Looking forward – November 2014

David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS

The founders of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) established this organization with the goal of ensuring that surgeons had the proper education and training to provide high-quality care to their patients. To this day, Education remains one of the four Pillars of the College—along with Quality, Member Services, and Advocacy. To help surgeons make informed decisions about their investment in education and training, and to raise awareness about the exceptional lifelong learning opportunities that the ACS offers, we launched a new ACS Education and Training campaign during the Clinical Congress in October.

The time is ripe

In this era of evolving Maintenance of Certification (MOC) and licensure mandates, rapidly advancing surgical technology, and information overload, it is increasingly important that surgeons commit to lifelong learning. The ACS recognizes that surgeons in active practice have only so much time to devote to education and skills acquisition. And, although there are seemingly unlimited continuing medical education programs available at many institutions, online, and elsewhere, it can be challenging to find state-of-the-art, relevant, and inspiring education and training opportunities.

To keep pace with rapidly evolving science, technology, knowledge, and techniques over the course of a long career, surgeons need a trusted partner to teach them what they need to know in the way they prefer to learn. The ACS is well-positioned to be that principal source of knowledge and skills. We have more than a century of experience with testing and validating what works in surgical education and have access to top faculty and the latest technology.

Excellence in surgical care, including positive interactions with patients, effective teamwork, and exemplary leadership, are being built and reinforced through ACS Education and Training. The transformation of scientific and technical advances into surgical care is made possible through hands-on skills courses, and translation of outcomes data into improved quality of care is accelerated through innovative education. Finally, ACS Education and Training programs rekindle the excitement and joy of lifelong learning, resulting in greater professional expertise and confidence.

Worth noting:
Important educational opportunity in January

One upcoming educational program that may be of interest to many ACS Fellows is a one-and-a-half day conference on Patient-Reported Outcomes in Surgery (PROS). This course will take place January 29–30, 2015, at the ACS’ 20 F Street, NW, Conference Center in Washington, DC. Surgeons across all subspecialty areas are encouraged to attend.

Speakers will instruct participants on national and international best practices for patient-reported outcome measurement in clinical care and outcomes research. This meeting will engage surgeons, quality-of-life researchers, payors, regulators, and technology experts and will provide a unique opportunity for the establishment of cross-disciplinary, collaborative relationships.

The meeting is being sponsored by the Plastic Surgery Foundation (PSF)—the research arm of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)—and the International Society for Quality of Life Research with support from the ACS. The PSF received funding to convene the PROS Conference from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality grant program for large or recurring conferences. The ASPS designates this live activity for a maximum of 9.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits.

Registration and program information is available at www.thepsf.org/PROS. For details contact Andrea Pusic, MD, FACS, Larissa Temple, MD, FACS, or Katie Sommers, MPH.

Campaign specifics

The ACS Education and Training campaign is designed to help surgeons, patients, and other stakeholders better understand the College’s 100-plus-year commitment to providing the finest surgical education and training programs. It will follow a model similar to the one we have used in the Inspiring Quality initiative. Just as that effort successfully built awareness about the value of ACS Quality Programs and their utility in improving outcomes and reducing health care costs, this campaign will demonstrate how ACS Education and Training programs can guide surgeons throughout their careers—from residency to retirement. It will show how the College’s programs enable surgeons to develop technical and nontechnical skills through leading-edge approaches, such as the use of simulation.

The campaign’s messaging will focus on three key points:

  • ACS Education and Training programs are the cornerstones of excellence in surgical patient care.
  • ACS Education and Training programs transform possibilities into realities.
  • ACS Education and Training programs instill the joy of lifelong learning.

The overarching aim of the campaign is to support the needs of individual surgeons across a lifetime of practice and to highlight the critical importance of ACS Education and Training to accomplish the following:

  • Increase participation in our education programs and products
  • Build awareness of ACS’ leadership and innovation in education and training
  • Help surgeons make informed decisions about their investment in education and training
  • Promote surgical care of the highest quality and patient safety
  • Make it easier for surgeons to participate in the joy and rewards of lifelong learning

An animated text video that visually tells the story of ACS Education and Training debuted at the Clinical Congress. Over the coming months, Fellows can expect to receive more information about lifelong learning through ACS podcasts, videos, media stories, and other avenues. A variety of exciting programs will be highlighted to demonstrate the scope and impact of the exceptional ACS Education and Training programs that continue to promote excellence and expertise in surgical care.

I encourage each of you to take the time to stay abreast of the ACS Education and Training programs and to take full advantage of these time-tested opportunities. The reality is that surgeons no longer have the option to practice based solely on what they learned in medical school. This campaign will help surgeons embrace the joy of lifelong learning and direct them to the information and skills they need now to continue to achieve the best outcomes for their patients into the future.

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