Board of Governors pillars at work: An update

The Governors act as liaisons between the Board of Regents and the Fellows and serve as a clearinghouse for the Regents on general issues. At present, 274 individuals serve on the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Board of Governors (B/G), including 147 Governors-at-Large, representing each U.S. state and Canadian province; 83 specialty Governors, representing surgical associations and societies; and 44 international Governors. These numbers include the Governor from the newest chapter, Trinidad and Tobago. Three new specialty society Governors will take office at Clinical Congress 2016 from the following organizations: the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons, the International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery, and the Society of Black Academic Surgeons.

The B/G Executive Committee meets regularly via conference call. This past June, the Executive Committee held the second annual strategic planning retreat in Chicago, IL, during which committee members evaluated B/G future plans. The Executive Committee also hosted three New Governor Orientations: one webinar in December, one in January, and a face-to-face meeting at the April Leadership Summit in Washington, DC.

Governors’ responsibilities include the following:

  • Attend meetings and events
    • Attend the spring Leadership Summit (spring meeting attendance is not required for international Governors, although they are welcome)
    • Participate in B/G meetings, Convocation, and Annual Business Meeting of Members at the Clinical Congress
    • Attend chapter or specialty society meetings
  • Communicate across all strata of the College
    • Provide bidirectional communication between the B/G and constituents
    • Provide reports to chapter or specialty society and B/G Executive and Communications Committees
    • Welcome and engage new Initiates/Fellows from the Governor’s area/organization into the ACS
    • Promote ACS Fellowship in state and specialty societies
  • Participate in B/G activities
    • Actively participate in a minimum of one B/G Workgroup
    • Complete Annual Survey
    • Participate in local Committee on Applicants meetings and interviews
    • Be an active participant in the Board of Governors online community site

Pillar updates

Following is an update on the activities of the B/G Pillars and their respective workgroups.

The Governors are aligned along five pillars according to the mission of the ACS.

Advocacy and Health Policy Pillar

Susan K. Mosier, MD, FACS, Pillar Lead

The Advocacy and Health Policy Pillar consists of two workgroups and has representation on several committees. Both workgroups continue to align closely with the Division of Advocacy and Health Policy to better coordinate efforts.

Coalition Workgroup

Shelly D. Timmons, MD, FACS, Chair (2015–2017)
Nicole S. Gibran, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair (2015–2016)

The members of the Coalition Workgroup contributed to the final ACS statement on concurrent surgery, which was added to the ACS Statements on Principles. The group has had several conference calls to identify issues for in-depth analysis, such as merit-based incentive programs and surgical training and credentialing over the course of a career.

Health Policy and Advocacy Workgroup

Scot B. Glasberg, MD, FACS, Chair (2015−2016)
Amalia Cochran, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair (2015−2017)

The members of the Health Policy and Advocacy Workgroup have gone through a similar process and have identified the following issues: (1) workforce shortage of general surgeons; (2) bills defining policy and regulations for out-of-network plans; (3) the changing practice environment, with surgeons moving from private practice to hospital employment; and (4) videotaping of surgical procedures.

  • Board of Governors Committee seats:
    • Health Policy and Advocacy Group: William S. Richardson, MD, FACS (2015–2016)
    • Health Policy Advisory Council: Dr. Mosier (2015–2017)
    • Legislative Committee: James Goldszer, MD, FACS (2013–2016)

Communication Pillar

James W. Fleshman, Jr., MD, FACS, FASCRS, Pillar Lead

The Communication Pillar has advanced an important initiative in 2015–2016: the B/G newsletter. The Cutting Edge: News and Notes from the Board of Governors is now in its seventh edition. Past editions of the newsletter can be found on the B/G Publications and Resources page on the ACS website.

Newsletter Workgroup

Michael Sarap, MD, FACS, Chair (2013–2016)
Russell J. Nauta, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair (2014–2016)

The members of the Newsletter Workgroup have produced The Cutting Edge, which will become a fully electronic, mobile-friendly newsletter by fall 2016 (see Figure 1). Newsletter stories focus on surgical history, College events and products, human interest subjects, Governor profiles, and coding tips.

Figure 1. The Cutting Edge newsletter

Figure 1. The Cutting Edge newsletter

Survey Workgroup

Mark W. Puls, MD, FACS, Chair (2013–2016)
David J. Welsh, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair (2014–2016)

The members of the Survey Workgroup have completed the 2016 Board of Governors annual survey. Topics discussed in this survey include chapter issues/concerns, acute care general surgery, gun violence, and ACS advocacy.

New this year is a separate survey for the International Governors, the purpose of which is to identify the issues facing surgeons outside the U.S. and Canada.

Results of both surveys are expected to be published on the B/G Resources Web page in late 2016.

  • Representative to ACS website—Bryan K. Richmond, MD, MBA, FACS
  • Representatives to ACS Bulletin and NewsScope—G. Thomas Shires, MD, FACS, and Peter A. Andreone, MD, FACS

Education Pillar

Daniel L. Dent, MD, FACS, Pillar Lead

As a result of the work of the Education Pillar, the ACS has advanced the following initiatives in 2015–2016:

  • Made improvements to the ACS MyCME Web page
  • Developed new patient education materials that are easier to access and order for chapter and individual use
  • Posted four new educational modules revolving around different issues in surgical training on the B/G Resources page

Continuing Education Workgroup

William S. Richardson, MD, FACS, Chair (2015–2016)
Randy J. Woods, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair (2015–2016)

The members of the Continuing Education Workgroup have pursued efforts with the Division of Education to enhance the MyCME page of the ACS website. The goal is to make the MyCME page easier to navigate. Workgroup members also are exploring opportunities to use the ACS Communities and have identified ways to make the College’s educational offerings, such as past Clinical Congress webcasts, easier to search and access.

Patient Education Workgroup

Terry Sarantou, MD, FACS, Chair (2014–2016)
Dennis H. Kraus, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair (2015–2016)

The Patient Education Workgroup is analyzing last year’s survey results for publication in ACS NewsScope and for posting on ACS Communities. This workgroup also is developing a presentation and toolkit for chapters on available patient education materials. The presentation and instructions to order the kit will be available on a special Patient Resource page of the ACS website. The workgroup anticipates the College will soon be able to offer YouTube videos of various patient education resources.

Members of this workgroup are planning to participate in the Chapter Speed Networking Session at the Clinical Congress.

Surgical Training Workgroup

Fred A. Luchette, MD, FACS, Chair (2013–2016)
David H. Berger, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair (2015–2017)

The members of the Surgical Training Workgroup are working toward completion of two products:

  • A standardized letter of recommendation for applicants to surgery training programs, which has been shared with the leadership of the Association of Program Directors in Surgery and the Association for Surgical Education. Both societies have returned modest changes, which have been incorporated into a final draft. At press time, the letter was expected to be available for Program Directors and Faculty as early as summer 2016.
  • Four online education modules have been developed to assist educators with faculty development: (1) Teaching Millennials, (2) Giving Constructive Feedback, (3) Intraoperative Teaching, and (4) Clinical Teaching: The Teachable Moment. These modules are available under the B/G resource page.
  • Board of Governors Committee seats:
    • Committee on Resident Education—Antonio M. Pavia, MD, FACS (2013–2016)
    • Committee on Medical Student Education—Mary L. Brandt, MD, FACS (2015–2016)
    • Committee on Patient Education—Dennis H. Kraus, MD, FACS (2013–2016)
    • Committee on Continuous Professional Development—Charles Bridges, MD, FACS (2013–2017)
    • Clinical Congress Program Committee—Daniel L. Dent, MD, FACS (2013–2016), and David A. Spain, MD, FACS (2013−2016)
    • Committee on Emerging Surgical Technology and Education—Joann Lohr, MD, FACS (2013–2017)

Member Services Pillar

Francis D. Ferdinand, MD, FACS, Pillar Lead

In the last year, the Member Services Pillar has helped to strengthen chapters by updating resources and creating a chapter performance metric. The pillar also conducted extensive outreach for this year’s Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards.

Chapter Activities Domestic Workgroup

Rob Todd, MD, FACS, FCCM, Chair (2014–2016)
Frank T. Padberg, Jr., MD, FACS, Vice-Chair (2014–2016)

The members of the Chapter Activities Domestic Workgroup started two initiatives: the Resident and Associate Society of the ACS (RAS-ACS) Representative Initiative and the Chapter Dashboard Initiative. The goal of the former is to have a RAS-ACS representative on every domestic chapter council to facilitate the development of ideas for programs, projects, and activities that are attractive to residents and surgeons who have recently entered practice. The goal of the latter is to design a visual representation of the health of the chapter. The dashboard will include such indicators of chapter viability as finances, membership, advocacy, and website.

In addition, the workgroup has accomplished the following:

  • The Chapter Guidebook has been updated and methods for distribution to specific audiences are being investigated.
  • A revised Annual Report form is in the works and will be used as a key source of chapter metrics.
  • This workgroup has suggested several questions for this year’s B/G Annual Survey on the topic of chapters.

Chapter Activities International Workgroup

Jamal Hoballah, MD, FACS, Chair (2015–2016)
(Jorge) Esteban Foianini, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair (2015–2016)

The Chapter Activities International Workgroup has established communities for four international regions as a first step toward creating individual International Chapter Communities. Short videos on the value of being an International Fellow have been created, and international chapters may use them as tools for recruiting new Fellows. Also of interest, the European chapters sponsored a regional meeting in June 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards Workgroup

Frank W. Sellke, MD, FACS, Chair (2015–2017)
Maureen A. Killackey, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair (2015–2016)

The members of the Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards Workgroup tested a new nomination site in December 2015 and opened it to traffic in January 2016. Outreach through the ACS Communities, the Bulletin, military Governors, and Advisory Councils was aimed at increasing awareness of these awards, and resulted in the receipt of a historically high number of nominations (39). The workgroup has selected five recipients to be honored at the B/G’s dinner at Clinical Congress 2016.

  • Board of Governors Committee seats:
    • ACS Committee on Diversity Issues—Kenneth B. Simon, MD, FACS (2015–2018)
    • ACS Women in Surgery Committee—Annesley W. Copeland, MD, FACS (2012–2018)
    • Young Fellows Association (YFA)—Shoaib I. Sheikh, MB, BS, FACS (2013–2016)
    • Resident/Associate Society—Glen A. Franklin, MD, FACS (2013–2018)
    • International Relations Committee—Katsuhiko Yanaga, MD, PhD, FACS (2015–2016)

Quality, Research, and Optimal Patient Care Pillar

Diana L. Farmer, MD, FACS, Pillar Lead

The Quality Pillar has advanced the following initiatives in 2015–2016:

  • Produced and updated practice guidelines that are provided as resources to Fellows
  • Addressed the topic of burnout in surgeons
  • Produced several panels on timely topics for this year’s Clinical Congress, including Strategies for the Resident and Surgeon Facing Burnout, American College of Surgeons and the Electronic Health Record, and Onboarding for Surgeons: Preparation for Practice Life

Best Practices Workgroup

Joseph P. Minei, MD, FACS, Chair (2013–2016)
Brian S. Harbrecht, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair (2013–2016)

  • Guidelines have been completed on postoperative ileus, which will be published in a pamphlet format
  • Workgroup members are currently updating the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program surgical site infection prevention guidelines and are developing guidelines on management of postoperative fever

Physician Competency and Health Workgroup

David J. Welsh, MD, FACS, Chair (2015−2016)
Reid Adams, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair (2015−2017)

This workgroup is considering future initiatives centered on the following topics: the impaired surgeon; the disruptive surgeon; healthy lifestyles; environmental hazards and the operating room, including ergonomics, radiation, and blood-borne infections; crisis hotline for surgeons; and coaching. Three subcommittees are exploring the following issues: ergonomics, wellness, and the disruptive surgeon. The workgroup also is considering collaboration with the ACS Advisory Council for Rural Surgery and others to address the issues of suicide and wellness. A comprehensive, continually updated Web page listing wellness and burnout resources by state is planned for the ACS website.

Surgical Care Delivery Workgroup

Mika N. Sinanan, MD, PhD, FACS, Chair (2015–2017)
Kimberly A. Davis, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair (2015–2016)

The Surgical Care Delivery Workgroup comprises the following four subcommittees that are engaged in the following activities:

  • The Surgeon Workforce Subcommittee has developed the Onboarding Checklist for Surgeons that was published in the July Bulletin and posted as a resource on the B/G and YFA Web pages. A Clinical Congress Town Hall session, Onboarding for Surgeons: Preparation for Practice Life, also is being planned.
  • The Patient Access to Surgical Care Subcommittee has been reviewing and summarizing recent surveys published in ACS NewsScope and posted on ACS Communities on the topic. They also plan to recap the results of past surveys for presentation at a Clinical Congress Panel Session, Universal Access to Surgery: The Good, Bad, and Ugly.
  • The Electronic Health Record (EHR) Subcommittee has been in preliminary discussions with vendors regarding an EHR solution for U.S. Fellows who are concerned about meaningful use, disruption of physician workflow, and the ability to extract relevant quality data. They are proposing a Clinical Congress session, Transparency of EMR (electronic medical record): Pros and Cons, in collaboration with the ACS EMR Committee.
  • The Ambulatory Surgery Subcommittee is exploring various topics to focus future efforts.
  • Board of Governors Committee seats:
    • Committee on Perioperative Care—Mika N. Sinanan, MD, FACS (2013–2016)
    • Committee on Cancer—Helen A. Pass, MD, FACS (2014–2016)
    • Committee on Trauma—Christine S. Cocanour, MD, FACS (2015–2018)

The Committee to Study the Fiscal Affairs of the College, chaired by Steven C. Stain, MD, FACS, B/G Secretary, continues to review and monitor the fiscal health of the College.

Go to the Board of Governors homepage on the ACS website for a rotating series that highlights several Governors, including their roles and projects, as well as the personal satisfaction that comes from serving in this capacity.

We hope this update on the Board of Governors structure and activities is useful and welcome your comments at

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