Every other month this column provides information about select benefits of membership in the American College of Surgeons (ACS). This month’s column focuses on educational opportunities and features information about ACS scholarships and fellowships, as well as the MyCME program, which allows users to track continuing medical education (CME) in one location.
ACS scholarships and fellowships
The ACS has long provided scholarships, fellowships, and research awards to its resident and young surgeon members. Since the 1950s, the College has offered numerous programs for domestic (U.S. and Canadian) members, all of which provide various benefits. These educational awards have been funded through contributions from Fellows, ACS chapters, and corporate sponsors, as well as from grateful patients; some of the donated funds began as memorials to beloved Fellows. Regardless of the source, each program has provided great benefit to the awardees and, ultimately, to surgical patients.
The College and its Scholarships Committee currently provide more than $1.5 million annually in support of these programs. Scholarships, fellowships, and awards currently offered include Resident Research Scholarships, Faculty Research Fellowships, and the George H. A. Clowes, MD, FACS, Memorial Career Development Award. Several programs, including the Health Policy Scholarships, are conducted in cooperation with surgical societies, and the Triological Society, the Society for Vascular Surgery, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, and the National Institutes of Health supplement awards.
Other programs support specific recipient groups, such as the Nizar N. Oweida, MD, FACS, Scholarship, which assists a rural or small town surgeon who would like to attend the annual ACS Clinical Congress. Another example is the Claude H. Organ, Jr., MD, FACS, Traveling Fellowship, which supports the research of young ACS academics who are also members of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, the Association of Women Surgeons, and the Surgical Section of the National Medical Association. In addition, the College offers several scholarships-in-residence positions, largely run through the ACS Quality Programs, which include the opportunity to earn a master’s degree.
Since the 1960s, the College’s International Relations Committee has offered a series of travel/research awards. Most of these programs enable surgeons from countries other than the U.S. and Canada to attend the annual Clinical Congress and tour surgery centers that offer opportunities tailored to recipients’ professional interests. International scholars can participate in the College’s quality programs via the International ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Scholarships or the International Surgical Education Scholarships co-presented with the ACS Division of Education. Three traveling fellowships, offered in cooperation with the national surgical societies of Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), Germany, and Japan, also are available. Through these programs, exchange fellows are able to attend and participate in the annual meeting of their cohorts’ surgical societies. More than $200,000 is allocated to sponsoring these international programs.
View more information regarding the College’s scholarship, fellowship, and other educational award opportunities online.
The following opportunities have application deadlines between October and the end of 2015:
- Faculty Research Fellowships: November 2
- ANZ, Germany, and Japan Traveling Fellowships:
- Nizar N. Oweida, MD, FACS, Scholarship: December 15
Created by the Program for Validation and Verification of Surgical Knowledge and Skills, the MyCME program is an online portal designed to provide each ACS member with an individualized Web page to document CME Credit.
MyCME provides each College member with an ongoing listing of his or her CME Credits earned through ACS educational activities. The applicable CME Certificates are available for download as needed. These certificates reflect the CME Credit claimed at ACS activities over the last six years and help document the surgeon’s fulfillment of the 90 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ over a three-year cycle as required by the American Board of Surgery (ABS) for Maintenance of Certification (MOC).
Members also are able to enter CME Credit received from other organizations on the MyCME portal, and it offers members the option of sending their transcripts directly to the ABS as part of the board’s MOC requirement.
At least 60 of the 90 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 Credits required by the ABS for fulfillment of MOC Part 2 must include a self-assessment activity—a written question-and-answer exercise that assesses the surgeon’s understanding of the material presented in the CME activity. Most of the College’s live and Web-based CME programs offer Self-Assessment. Self-Assessment Credits that ACS members earn as part of their CME participation are included on the Certificates (and transcripts) available through MyCME.
How you can participate
You can access the MyCME page using your ACS Member ID at facs.org. A record of your credits claimed from attending ACS-provided CME activities will be displayed. Members also can add attendance at programs sponsored by other organizations and institutions to their MyCME page. Documentation of all CME Credits can be stored in one location, which makes it easier to obtain credentialing or recredentialing, renew your state license, or recertify with your board.
Benefits of MyCME participation include the following:
- Members can download and print CME Certificates at any time and be assured that there is a permanent electronic record for easy access. Certificates (and transcripts) include CME Credit claimed, Self-Assessment Credit earned, and specific content that may meet other regulatory body requirements.
- Transcripts are available for download and printing. This may be helpful for members who need to provide documentation of participation in CME activities that are specific to a specialty or hospital requirement.
- The MyCME page provides an overview and links to individual state boards outlining content- specific requirements. This information, together with individual transcripts, may be used to determine what might be missing. View the calendar link from an individual MyCME page to identify future activities and address any potential gaps.
- When it is time for submission of documentation of CME to the ABS, MyCME makes it easy with automatic electronic transfer functionality.
Why should you participate?
MyCME is an online record of credits earned by members attending CME events, which allows users to document their commitment to lifelong learning and ongoing quality improvement. The ACS Division of Education is committed to helping to ease the burden associated with organizing, tracking, and submitting CME Credit. This documentation, in the form of transcripts and certificates, supports credentialing of individuals and provides requisite documentation to help in the process of privileging within medical centers and health care institutions. Take advantage of this resource to manage your CME Credit at your convenience.