Yao Family and Society for Vascular Surgery Foundation Establish James S.T. Yao Resident Research Award

Nov 01, 2023

[Rosemont, Illinois] Nov. 1, 2023 – In honor of the late James S. T. Yao, MD, PhD, the Yao family and the Society for Vascular Surgery Foundation announce the new James S.T. Yao Resident Research Award, formerly known as the Resident Research Award, to commemorate Dr. Yao's pivotal role in vascular surgery. 

Dr. James (Jimmy) S.T. Yao, a distinguished figure in vascular research, passed away on Dec. 20, 2022.  

The renaming of this award pays tribute to an individual who dedicated his life to advancing vascular surgery. The financial contribution from Dr. Yao’s wife, Louise, along with their three children, Kathy, a surgeon; John, a musician; and Pauline, a museum curator, ensures that his legacy continues to inspire future generations of vascular surgeons.  

“He was a great believer in research and writing papers,” reminisced Louise. “I see other people like him and my daughter, who is also in medicine and has many of those traits.” 

The award, officially launched on Nov. 1, is bestowed by the Foundation to support emerging medical professionals exploring vascular disease biology and innovative translational therapies. The award is designed to provide special recognition of publication-quality original scientific work that has been unpublished in manuscript form. 

Dr. Yao's career began with his medical education at the National Taiwan University Medical School in Taipei, followed by his surgical residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. He continued with a doctorate in London and served as the Magerstadt Professor of Surgery and Chief of Vascular Surgery at Northwestern University from 1988 to 2007.  

Dr. Yao's work led to the development of the ankle-brachial index, a quick and simple way to check for peripheral artery disease that’s now a standard test. He played a role in establishing formal protocols for noninvasive vascular studies and founded the Society for Noninvasive Vascular Technology in 1977. 

Throughout his career, Dr. Yao wrote 200 textbook chapters and contributed to 50 academic books. He created the first blood flow laboratory in Chicago, initiated a vascular fellowship training program and held leadership positions in vascular surgery organizations, including his service as SVS president in 1993.  

“[Dr. Yao] wrote over 300 manuscripts, he influenced every aspect of vascular surgery based on in-depth case series and basic translational research,” said Michael C. Dalsing, MD, SVS Foundation chair and Dr. Yao’s former trainee. “But with all his success, he never forgot who he was – truthful, dedicated, humble and intellectually fearless.”  

Dr. Yao led the SVS History Project Work Group, which conducted interviews with more than 85 notable figures in the field, demonstrating his commitment to preserving the history of vascular surgery. In 2007, he received the SVS Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Yao was also known for “his passion for research” and his work with what is now the SVS Foundation to help fund research projects and awards.  

The award is administered by the SVS Basic and Translational Research Committee, which annually selects a recipient advancing in the field. Their research will be showcased at the SVS Vascular Annual Meeting, symbolizing both the awardee’s dedication and the Foundation’s commitment to vascular medicine research.  

For more information about the James S.T. Yao Resident Research Award, visit vascular.org/YaoRRA

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About the Society for Vascular Surgery Foundation: 

The SVS Foundation is the charitable arm of the Society for Vascular Surgery. Since 1987, the Foundation has funded over $14 million in grants and awards. It is committed to funding the future of vascular health through its four pillars: research and innovation, community vascular care and patient education, disease prevention, and diversity, equity and inclusion. It supports innovative research initiatives and educational programs to improve patient care and outcomes. 

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