Board of Governors pillars at work: An update

The Governors are the eyes and ears of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), serving a critical role as liaisons between the Board of Regents (B/R) and the Fellows. It has been a challenging year and effective communication remains one of our strongest goals. Throughout various Board of Governors’ (B/G) activities and events, Governors bring forth the voices and views of their surgical colleagues and develop resources to support Fellows. At present, 289 individuals serve on the ACS B/G, including 158 Governors at large, representing each U.S. state and Canadian province and territory; 86 specialty Governors, representing surgical associations and societies; and 45 international Governors.

Executive Committee

The B/G Executive Committee meets monthly via conference call. In June, the Executive Committee met for an annual strategic planning retreat in Chicago, IL, during which committee members evaluated the work of the pillars and workgroups, developed future plans for the B/G, and finalized preparations for the Annual Business Meeting at Clinical Congress 2018.

This year’s Annual Business Meeting will review the past year’s B/G workgroup and pillar accomplishments, as well as highlight the results of the 2018 B/G Annual Survey. During the Joint Session with the B/R, attendees will engage in an interactive session on The Value of Fellowship: Becoming a Brand Ambassador/Enabling Communication, which will be led by the B/G Member Services Pillar Lead, Terry L. Buchmiller, MD, FACS. Participants will learn new strategies to enhance communication within chapters and specialty societies and locate and evaluate resources on the College website to identify opportunities for resource development. David J. Welsh, MD, FACS, B/G Communications Pillar Lead, will moderate the How Best to Communicate interactive session to further emphasize the importance of communication in the role of a Governor. During the ACS Health Policy Forum, Christian Shalgian, Director, ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy (DAHP), will provide an overview of health policy concerns and issues and engage participants via interactive polling. New this year will be a breakout session for International Governors that will run concurrent to the Health Policy Forum.

The Executive Committee also hosted two New Governors Orientations in January 2018 and a face-to-face meeting at the 2018 ACS Leadership & Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC. An additional webinar was offered for all Governors in advance of the Summit to update them on the College’s legislative and regulatory priorities.

Governors’ responsibilities

Governors’ responsibilities include the following:

  • Attend meetings and events:
    • Domestic Governors are expected to attend the spring Leadership & Advocacy Summit (International Governors also are welcome)
    • Participate in B/G meetings, the Convocation, and the Annual Meeting of Members at 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 their chapter or specialty society
    • Welcome new Initiates/Fellows from the Governor’s area/society into the ACS
    • Promote ACS Fellowship in state and specialty societies
  • Participate in B/G activities:
    • Actively participate in at least one B/G Workgroup
    • Complete the Annual Survey
    • Participate in local Committee on Applicants meetings and interviews
    • Be an active participant in the Board of Governors online Community

Pillar updates

Following is an update on the activities of the B/G Pillars and their respective workgroups. The Governors’ contributions to these workgroups result in the development of resources for the Fellows.

Advocacy and Health Policy Pillar

Nicole S. Gibran, MD, FACS, Pillar Lead

The Advocacy Pillar continues to focus on myriad health care policy and advocacy issues at the local, state, and national level. The two workgroups work to align closely with the DAHP to facilitate communication and coordinate efforts.

Health Policy and Advocacy Workgroup

Scot B. Glasberg, MD, FACS, Chair
Amalia L. Cochran, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

This workgroup seeks to advance issues that ACS members have at the state or specialty society level by maximizing the relationship with College leadership in response to these regulatory and legislative initiatives. Another important role of the workgroup is collaborating with ACS leadership and Regents to ensure that Fellows’ perspectives are used to formulate College policies and positions.

This year’s primary focus has been on telemedicine in collaboration with other B/G workgroups and the Advisory Council for Rural Surgery to develop talking points and a white paper, as well as several session proposals for Clinical Congress 2019.

Grassroots Advocacy Engagement Workgroup

Martin A. Schreiber, MD, FACS, Chair
Patricia M. Byers, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The purpose of the Grassroots Advocacy Engagement Workgroup is to enhance bidirectional communication between the ACS leadership and Fellows regarding important legislative and regulatory issues that affect surgical patients, surgeons and their practices, and society.

The workgroup has established a B/G e-mail tree to personalize communication from the DAHP to the Governors, especially for urgent and pressing issues, to improve expeditious contact with members of Congress. In addition, the workgroup is developing toolkits and white papers focused on the College’s top health policy issues for 2018. Collaborative efforts with the Young Fellows Association (YFA) focus on the development of a Clinical Congress 2019 session proposal on surgical autonomy in relationship to reducing administrative burdens. Governors serve on the following health policy and advocacy-related ACS committees:

  • ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC (ACS Professional Association Political Action Committee)—Mika N. Sinanan, MD, FACS
  • General Surgery Coding and Reimbursement Committee — Chris K. Senkowski, MD, FACS
  • Health Policy and Advocacy Group—Nicole S. Gibran, MD, FACS
  • Health Policy Advisory Council—Scot B. Glasberg, MD, FACS
  • Legislative Committee—James F. Goldszer, MD, FACS

Visit the ACS website for more information about these ACS initiatives and to learn how to get involved.

Communications Pillar

David J. Welsh, MD, FACS, Pillar Lead  

The Communications Pillar continues to focus on the bidirectional communication of the ACS, from the Fellows through the B/G to the Regents and likewise from the Regents through the B/G to the Fellows. This mission is accomplished via the Newsletter and Survey Workgroups.

Newsletter Workgroup

Russell J. Nauta, MD, FACS, Chair
Dhiresh Rohan Jeyarajah, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The Newsletter Workgroup produces The Cutting Edge: News and Notes from the Board of Governors, the biannual, fully electronic, mobile-friendly newsletter of the B/G. Newsletter stories range from College business to human interest stories. This year, the workgroup developed and implemented a plan to more effectively communicate with Governors, Regents, and Fellows to promote the important activities of the B/G. As part of this plan, workgroup members increased the readership of The Cutting Edge by posting feature articles in the B/R and B/G (BoR/BoG) ACS Community. Additional efforts include BoR/BoG ACS Community posts by B/G Workgroup Chairs and Vice-Chairs on their respective projects and activities. These posts help foster dialogue and discussion of important topics and activities. Past issues of The Cutting Edge are available on the ACS website.

Survey Workgroup

Juan Paramo, MD, FACS, Chair
Peter A. Andreone, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The Survey Workgroup published the results of the 2017 B/G Annual Survey in several College formats over the last year, including two articles in the Bulletin. The results of the 2018 survey are being analyzed. In addition to routine demographic data points, survey topics included gender inequality and harassment, burnout, disruptive physicians, and impaired physicians. The workgroup also submitted a Clinical Congress 2019 proposal on the data from the 2018 Governors Survey related to gender inequality.

  • ACS Bulletin and NewsScope Representative—George Shires, MD, FACS
  • ACS Communities Representative—David Butsch, MD, FACS
  • ACS Website Representative—Bryan Richmond, MD, MBA, FACS

Education Pillar

David A. Spain, MD, FACS, Pillar Lead

As the result of the work of the Governors on the Education Pillar Workgroups, the ACS has advanced a number of initiatives this past year.

Continuing Education Workgroup

William S. Richardson, MD, FACS, Chair
Randy J. Woods, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The members of the Continuing Education Workgroup have continued to collaborate with the Division of Education to provide guidance in development of the Learning Content Management System that will help Fellows navigate the numerous educational offerings of the ACS as they work to maintain state licensure and specialty certification. The workgroup also submitted session proposals for Clinical Congress 2019 addressing intraoperative teaching skills, the American Board of Surgery’s Continuous Certification requirements, and surgeon burnout.

Patient Education Workgroup

Terry Sarantou, MD, FACS, Chair
Ronald A. Squires, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The Patient Education Workgroup has developed a PowerPoint presentation and articles for Governors to provide to their chapters or societies on the available ACS patient education resources. In addition, the workgroup is developing an article for the Bulletin on the results of a recent member survey on the availability of quality patient education materials in surgical practice and how the ACS might further support patient education. Along with the ACS Committee on Diversity Issues, the workgroup submitted a session proposal for Clinical Congress 2019 on health literacy in surgery.

Surgical Training Workgroup

Barbara J. Pettitt, MD, FACS, Chair
David H. Berger, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The workgroup developed the ACS Statement on Medical Student Use of the Electronic Health Record (EHR), which the Board of Regents approved earlier this year. In addition, the committee published nine online essays that address key concepts about the early years of practice for the Resident and Associate Society (RAS) and YFA. In collaboration with the YFA and the ACS Women in Surgery Committee (WiSC), the workgroup submitted four session proposals for Clinical Congress 2019 addressing mentorship, burnout, tips for effective teaching, and going into surgical practice.

Governors serve on the following related ACS committees:

  • Clinical Congress Program Committee—Daniel L. Dent, MD, FACS, and David A. Spain, MD, FACS
  • Committee on Continuous Professional Development—William S. Richardson, MD, FACS
  • Committee on Emerging Surgical Technology and Education—Hisakazu Hoshi, MD, FACS
  • Committee on Ethics—Russell J. Nauta, MD, FACS
  • Committee on Interprofessional Education and Practice—Bruce D. Schirmer, MD, FACS
  • Committee on Medical Student Education—Mary L. Brandt, MD, FACS
  • Committee on Patient Education—Terry Sarantou, MD, FACS
  • Committee on Resident Education—Annesley Willamson Copeland, MD, FACS

Member Services Pillar

Terry L. Buchmiller, MD, FACS, Pillar Lead

The Member Services Pillar continues to strengthen both domestic and international chapters by updating and developing resources, using a chapter performance metric, surveying all the chapters about their activities and needs, as well as providing best practices and strategies for chapter operations and activities. This year, the Pillar also conducted extensive outreach to increase applications for this year’s Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards.

Chapter Activities Domestic Workgroup

Frank T. Padberg, Jr., MD, FACS, Chair
Scott D. Coates, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The members of the Chapter Activities Domestic Workgroup continue to implement important initiatives, such as regular updates to the online Chapter Guidebook and Meeting Toolkit. In addition, the workgroup hosted the second annual Chapter Officer Leadership Program in conjunction with the 2018 Leadership & Advocacy Summit. The Summit also featured ACS chapter success stories. At press time, the workgroup was finalizing plans for the Chapter Speed Networking Event at the Clinical Congress 2018, which allows attendees to hear about best practices and new strategies to enhance chapter operations in a fun, fast-paced educational and social event.

Chapter Activities International Workgroup

(Jorge) Esteban Foianini, MD, FACS, Chair
Norbert Senninger, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The Chapter Activities International Workgroup established four subcommittees to focus on Communications, the Chapter Annual Reports, Chapter Guidebook, and the Governors Annual Survey to further strengthen these activities for international chapters. In its inaugural year, Governors, Chapter Presidents, and members of the International Relations Committee interviewed international applicants for Fellowship. In addition, the international chapters offered valuable educational events at regional meetings in Ankara, Turkey; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Rome, Italy; and Sydney, Australia. To increase international representation at Clinical Congress, a list of interested International Governors and Chapter Officers has been provided to the ACS Program Committee.

Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards Workgroup

Helen A. Pass, MD, FACS, Chair
Mark A. Dobbertien, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The members of the Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards Workgroup conducted outreach through the ACS Communities, the Bulletin, military Governors, and Advisory Councils to further increase awareness of the awards. The workgroup has selected a slate of five recipients, which was presented to the B/G Executive Committee at the June retreat. The awardees will be honored at the B/G Dinner at Clinical Congress 2018. The workgroup continues to improve the awards nomination process.

Governors have seats on the following related ACS committees:

  • ACS Committee on Diversity Issues—Kenneth B. Simon, MD, FACS
  • ACS WiSC—Annesley Williamson Copeland, MD, FACS
  • International Relations Committee—Katsuhiko Yanaga, MD, PhD, FACS
  • YFA—Shoaib I. Sheikh, MB, BS, FACS
  • RAS—Glen A. Franklin, MD, FACS

Quality, Research, and Optimal Patient Care Pillar

Therese M. Duane, MD, MBA, CPE, FACS, FCCM, Pillar Lead

The Quality Pillar has three workgroups that have worked to ensure that ACS Fellows are able to provide the best care to surgical patients.

Best Practices Workgroup

Christine Laronga, MD, FACS, Chair
Ronald J. Weigel, MD, PhD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The workgroup continues to create guidelines developed from peer-reviewed best practices on topics relevant to the surgical community and to enhance patient care. Primary efforts have focused on reviewing the Evidence-Based Decisions in Surgery modules, as well as the Journal of the American College of Surgeons publication of Guidelines for the Perioperative Management of Antithrombotic Medication with ACS Clinical Scholar Melissa Hornor, MD. The workgroup also has submitted Clinical Congress 2019 session proposals on solutions to the opioid crisis and the surgeon/patient relationship with respect to quality of care.

Physician Competency and Health Workgroup

Reid B. Adams, MD, FACS, Chair
Taylor S. Riall, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The workgroup actively promotes the maintenance of physical and mental wellness in the Fellows, and addresses issues related to surgical competency. Activities this year have focused on a thorough review of the Physician Well-Being Index on the ACS website and the development of several Clinical Congress 2019 session proposals on disruptive surgeons, as well as how to contribute beyond the operating room.

Surgical Care Delivery Workgroup

Mika N. Sinanan, MD, PhD, FACS, Chair
Kimberly A. Davis, MD, FACS, Vice Chair

The workgroup’s primary objectives are as follows:

  • Analyze and address surgeon workforce issues
  • Assess patient access to quality surgical care
  • Utilize EHR to improve delivery and physician efficiency
  • Evaluate the status of surgical care delivery in the ambulatory setting

The workgroup developed the revised Statement on Patient Safety in the Operating Room: Team Care, which the Regents approved in June. The workgroup also has revised the Onboarding Checklist for Surgeons and drafted a Bulletin article on locum tenens surgery as a complementary piece to the recent Statement on Maintaining Surgical Access with a Locum Tenens Surgeon, which the Regents approved earlier this year. Additionally, several Clinical Congress 2019 session proposals were submitted on regional high-quality surgical care centers, lessons learned from military-civilian collaboration on mass casualty events, resuming surgical careers, military-civilian partnerships, locum tenens, EHR, and transitioning to a new practice/partnership.

Governors have seats on the following related ACS committees:

  • Committee on Perioperative Care—Richard J. Shemin, MD, FACS
  • Commission on Cancer—Helen A. Pass, MD, FACS
  • Committee on Trauma—Christine S. Cocanour, MD, FACS

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

For more information about the B/G, visit the ACS website and/or to comment on these and other activities visit the BoR/BoG Community or contact governors@facs.org.

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