MISSION & HISTORY
The World Surgical Infection Society is bridging the gaps between safe surgery and infection prevention and control programs, with a focus on surgical infection reduction safety where the need is greatest.
The World Surgical Infection Society was founded in response to a gap in surgical outcomes between patients in high-income and low- and middle-income countries. Although surgical infections remain a public health issue in high-income countries, particularly due to recent concerns around the rise of antimicrobial resistant organisms, low rates in developed, resource-rich countries such as the United States indicate that such infections are largely preventable. We believe in a world where all people can receive the best available care to ensure safe surgery and avoid life-threatening surgical infections.
There have been large scale efforts within the past few years to elevate global surgery as a public health agenda item. However, these efforts center on increasing access to surgery rather than quality improvement. While laudable, increasing access is a long-term project requiring major resources. Improving the quality of ongoing surgical procedures through evidence-based and field-tested measures can help to bridge the gap in a timely and efficient way.
WSIS is fundamentally about building strong, lasting bonds between like-minded healthcare workers across the globe that will allow those working, or interested in working, on quality improvement in surgical infection and global surgery to more efficiently and effectively accomplish their goals. We focus on working with regional champions who have the knowledge and experience needed to create effective, targeted solutions.
Dr. Joseph Solomkin, MD, FACS, FIDSA, was the founder and executive director of OASIS Global, a non-profit organization working to lower the incidence of post-surgical infections in low- and middle- income countries. While chairman of OASIS Global, Dr. Solomkin was the chair of the Guidelines Development Group for the World Health Organization’s Global Guidelines for the Prevention of Surgical Site Infection. After success and further research at Oasis Global, he founded the World Surgical Infection Society and merged the two organizations under the new flagship name. He expanded the work of the Society from academic to implementation, conducting and managing on-the-ground research in sub-Saharan countries on surgery and infection prevention and control.
Dr. Solomkin received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and residency at the University of Minnesota. He served in the United States Army, receiving two Bronze Stars for his service. He joined the Department of Surgery at the University of Cincinnati as a general surgeon, sub-specializing in burns and trauma. Dr. Solomkin then became a professor of emeritus in surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He has co-authored over 130 articles, 30 book chapters including co-authoring the medical textbook Clinician’s Manual on Intra-abdominal infections.
We are thankful to Joseph Solomkin for all his hard work and contribution to the fields of global health, surgery, and infection prevention control. Without his commitment and leadership, the World Surgical Infection Society would not exist and be making strong headway towards achieving its vision in bridging the gaps between safe surgery and infection prevention and control programs, with a focus on surgical infection reduction safety where the need is greatest. Joe’s ability to engage and bring people on this journey is demonstrated through the current board positions and many connections that remain at global, national and local level.