. He has also been involved in several innovative programs designed to maximize the many benefits ASCs offer. He continues to work part-time as a physician development coach at the TCU School of Medicine.

As he accepted the award, Deas noted that receiving it was a huge honor and receiving it for doing something he loved so much made it an even greater honor.  In a nod to the achievements of Daly, Deas talked about how something life-changing happened to him when he participated in a medical mission trip with ASCA and Daly’s One World Surgery program in Honduras. He advised everyone, “Let something happen to you.”

Daly is an orthopedic surgeon with Summit Orthopedics in Eagan, Minnesota, and specializes in shoulder, hip and knee conditions. He and his wife, Lulu, opened the Holy Family Surgery Center in Honduras in 2008 and began organizing four to five medical mission trips to the facility each year. In 2017, they combined with Surgical Care Affiliates Medical Missions to create One World Surgery, where Daly continues to serve as chief medical officer. Recently, One World Surgery opened a second center in the Dominican Republic. That program builds on the success of the original center in Honduras, bringing life-changing care to an underserved population in a second country. The ASCA Foundation offers a scholarship program for ASCA members interested in medical mission opportunities through One World Surgery in both locations.

Lulu Daly, who is also a pediatric nurse, accompanied Daly as he accepted the award. After acknowledging the important contributions she made in establishing both surgery centers, he thanked her and ASCA for their support. 

First presented in 2016, the Nap Gary Award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding lifetime contributions to the ASC community. It recognizes longstanding and unwavering dedication to ambulatory surgery as well as qualities like integrity, mentorship, leadership, loyalty, and high ethical and moral standards that the individual has demonstrated over time.

Beall D. “Nap” Gary Jr. proposed the award while serving as past president of the ASCA and ASCA Foundation Boards of Directors. As he was preparing to take part in ASCA’s annual meeting in 2015, he suffered a fatal heart attack on his weekly early-morning, 13-mile run at his home in White Hall, Virginia. The other board members who served with him elected to name the award in his honor.

The recognition of these two physicians for their outstanding service and commitment to ASCs was just one part of ASCA’s April conference that attracted nearly 2,000 people from the ASC community to Dallas for three full days of educational sessions and an expansive exhibit hall. In-person networking opportunities included an ASC Celebration Luncheon and a Friday night social event at the Glass Cactus nightclub overlooking Grapevine Lake. After two years of virtual events, attendees were enthusiastic about being together again at the live conference.  

ASCA’s next annual conference will be in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, May 17-20, 2023. I hope to see you there.  

– Bill Prentice is the chief executive officer of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA).

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