Each year, the Advocacy and Issues Committee of the Resident and Associate Society of the American College of Surgeons (RAS-ACS) hosts a symposium at the Clinical Congress featuring a debate on timely issues in surgical training or practice. The topics are chosen based on solicited input from residents, fellows, and attending surgeons from across the nation. As part of the process of selecting contestants for the debate, applicants submit an essay to compete for a place on the panel.
The theme of the 2014 RAS-ACS symposium competition is “The five-year general surgery residency: reform or revolution?” Participants debated whether the current education paradigm is, and will continue to be, sufficient to train knowledgeable and confident surgeons in the future, or if the system needs to be dramatically changed to fit the demand of the current surgical environment. The following are the first- and second-place essays submitted from both sides of the debate.