Looking forward – December 2014

David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS

As the Executive Director’s report, also published in this issue, demonstrates, the American College of Surgeons had another successful year. The full report provides a detailed account of these accomplishments, but for those of you who are interested in a briefer overview, this column highlights the key activities of each of the ACS divisions and support areas.

Advocacy and Health Policy

The ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy got a boost in June when Frank Opelka, MD, FACS, and Patrick Bailey, MD, FACS, joined the Washington Office team as Medical Directors of Quality and Advocacy, respectively. These surgeons will play a leading role in helping to position the ACS as a leader in the health policy, legislative, and regulatory arenas.

To address surgeons’ ongoing concerns regarding Medicare physician payment, the ACS worked closely with members of Congress to develop legislation that would repeal the broken sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and replace it with a more equitable model. More than 200 ACS members from 44 states participated in 229 meetings on Capitol Hill April 1 in conjunction with the 2014 Leadership & Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC. The SGR was a key topic of discussion at those meetings. Unfortunately, passage of the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014 was derailed due to funding challenges. At press time, the College continued to call upon lawmakers to revisit the bill before adjourning this year.

The SurgeonsVoice grassroots advocacy program is proving to be a most valuable tool for developing relationships with legislators. We now have SurgeonsVoice Region Chiefs and Councilors throughout the country to heighten our grassroots presence.


Many of the College’s recent education efforts have centered on assisting surgeons—particularly young surgeons—in career transitions. To address ongoing concerns regarding surgical training, the ACS has appointed a Committee on Residency Training (“Fix the Five”), which meets regularly and has identified several areas of focus.

To help young surgeons transition from residency to practice, the ACS has developed the Transition to Practice in General Surgery Program, which provides individuals who have completed five years of general surgery training with the opportunity to serve as a junior partner of a surgical practice. In 2014–2015, the program is being pilot-tested at 10 sites.

In addition, the ACS has partnered with the Association of Program Directors in Surgery and the Association for Surgical Education to create a Surgery Resident Prep Curriculum for medical students transitioning to residency. Pilot testing of the curriculum modules began in 2013–2014, and we anticipate the final curriculum will launch in 2015.

Furthermore, the College has launched a nationwide ACS Education and Training Campaign, similar to the Inspiring Quality Campaign, to communicate the following messages:

  • ACS Education and Training are the cornerstones of excellence
  • ACS Education and Training transform possibilities into realities
  • ACS Education and Training instill the joy of lifelong learning

Research and Optimal Patient Care

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the launch of ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®). In July, ACS NSQIP presented its annual conference in New York, NY, and a record-breaking 1,200 representatives from nearly 600 hospitals attended. The College is now working with the surgical specialties to develop specialty-specific modules for ACS NSQIP.

Furthermore, the College completed three years of working with a broad-based task force to develop comprehensive guidelines that define the resources needed to perform safe, effective pediatric operations. The standards for optimal resources for operations on infants and children were published in the March issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

The Advanced Trauma Life Support® (ATLS®) app has been downloaded by 66,900 users, and an eLearning project is under way. An interactive eBook has been developed, featuring flash cards, text highlighting, video links, and self-check questions.

The Committee on Trauma (COT) is pursuing a closer relationship with the Department of Defense (DoD) that would enable military trauma centers to participate in the National Trauma Data Bank®/Trauma Quality Improvement Program and thus meet that requirement for ACS verification.

The COT also has been actively involved in government efforts to establish guidelines for emergency medical services in mass-casualty events. In a related effort, the Hartford Consensus, led by ACS Regent Lenworth Jacobs, Jr., MD, FACS, articulated a framework for increasing survivability in mass shootings, which promotes the use of THREAT: (1) Threat suppression, (2) Hemorrhage control, (3) Rapid Extrication to safety, (4) Assessment by medical providers, and (5) Transport to definitive care.

One of the Commission on Cancer’s (CoC’s) most significant accomplishments this year involved working with consultants to develop a framework for oncology medical home standards. We have requested grant funding from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation to support development of the model.

In addition, the CoC held its first legislative briefing in February and issued a written response to the Institutes of Medicine report, Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis.

The National Accreditation Program for Breast Cancer has now awarded accreditation to more than 560 U.S. breast centers, and the ACS Clinical Research Program (ACS CRP) has completed the manuscript for Operative Standards for Cancer Surgery. The ACS CRP also received funding for three studies from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Member Services

This year’s Initiates class—one of the largest ever—totaled 1,640. To further attract younger members, we have launched a Young Surgeons Marketing Campaign­—Realize the Potential of Your Profession—and a Show Your Pride campaign.

More than 425 ACS leaders, chapter officers, and young surgeons participated in the leadership portion of the 2014 Leadership & Advocacy Summit. In addition to providing information on best practices for chapter administration, mentoring, and other topics of general interest, a session on emotional intelligence and its relevance to surgical leadership was presented.

A new Archivist, Adam Carey, has been hired to develop a strategic plan to make the Archives more accessible to Fellows. To this end, he is creating a Web-based Master Finding Aid that lists all ACS archival holdings, and specific ACS records are being digitized.

Integrated Communications

The ACS Communities launched in July, providing an interactive platform for surgeons to share their views, interests, and concerns. Shortly thereafter, the College launched its new public website, facs.org. The site is organized around the College’s core pillars: Member Services, Quality, Education, and Advocacy. Password-protected areas have been established for the conduct of College-related business.

The ACS Inspiring Quality tour made stops in Northern California, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Iowa, and Utah. At these meetings, we continued to demonstrate how ACS Quality Programs reduce spending and improve outcomes.

The ACS enjoyed prominent news coverage in 2014 and expanded its social media presence. For example, the College now has 7,863 “Likes” on Facebook, 16,366 followers on Twitter, and 811 subscribers on YouTube.

Other accomplishments

The ACS Foundation’s 1913 Legacy Campaign, which launched in conjunction with the ACS Centennial, is nearing completion. At press time, Fellows, friends, and corporations had donated more than $2.4 million through the campaign. Nearly half of the ACS Fellows who donated gave $5,000 or more in honor of the Centennial.

I’d like to give special thanks and recognition to the members of the 1913 Legacy Campaign National Steering Committee (see roster below). In addition to making their own philanthropic contributions to the campaign, these dedicated individuals have inspired other generous donors to do the same. The committee members are making a meaningful impact through their own College networks. For example, Fabrizio Michelassi, MD, FACS, engaged members of the Board of Governors Executive Committee; Kenneth W. Sharp, MD, FACS, reached out to attendees at the Advocacy and Leadership Summit; Richard A. Lynn, MD, FACS, and Jon van Heerden, MD, FACS, worked with ACS Chapters; Mary H. McGrath, MD, MPH, FACS, and Charles Balch, MD, FACS, advocated for ACS programs during meetings with corporations; Richard Reiling, MD, FACS, recruited loyal donors through his long association with ACS philanthropic efforts; and Amilu Stewart, MD, FACS, and Andrew L. Warshaw, MD, FACS, FRCSEd(Hon), sought the support of ACS Past-Presidents.

National Steering Committee for 1913 Legacy Campaign

Suresh Agarwal, MD, FACS

John L.D. Atkinson, MD, FACS

Charles M. Balch, MD, FACS

Ruth L. Bush, MD, FACS

James G. Chandler, MD, FACS

William G. Cioffi, Jr., MD, FACS

Christopher J. Daly, MD, FACS

Barbara L. Dean

Daniel L. Dent, MD, FACS

E. Christopher Ellison, MD, FACS

James K. Elsey, MD, FACS

James W. Fleshman, Jr., MD, FACS

Donald E. Fry, MD, FACS

Enrique Hernandez, MD, FACS

David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS

Tyler G. Hughes, Sr., MD, FACS

Mark Kuhnke, MD, FACS

Charles A. Lucas, MD, FACS

Richard A. Lynn, MD, FACS

LaMar S. McGinnis, Jr., MD, FACS

Mary H. McGrath, MD, MPH, FACS

Fabrizio Michelassi, MD, FACS

Patricia J. Numann, MD, FACS

Richard B. Reiling, MD, FACS

Layton F. Rikkers, MD, FACS

Danny R. Robinette, MD, FACS

Hilary Sanfey, MB, BCh, FACS

William F. Sasser, MD, FACS

Kenneth W. Sharp, MD, FACS

David A. Spain, MD, FACS

Steven C. Stain, MD, FACS

Steven M. Steinberg, MD, FACS

Amilu Stewart, MD, FACS

Ronald M. Stewart, MD, FACS

Jon A. van Heerden, MB, BCh, FACS, FRCS

Andrew L. Warshaw, MD, FACS

The committee’s combined efforts are increasing current philanthropy while planting the seeds for future support. The 1913 Legacy Campaign will help the College fulfill its mission of equipping surgeons with the tools they need to meet the demands of an evolving medical environment. I am truly thankful to have such talented individuals actively engaged in the College.

Internally, nearly one-third of College staff has been trained in the Change Acceleration Process, and we are designing a curriculum to train all staff in leadership skills. Almost all staff have completed the DiSC and emotional intelligence training courses.

Finally, at this year’s Clinical Congress, we presented the ACS Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously to Thomas R. Russell, MD, FACS, former Executive Director of the ACS, and hosted a “Celebration of Life” service in his memory.

In short, the College has entered its next 100 years ready to address the challenges of the future. With your support and input, I anticipate that this upward trajectory will continue.


If you have comments or suggestions about this or other issues, please send them to Dr. Hoyt at lookingforward@facs.org.

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