The FWC Honors AAPI Heritage Month by Celebrating 2024 Farr Nezhat Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Dennis Chi, MD, FACOG, FACS 

Dennis Chi, MD, FACOG, FACS

Distinguished gynecologic oncologist Dennis Chi, MD, FACOG, FACS, was awarded the prestigious Farr Nezhat Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2024 SGO Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer. This accolade is a testament to his unwavering commitment to the field of gynecologic oncology. In a recent interview, he graciously shared his thoughts on this honor, his impactful career, and his vision for the future of the field. 

Dr. Chi fully embodies the 2024 theme for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month “Advancing Leaders Through Innovation,” making contributions such as his pioneering work in demonstrating the safety and efficacy of incorporating upper abdominal surgical procedures for patients with advanced ovarian cancer. “For me, when a person is trying to create innovation and be a leader, there always needs to be a healthy balance of passionately advocating for improvement, while simultaneously showing full respect for other colleagues,” he notes. Thoughtful contributions and healthy respect for peers in the field fosters an environment that can only yield improved outcomes for patients. 

Receiving the Farr Nezhat, MD, FACOG, FACS Lifetime Achievement Award in March, Dr. Chi was reminded that long hours spent in the hospital and conducting research have left a lasting impact on his brave patients and the field of gynecologic oncology. “This honor is something I will always cherish, because it suggests that the hard work and sacrifices I have made as a physician have not gone unnoticed,” he reflects. “On both a personal and professional level, I think everyone has moments of self-doubt; I certainly have, as medicine can be such a grueling field at times.” Ultimately, he hopes that his presence in the field and receiving this award demonstrates to rising Asian American and Pacific Islander talents that they, too, can make an impact on the future of gynecologic oncology. 

Dedicating almost three decades to his institution, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Chi now emphasizes the critical role of mentorship in nurturing future leaders. Advising and mentoring aspiring gynecologic oncologists nationally and internationally, he leads by example and aims to be a role model through his dedication to the field, compassion towards patients, and advocacy for innovation. 

For Dr. Chi, inspiring successors in the field looks like a strong sense of community. “I feel that my cultural background has shaped my belief that to be a true leader, one not only must lead by example, but also should be open and approachable to create a nurturing environment for mentees and junior personnel.” He encourages aspiring gynecologic oncologists to excel in clinical practice and publish in the area they want to make a difference. “You may be the best surgeon doing the most amazing procedures with terrific outcomes, but if you don’t publish your results, others will not be able to learn and derive benefit from what you do as easily,” he shares.  

Though Dr. Chi has garnered accolades for his holistic contributions to gynecologic oncology, he also notes that it is okay to simply focus on patient care without necessarily making a difference in the field as a whole. “My mother was an ob/gyn doctor for fifty years, delivered thousands of babies, and gave great patient care,” he says. “She made a difference for her patients but not necessarily for the field at large, and she still had a wonderful, fulfilling career that I admire.” 

We congratulate Dr. Chi on receiving this esteemed Society of Gynecologic Oncology award and are eternally grateful for the profound impact he has made in gynecologic oncology.