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Local matters: Three community service honorees in profile

By Beth Bales

The Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) has honored three members in community practice for their leadership of patients and their local communities, as well as exemplary professional practice and leadership.

Recipients of the excellence in Community Service Award, in only its second year, must have a minimum of 20 years as a practicing vascular surgeon, five years of SVS membership and an impact on vascular care or community health.

This year’s awardees are Krishna Jain, MD, Russell Samson, MD, and William Shutze, MD.

Krishna Jain

Jain started his career in an academic vascular surgery practice. But the desire to serve locally drew him to community practice, instead. He set up shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he served patients for more than 30 years. He founded Advanced Vascular Surgery, a private group that eventually grew to support five full-time vascular surgeons, and also is founding director of Paragon Health, a multi-specialty physician group.

Love of community shaped his life and career, developing a vascular program in Kalamazoo and helping create a network of rural satellite clinics, as well as a mobile vascular lab that took care to patients’ homes. He contributed to the beginnings of the city’s IndoAmerican Cultural Center and, when SVS was working toward an international presence, Jain actively supported the effort by engaging the Vascular Society of India. He is founding president of the South Asian American Vascular Society. And throughout his years of busy community practice, he nonetheless remained active in research.

A surgeon who has always embraced the future, he introduced endovascular therapy and outpatient treatment centers to Kalamazoo and was part of a steering committee to create the SVS’s Section on Outpatient & Office Vascular Care. He is a founding member of the Outpatient Endovascular and Interventional Society and edited the recently published book, “Office-Based Endovascular Centers.”

“He is one of the leading proponents of the outpatient vascular lab interventions focusing on improving outcomes for patients,” a colleague said.

Though he retired from active practice four years ago, he continues to mentor medical, college and high school students, influencing the next generation.

“Dr. Jain built a vascular surgery program par excellence, [and] provided outstanding physician leadership within the community of Kalamazoo,” said Jain’s colleague. “As a practicing vascular surgeon, he maintained exceptional personal integrity and the highest standards of the profession. It is due to the extraordinary and selfless efforts of individuals like Dr. Jain vascular surgery has thrived at a community level.”

Russell Samson

Samson may seem familiar to members from his photo appearing in Vascular Specialist monthly from 2013 to 2018, when he served as medical editor.

In private practice in Sarasota, Florida, he has served as chief of surgery at several area hospitals. He is also a clinical professor of vascular surgery at Florida State University Medical School. His academic achievements include authoring many textbook chapters and being an assistant editor for the sixth edition of “Rutherford’s Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy.” He also developed the Jobst UlcerCare® therapy for venous ulcerations and the Atrium® Vascular reporting package and database.

Samson has been a prolific writer, having authored 100 peer-reviewed articles on improving ways to deliver patient care “from wound care centers to critical writings about achieving the highest and best outcomes in every vascular procedure,” a colleague wrote. “This speaks to the exceptional quality of care that he pursued and rendered for the patients in his community. It was extensive, and it was geared to quality, integrity and compassion—all aimed at doing the right thing better for each patient.” Samson also has been an educator, imparting knowledge to colleagues, students and the public via media presentations. Teaching others how to build a successful, principled practice is his passion. Vascular surgeons who have attended his lectures and courses and, in turn, their patients, are the beneficiaries of his lessons in integrity and quality.

There can be no greater impact on the health of a community than when that community receives care from a community practice where high-quality service is rendered with empathy. This pursuit of excellence has been Samson’s trademark—delivered for an entire career.

William Shutze

Shutze has spent his entire nearly 30- year career in the same community in the Dallas area. He has contributed in countless ways to vascular surgery via membership, mentorship, education and research—locally and at the state and national levels. He has a long list of local accomplishments in the Lone Star State, including currently serving as president of the Texas Vascular and Endovascular Society, and membership in the Texas Surgery Society. Within the latter, he has worked to elevate the profile of vascular surgery through regular scientific presentations at biannual meetings on vascular topics.

He finds service to state and regional societies important as he has the opportunity to enjoy camaraderie with and learn from fellow vascular surgeons at the grassroots level. He supports the SVS quality initiatives through service to the Southern Vascular Outcomes Network and the VQI national research advisory committee.

He has mentored students at all levels, including residents and fellows, medical students and even university and high school students. He helped develop and launch the SVS Mentor Match program.

Apart from vascular surgery, Shutze is proud to serve his church, Highland Park United Methodist Church. Within the SVS, among others he has chaired the Community Practice Committee and been a member of the Strategic Board of Directors.

“I have been blessed to find many pathways to serve my community and my specialty as a community-based vascular surgeon, and I hope that in some small way my efforts have made a positive contribution,” he said. “It’s been very rewarding to be a vascular surgeon in community practice.”