UC Davis surgery chair named president of the American Surgical Association


UC Davis Department of Surgery Distinguished Professor and Chair Diana Farmer has been named president of the American Surgical Association (ASA). She was sworn in as president at the organization’s annual meeting held in Chicago on April 8th. 

A highly regarded pediatric and fetal surgeon-scientist, Farmer is the first surgical leader from UC Davis Health named to the position and only the third woman elected to hold the title of president in the ASA’s 142-year history.

Diana Farmer on stage at ceremony next to man wearing a suit
Diana Farmer being sworn in as president at the American Surgical Association’s annual meeting.

“It is truly an honor to be selected for this position,” said Farmer. “The ASA is the oldest and most prestigious academic surgical organization in the world and has played an important role in my development as a surgeon scientist. It’s a career highlight to be president, and I am looking forward to serving in this leadership role.”

Founded in 1880, the ASA is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious surgical organization. It is comprised of the country’s most prominent surgeons from the leading academic medical institutions. The ASA strives for excellence and leadership in science, education and patient care while promoting diversity, integrity and innovation.

“The position of president of the ASA represents the highest honor that one can be bestowed within the surgical profession,” said Jerry Jurkovich, professor of surgery and president-elect for UC Davis Medical Staff. “This honor is well suited for Dr. Farmer, who has a long history of contribution to surgical science and an unwavering dedication to mentoring faculty, residents and students in the field of surgery.”

A recognized leader in pediatric surgery, Farmer was one of the first fetal surgeons with more than two decades of experience treating birth defects in the womb. She has pioneered foundational techniques in pediatric and fetal surgery. She’s currently researching a novel stem cell therapy developed in her lab and is now conducting an FDA approved first-in-human clinical trial for repairing damaged neural tissue in spina bifida patients before birth.

Farmer has served as the Chair of the Department of Surgery at UC Davis Health since 2011. She oversees more than 250 faculty, volunteer clinical faculty, postdoctoral fellows, residents, students and staff who provide highly skilled, specialty services in bariatric, burn, cardiothoracic, colorectal, endocrine, plastic and reconstructive, oncology, transplant, trauma and vascular surgery. She is also Chief of Surgery at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Sacramento.