J. David Richardson, MD, FACS, Chair of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Board of Regents, has identified the importance of developing College programs and services that are designed to support and promote rural surgery. As part of this commitment to surgeons who practice outside metropolitan areas, the Board of Regents established the ACS Advisory Council for Rural Surgery (ACRS) during its June 2012 meeting. The fact that this is the only new advisory council created in the past 50 years attests to the necessity of its establishment and its relevance to ACS leaders.
The mission of the ACRS is to identify, investigate, and rectify the challenges associated with rural surgical practice. For example, rural surgeons must contend more frequently than their urban counterparts with limitations of support, resources, personnel, continuing education, and reimbursement.
To address these complex issues, the ACRS will work to develop broad-based training through rural residency tracks, and to improve recruitment, retention, mentoring, and post-residency education for rural surgeons.
All of the council’s efforts reflect the College’s commitment to ensuring that the nation’s 60 million rural patients have access to high-quality surgical care and to addressing the challenges facing rural surgeons.
An active start
The ACRS will present its first educational program, Advanced Skills Training for Rural Surgeons: Complex Wound Care and Specialized Diagnostic Techniques, the day before the 2012 Clinical Congress, on September 29, from 8:15 am to 5:45 pm, at the Northwestern Center for Advanced Surgical Education, 240 E. Huron, LC-460, in Chicago, IL. Chairing the program will be two members of the ACRS—Amy L. Halverson, MD, FACS, assistant professor of surgery at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, and a colon and rectal surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago; and Philip R. Caropreso, MD, FACS, a general surgeon from Keokuk, IA. The course will provide hands-on skills instruction in central lines, breast surgery, plastic surgery, and breast ultrasound. For more information about the course, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Several other programs during the Clinical Congress, which will take place September 30 to October 4 at McCormick Place West in Chicago, will center on rural surgery. The following is a sampling of the sessions:
- Disparities in Access to Surgical Care will be presented at 11:30 am on Monday, October 1, in room W 179. This session will focus on the needs of rural and underserved communities and the patients who reside in these areas.
- The Ninth Annual Rural Surgeons Open Forum and Oweida Scholarship Presentation will take place from 4:15 to 5:45 pm, on Tuesday, October 2, in room W 194. The Advisory Council on Rural Surgery sponsors this open forum to encourage direct communication between rural general surgeons and a panel of leaders in American surgery. Representatives from the Board of Regents, the Board of Governors, the executive staff, and the ACS Health Policy Research Institute have been invited to participate.
- Careers in Rural Surgery will be presented at 11:30 am on Wednesday, October 3, in the Hyatt McCormick Place Conference Center, Room 12A.
In addition, all rural surgeons and their spouses are invited to attend the ACRS-hosted dinner on Monday, October 1, which will take place at Maggiano’s Little Italy, 516 North Clark St., in Chicago, starting at 7:30 pm. The cost per person is $55.75. To reserve a space and to pre-pay, contact Tyler Hughes, MD, FACS, at email@example.com, by September 14. This event will provide rural surgeons with a chance to network and connect with each other.
For more information about the ACRS, visit the ACRS Member Services page.