The American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair (ACWH) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Chicago, Illinois committed to advancing the field of wound care through education, research, and advocacy. The College fosters the training of medical professionals through the sharing of a physician-based, clinical fellowship curriculum developed in conjunction with the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System and allied healthcare colleges and programs. The ultimate goal of the organization is to designate wound care as a board-certified medical specialty.

Mission Statement

"To improve public health by leading the growth of a new integrated field of medicine and surgery dedicated to the practice of modern wound healing and tissue repair."

Vision Statement

"All patients with wounds, regardless of etiology or duration, will have access to the appropriate evidence-based care and treatment to optimize their outcomes across all clinical sites of care."


The incidence of non-healing cutaneous wounds is 5 to 7 million per year in the United States. It is estimated that this clinical volume results in over a 20 billion dollar cost to the healthcare system. Wound healing is a complex process that involves a coordinated integration of numerous clinical and biochemical pathways. The replacement of injured or damaged tissue can be compromised by multiple factors including but not limited to: obesity, diabetes, smoking, vascular disease, infection, renal failure, cancer, and malnutrition. A classic example of a non-healing wound is a diabetic foot ulceration. With decreased sensation and frequently concomitantperipheral vascular disease, chronic ulcers can easily form in this ever growing population. With an estimated 366 million diabetic patients by 2030, we can expect an increasing number of patients with chronic non-healing wounds in the future. With an aging society, it is also expected that there will be an increase in the number of surgical wounds, venous leg ulcerations, and traumatic wounds that will be at risk for non-healing. Further complicating the situation is the lack of formal education for physicians, nurses, therapists, and all ancillary health care providers on the science and treatment of non-healing wounds. A paper by Patel and Granick in the Annals of Plastic Surgery in 2007 reported that a total of only 9.2 hours of formal didactic training related to wound healing was found in the average four year medical school curriculum.

These factors all support the need to establish a formal wound care specialty. Although wound care has been practiced for hundreds of years, it has only been during the past 45 years that the age of modern wound care has flourished. British researcher George D. Winter's 1962 seminal paper in Nature on moist healing catalyzed a radical shift from the passive gauze therapy that was promoted at the time. However, the fear of promoting wound infections through the use of occlusive dressings delayed the emergence of commercially available wound products (dressings) until the late 1970s. Hydrocolloid dressings were released in 1982, and nurses became early adopters of the treatment. Physical therapists (PTs) provided a slightly different approach to wound healing through the use of energy-based modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, ultraviolet light, compression therapy, and manual lymphedema treatments. Virtually all wound care products and technologies lacked substantive evidence of efficacy from well-designed, carefully conducted randomized clinical trials, with many products developed under 510K regulatory status that allowed marketing without rigorous evidence or clinical trials. The first recombinant growth factor (Becaplermin) for chronic wounds along with bioengineered tissues (Apligraf, Dermagraft) brought biotechnology to the field of wound care and stimulated physician interest in the field. Modern wound care centers were established and provided a disease focused, central location for the diagnosis and management of complex wound care patients.

As the field of wound care matures, there is a critical need for rigorous training, research, evidence development, and advocacy to improve outcomes of patients with non-healing wounds. As mentioned, presently physicians receive only limited formal education concerning the diagnosis and treatment of wounds in either their pre or post graduate medical education. Many physicians, depending on residency training, will not receive any further information about wound care throughout their career. When a wound care center opens in a hospital, members of the existing medical staff are invited to participate and often receive less than one week of didactic training before working in the center. While this training is a considerable improvement in the current conditions, it is still considerably less rigorous than participating in a formal residency and fellowship-based medical education. The path to specialization will need to not only provide for formal fellowship training at the graduate medical education level of accredited university centers but will also need to address the needs of those physicians currently practicing in the field who could benefit from the didactic content and are mid-career and cannot take a year off to pursue formal training. In addition, education for patients must not be underestimated or left off the agenda. Not only are patient-centered outcomes finally achieving their place in guideline development, but the voice of the patient at all levels of the education, research, and advocacy process must be incorporated.

Early Work Towards Specialization

In 2004, the first physician-based, clinical fellowship in the United States was started at Advocate Christ Hospital, a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Illinois at Chicago. This 700-bed, level one trauma center provided both an inpatient and outpatient setting for wound care focused, medical education delivered through direct patient experience. The program was self-funded, the faculty unpaid, and although there was a formal didactic content, clinical rotations were inconsistent and a more formal infrastructure was needed. As a result of this initial program, the graduating fellow was hired by the program director and subsequently a more structured curriculum was developed. The program matured and the curriculum was continuously refined over the next several years; however, no additional fellows were enrolled in the program for several years. The initial fellow along with the program director were brought to the University of Illinois in 2008 to formally begin the program within the graduate medical education structure of the nation's largest university medical school, namely, the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Birth of a College

A group of key opinion leaders in wound healing from both clinical, research, and industry met in December 2009 to discuss the creation of a wound care specialty. Participants at that meeting included: William J. Ennis, DO, MBA, MMM, CPE; William Li, MD, The Angiogenesis Foundation; Dale Lupu, PhD, American Association Hospice and Palliative Medicine; Robert Kirsner, MD, PhD, University of Miami; Jeff Davidson, PhD, Vanderbilt University; Vickie Driver, DPM, MS, Boston University; Kelman Cohen, MD, Co-Founder Wound Healing Society; and William Marston, MD, University of North Carolina.

There was agreement that a subspecialty was needed and several overall guiding principles emerged. The new organization should serve as the credible physician voice for wound healing and tissue repair. The primary objective of the organization is to create a medical subspecialty in wound healing and tissue repair through (the creation of) creating fellowship programs, examinations, and certification processes.

The College will use the guidelines as listed by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to maximize acceptance and credibility. Through achieving this goal, the College will also 1) generate awareness of the problem of non-healing wounds and help foster research and advance the development of new technologies, 2) promote access to appropriate and therapies for all patients, and 3) assist in the development of health policy as it relates to the field. These goals and objective will be reached through the creation of an annual meeting membership for physicians, educational offerings, journals, involvement in health policy development, and the creation of multiple university-based wound care fellowship programs.

The University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System became the first academic sponsor for the fellowship concept and created a Section of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair within the Division of Vascular Surgery in January 2008. Dr. William Ennis was appointed Chief of the Section. The first fellow, Malgorzata Plummer, MD, was accepted in July 2008 and completed the program August 1, 2009. Dr. Plummer is currently Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System. A second fellow Igor Altman, DO, MBA has graduated from the program and is also now on faculty at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery. the third fellow Devn Frandsen DO completed his fellowship in 2014.

This is a 12-month rotating program, which allows the fellows to participate in the care of the patients with non-healing wounds of any etiology, anatomical location, or site of care across the continuum of care. Hospital-based wound care clinics, inpatient rounding a consultation, research, and subacute wound care are all included in the educational program for the wound care fellow.

The first annual meeting of the American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair was held at the University of Illinois on August 4-6, 2011 at the UIC Forum. Over 400 attendees participated in this inaugural meeting which was well received by the clinicians, researchers and industry participants. A fellowship planning group included attendees from the University of Illinois, University of North Carolina, Georgetown University, Boston University, University of Pittsburgh, Hackensack University, U.S. Army, Baylor College of Medicine, Washington University, Harvard University and Bispebjeg University Hospital (Denmark).

The second annual meeting took place at the Swissotel in Chicago, July 26-28, 2012.with over 350 attendees The College also hosted a Fellowship Curriculum meeting and a Patient-Centered Outcomes in Wound Healing Summit where a multidisciplinary group of clinicians, patients and researchers met to discuss how to better align and incorporate patients' goals into wound care. The White Paper that was generated from this meeting and is available for download on this website.

Our third annual meeting was at the Fairmont in Chicago, December 6-7, 2013. The winter setting was a big success.

The 4th annual meeting was held at the Hilton, Chicago December 4-6, 2014 with a pre-conference kickoff on stem cells and regenerative medicine. This program was sponsored by the University of Illinois Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Program headed by Amelia Bartholomew, MD, Professor of Surgery at UIC.

The 5th annual meeting was held December 3-5, 2015 at the Hilton Chicago. The 6th annual meeting was held December 1-3, 2016 at the same location.

The 7th meeting will take place October 5-6, 2018 at the Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile. It is expected to be the largest, most comprehensive meeting yet.

College Board Members

William J. Ennis, DO, MBA, MMM, CPE
President, American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair
Professor of Clinical Surgery
Catherine and Francis Burzik Professor and Chief of the Section of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair
University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System

After graduating, Phi Beta Kappa from the State University of New York at Stony Brook Dr. Ennis earned his medical degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. He has completed residencies and is board certified in General Surgery, Vascular Surgery as well as Family Medicine with a Certificate of added qualification in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine. He subsequently received an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago and a Master in Medical Management from the University of Southern California (USC). Dr. Ennis has been practicing wound care for 25 years and is currently the Catherine and Francis Burzik Professor of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair and Chief of the Section of Wound Healing Tissue Repair at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He is also founder and director of the first Wound Healing and Tissue Repair Fellowship in the United States, also at UIC. In addition, Dr. Ennis is a founding board member and President of the American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair, a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization that has a mission of bringing wound care to the level of a formal medical specialty. Dr. Ennis has published over 100 articles, abstracts and book chapters and has lectured through-out the world on wound care and vascular diseases.

Current research interests include microcirculation, healing outcomes, health economics, and regenerative tissue mechanisms. His outside interests include guitar, jazz music, basketball, triathlon racing, and reading. Dr. Ennis is married with 2 children.

Michael K. Lester

Mr. Lester is an accomplished healthcare executive whose professional experience includes 35 years in the multi-site healthcare services and pharmaceutical life sciences fields. As the chief executive officer of multiple companies, he successfully capitalized, assembled top-tier management teams and implemented strategic and tactical business plans creating long-term value for employees, customers and shareholders. Prior to founding LifeStance Health, a behavioral health company, Mr. Lester was the founder and CEO of Accelecare Wound Centers, a comprehensive wound care and disease management company. Prior to that, Mr. Lester was a Venture Partner at Bain Capital and SV Life Sciences; founder and CEO of Radiant Research, a comprehensive clinical research company providing Phase I-IV study conduct and drug development services to the biopharmaceutical industry; founder and CEO of ContinueCare Health Systems, a high-tech home and alternate site infusion therapy company; and founder and CEO of Preferred Hospital Pharmacies, a successful pharmacy management company.

Mr. Lester was formerly a board member and President of the Texas State Board of Pharmacy. He serves on The University of Texas College of Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Foundation Advisory Council and is a member of the board of directors of LifeStance Health, Inc., Ventec Life Systems, Inc. and is a senior advisor to Silversmith Capital Partners. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the University of Texas.

Catherine (Cathy) Burzik
Former President and CEO of KCI

Catherine (Cathy) Burzik is a seasoned senior executive in the healthcare industry. Cathy has successfully led major medical device, diagnostic, diagnostic imaging and life sciences businesses. Cathy was most recently a general partner at Targeted Technologies, an early stage venture capital firm focused on medical device, life sciences and biotech investments. Cathy is a member of the Board of Directors of Becton-Dickinson and Company (NYSE: BDX) and the Board of Directors of Haemonetics (NASDAQ: HAE). Cathy is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair. Cathy was formerly the President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Kinetic Concepts, Inc. (NYSE: KCI), a leading medical device company specializing in the fields of wound care and regenerative medicine. She has extensive public and not-for-profit Board experience. Cathy has held executive leadership positions at Johnson & Johnson, Applied Biosystems, Inc. and Eastman Kodak Company. Cathy and her husband, Frank, are avid competitive ballroom dancers. They are both from Western New York and currently reside in San Antonio and New York City.

Geoffrey C. Gurtner, MD, FACS
Professor and Associate Chairman of Surgery
Stanford University School of Medicine

Dr. Geoffrey C. Gurtner is the Johnson and Johnson Professor of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering (by courtesy) at Stanford University. Clinically, Dr. Gurtner is the Director of the Stanford Wound Center and the Stanford Program in Applied Regenerative Medicine (SARM). He is the author of over 280 peer-reviewed publications and is an Editor for two major textbooks in the field: Grabb & Smith's Plastic Surgery and Plastic Surgery. Dr. Gurtner was awarded the James Barrett Brown Award in both 2009 and 2010 and has been named "researcher of the year" by the ASPS, AAPS, and numerous other professional organizations.

Dr. Gurtner runs an NIH and DoD funded laboratory examining how physical stimuli (mechanical and chemical) alter the human response to injury. This has led to the development of new technologies for which Dr. Gurtner has received 20 issued patents and 60 patent applications. Dr. Gurtner has founded several venture-backed start-up companies, including Neodyne Biosciences (www.neodynebio.com) and Arresto Biosciences, acquired by Gilead (NASDAQ:GILD) in 2011.

Thomas F. O'Donnell, Jr., MD, FACS
Benjamin Andrews Emeritus Professor of Surgery
Tufts University School of Medicine
Boston, MA

Thomas F. O'Donnell, Jr., MD is the Senior Vascular Surgeon at Tufts Medical Center and the Benjamin Andrews Emeritus Professor and Chair of Surgery at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM). A graduate of Harvard College, where he concentrated in the Classics, he is a 1967 Cum Laude graduate of TUSM. At TUSM he was elected to AOA and served as class president and president of the student council. While serving as Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Tufts Medical Center and TUSM, he was asked by the trustees of Tufts Medical Center to serve as the CEO and President of that institution, a position he held for nearly a decade through 2004. He then returned to the full-time practice of vascular surgery and clinical research. Dr. O'Donnell completed his residency on the Harvard 5th Surgical Service at Boston City Hospital, which was interrupted by two years of service with the US Navy (1969-1971) and assigned to the US Marine Corps. His self-initiated research on heat-stress injuries among young Marines recruits at Parris Island during training exercises was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA and led to changes in the way Marine recruits were trained. For this work he received the U.S. Navy Surgeon General's Certificate of Merit.

His current particular areas of research have been chronic venous insufficiency and lymphedema, which were stimulated by his year of postgraduate work at St. Thomas's Hospital in London during 1974-1975 with Professors John Kinmonth and Sir Norman Browse. As Chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery and Director of the Vascular Fellowship from 1983-1993 at Tufts Medical Center, he has trained a long list of vascular fellows, many of whom hold leadership positions in academic surgery. This June he will complete his 41st year on the faculty of TUSM, where he has taught generations of medical students and has served on various medical school committees as well as the Board of Overseers of TUSM and the Sackler School from 2003-2007.

Over the last decade he has authored a number of systematic reviews and meta-analyses with his colleagues at Tufts Center for Evidence-Based Research, Joseph Lau and Ethan Balk, which also included three AHRQ Technology Assessments for CMS. He presented one of these systematic reviews, "Usual care in the management of chronic wounds: A review of the recent literature," at the April 2005 Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC) meeting on wound care. He recently co-edited The Clinical practice guidelines of the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) and the American Venous Forum (AVF): Management of venous leg ulcers. The majority of his 182 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 67 Book chapters, and 15 videos/ films on techniques deal with vascular disease. He is a regular lecturer for the educational programs at national and regional vascular society meetings and named lectureships. He served as a clinical coordinator for a series of stem cell trials for patients with non-reconstructible vascular disease and advanced ischemia. Last July he was one of the presenters at the MEDCAC panel on lower extremity chronic venous disease. With a 40+ year interest in wounds, particularly venous ulcers, he has been a staff member of the Tufts Center for Wound Healing for over a decade. O'Donnell has served as the President of the Society for Vascular Surgery, the American Venous Forum, the New England Society for Vascular Surgery, the Eastern Vascular Society, and the Boston Surgical Society. He currently is on the editorial boards of: The Journal of Vascular Surgery, Phlebology and WOUNDS.

Martin Borhani, MD, FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery
Surgery Residency Program Director
Theodore and Joanna Drugas Endowed Chair in Vascular Surgery
Chief, Division of Vascular Surgery
University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System

As of January 2007, Martin Borhani, MD joined the University of Illinois Faculty as Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery and Chief, Division of Vascular Surgery. He completed his General Surgery residency at UIC in 1999, after which he completed his Vascular Surgical Fellowship training at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. Dr. Borhani is board certified in General Surgery and Vascular Surgery and has extensive experience in all aspects of vascular and endovascular interventions.

Dr. Borhani has developed a beneficial and multidisciplinary relationship with the Division of Interventional Radiology, Division of Plastic Surgery and manages the Noninvasive Vascular Laboratory at the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago. Dr. Borhani has successfully expanded the Division of Vascular Surgery to now include the Section of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair led by William J. Ennis, DO, MBA, MMM, CPE. Dr. Ennis is renowned for his work in clinical wound care and has extensive research experience ranging from basic science research to multicenter clinical trials. This partnership provides comprehensive management of acute and chronic wounds.

In December 2010, Dr. Borhani became the recipient of the Theodore and Joanna Drugas Endowed Chair in Vascular Surgery at the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago. This Endowed Chair was established thanks to the generosity of Theodore and Joanna Drugas. Dr. Borhani is involved in the diagnosis, evaluation and management of all types of arterial, venous and lymphatic disease exclusive of that affecting the heart and intracranial vessels. His main goal is to continue to provide state of the art treatment in order to give all patients with vascular disease, the highest quality of life possible. Dr. Borhani maintains privileges at 4 hospitals in the Chicago Metropolitan area, creating available, accessible care for patients at multiple sites.

William W. Li, MD
President, The Angiogenesis Foundation
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Dartmouth Geisel Medical School
Cambridge, MA

Dr. William W. Li is Chief Executive Officer, President, and Medical Director of the Angiogenesis Foundation, a nonprofit organization he co-founded in 1994 to re-conceptualize health and fighting disease through angiogenesis, the process used by the body to grow and maintain blood vessels. Over two decades, Dr. Li's leadership in the field of angiogenesis and its clinical translation has brought to the world 30 paradigm-shifting treatments for wound healing, oncology, and ophthalmology. His vision, expertise, and global multidisciplinary networks are focused on conquering disease, and improving quality of life and the human condition through innovations in technologies and lifestyle.

Dr. Li's work engages the National Institutes of Health, Capitol Hill, the Vatican, World Economic Forum, Fortune 100 companies, and leading universities and medical institutions across North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Dr. Li's work has impacted more than 50 million people worldwide, and he is a TED Conference speaker.

Dr. Li received his undergraduate degree with honors from Harvard College, his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and his clinical training in Internal Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. He has authored over 100 peer-reviewed scientific and clinical articles, book chapters, and abstracts, including publications in leading journals such as Science, Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, and Nature Reviews. Dr. Li has held faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School, Tufts University, and Dartmouth Medical School. He holds an appointment as a member of the Medical Coverage and Analysis Committee of the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services. Dr. Li serves on the board of directors of the Angiogenesis Foundation, the American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair, and Wound Reach Foundation, as well as public and private companies focused on health and life sciences innovation.

Elof Eriksson, MD, PhD

Born in Sweden, where he received an MD in 1968 and a PhD in Physiology in 1972, both from the University of Göteborg, he moved to the US for surgical training in 1973. His general surgery training was completed at the University of Chicago and his plastic surgery training at the Medical College of Virginia. Dr. Eriksson then returned to the University of Göteborg and worked as a junior attending in plastic surgery for three years. In 1982, he moved to Southern Illinois University in Springfield, Illinois and became Director of the Burn Center. In 1986, he was recruited to the position as Chief of Plastic Surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Children's Hospital and was appointed professor at Harvard Medical School. In 1996, Dr. Eriksson became the first Joseph E. Murray Professor of Plastic Surgery at Harvard Medical School. In 2016, he stepped down as Chief and became Professor Emeritus.

During his tenure at the Brigham (Children's Plastic Surgery became a freestanding department in 2006), the Division of Plastic Surgery grew from one to nineteen faculty members. Several new programs were established, such as the Wound Care Center, the Comprehensive Breast Reconstruction Program, the Microsurgery Reconstruction Program and the Vascularized Composite Allo-transplantation Program. Dr. Eriksson was also the main driving force behind the creation of the combined Harvard Plastic Surgery Residency Program.

Dr. Eriksson's research focus is Wound Healing using methodology ranging from Gene Transfer to Modifying the Wound Microenvironment. His early research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and currently he has over $6.5M in active funding from the Department of Defense. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed publications and is the first author on 37 patents. He has received a number of awards for his research and teaching contributions and currently serves as the President of the Wound Healing Society.

Executive Summary

The following is the Executive Summary from the whitepaper entitled "Patient-Centered Outcomes in Wound Care."

The approach to treating a chronic or delayed healing wound has evolved greatly over the past 15 years and is best carried out by multidisciplinary teams centered on the patient's specific situation and needs.

Patients with chronic wounds do not feel engaged in the decisions made regarding their care. As a result, patient concerns about the care of their wounds are often not aligned with the concerns of their health care providers.

Patients, caregivers, and clinicians alike strongly believe that wound healing should be managed by teams of health care providers who would work together at wound care clinics to provide high quality care (centers of excellence). The staff at these wound care clinics would be thoroughly versed in both the medical and non-medical aspects of chronic wounds.

Limited research funding on wound care and wound healing translates to a poor understanding of disease pathology and a limited ability to predict which patients respond or do not respond to different treatment modalities, detracting from the quality of patient care.

All clinical studies on wound healing technologies, methods, and products, regardless of the funding source, should include validated patient-centered outcome measures.

Criteria must be identified and used as a basis for assessing wound care centers and the credentials of physicians who work as specialists in wound healing and as deliverers of evidence-based, high-quality wound care.

Advocacy / Government Relations

As the healthcare delivery system in the United States continues to evolve, the College will take an active role in the following areas:

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