Report on ACSPA/ACS activities, February 2016

The Board of Directors of the American College of Surgeons Professional Association (ACSPA) and the Board of Regents (B/R) of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) met February 5−6 at the College’s headquarters in Chicago, IL. The following is a summary of their discussions and actions.


To date, ACSPA’s political action committee (ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC) has raised $628,368 (including both personal and corporate funds) from 1,766 members of the College and staff.

Thus far in the 2015–2016 election cycle, the PAC has disbursed $473,840 to 124 congressional candidates, leadership PACs, and party committees. Of this amount, 60 percent was given to Republicans and 40 percent to Democrats, in alignment with congressional party ratios, with more disbursements planned later this quarter.


The ACS B/R carried out the College’s policymaking activities and the directors of the ACS division presented updates on their teams’ efforts.

Board of Regents

The B/R held a special session at its February meeting to develop strategic plans for expanding the College’s international activities in an effort to enhance care of surgical patients globally. The Regents discussed opportunities in the following Global Engagement Workgroups during conference calls before the meeting:

  • Membership
  • Education
  • Quality Programs
  • Building Surgical Capacity

In addition, the B/R approved the ACS Statement on the Importance of Parental Leave, which the ACS Women in Surgery Committee developed.

The B/R also approved the Women in Surgery Committee’s proposal to present an annual Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award. This award will be given at the ACS Clinical Congress in recognition of an individual’s significant contributions to the advancement of women in the profession of surgery. Dr. Walker was the first female surgeon employed by the U.S. Army and the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor—the U.S. military’s highest honor for bravery. After the Civil War, Dr. Walker devoted her life to supporting women’s suffrage and was a frequent lecturer on health care, temperance, and women’s rights. Most notably, Dr. Walker was unwavering in her commitment to service to her country and the surgical profession, and repeatedly excelled in the face of significant adversity. Through Dr. Walker’s example of perseverance, excellence, and pioneering behavior, she paved the way for women surgeons today.

Division of Education

The Board approved a Revised Statement on Principles of Patient Education.

Education campaign

Building a broader awareness of its products and services, while reinforcing its messages of “cornerstone of excellence: transforming possibilities into realities” and “instilling the joy of lifelong learning,” this past year’s activities included the following:

  • Produced three videos promoting education programs, with six additional videos in progress. The completed videos are on the following programs:
    • Selected Readings in General Surgery
    • Transition to Practice (TTP)
    • Accredited Education Institutes (AEI)
  • Created a graphical representation (“The Joy of Lifelong Learning: A Surgeon’s Professional Journey”) highlighting the significant role education plays in the life of a surgeon, planned for use as part of a new program in 2016.
  • Supported the creation and coordination of a significant event in Houston, TX, in late January 2016. Surgical Retooling Reimagined is a groundbreaking effort to create a national model for the training, credentialing, and privileging of surgeons in practice, particularly as it relates to developing ongoing proficiency in new and existing surgical procedures and technologies. The event was hosted by ACS Executive Director David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS; Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS, FRCSC, Director, ACS Division of Education; and Barbara L. Bass, MD, FACS, ACS Distinguished Service Award recipient, Past-Regent, and director, Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation & Education, Houston, TX, which served as the site of the event.
  • Offered a daily digital newsletter at Clinical Congress focused on the meeting’s scientific programs.

Division of Member Services

The activities of the division are as follows.

Membership recruitment and retention

As of February 1, College membership totaled 82,810—64,475 Fellows (58,347 U.S., 1,372 Canadian, and 5,756 International), 3,838 Associate Fellows, 10,835 Residents, 2,352 Medical Students, and 310 Affiliate Members.

The B/R accepted resignations from 13 Fellows from the following surgical specialties:

  • One cardiothoracic
  • Six general
  • Two orthopaedic
  • Two otolaryngology
  • One plastic and reconstructive
  • One urological

The B/R also approved a change in status for 146 Fellows: 120 from Active (dues-paying) to Retired and 26 from Senior (non-dues-paying) to Retired. A total of 315 Fellows were reinstated since the October 2015 B/R meeting.


Fellows requested the formation of the Trinidad and Tobago Chapter, which was approved by the B/R. The provisional officers of the new chapter are as follows:

  • Dilip V. Dan, MB, BS, FACS, President
  • Steve R. Budhooram, MB, BS, FACS, FRCS, Vice President
  • Michael J. Ramdass, MB, BS, FACS, FRCS, Secretary/Treasurer
  • Patrick R. M. Harnarayan, MB, BS, FACS, FRCS, Councilor
  • Dale N. Hassranah, MB, BS, FACS, FRCS, Councilor
  • Jitendra N. Shah, MB, BS, FACS, FRCS, Councilor
  • Vijay Naraynsingh, MB, BS, FACS, FRCS, Governor

Member Services Young Surgeons Campaign

Efforts focused on sustaining the momentum for the Realize the Potential of Your Profession campaign and included the following:

  • Produced four snapshot videos of young surgeons discussing the benefits of ACS membership.
  • Produced the first in a series of videos centered on the key themes of “engage, lead, influence, and advocate.” These videos include several surgeons speaking about opportunities that the ACS offers to young surgeons. The “engage” video was released in the fall of 2015, the “influence” video was released in January 2016, and the “lead” and “advocate” videos are scheduled for release in the coming months.
  • Developed two shareable lists that were distributed via ACS social media channels and paid syndication. One list was geared toward a broader, more general audience and focused on facts the public may not know about surgeons and on the increasing visibility of the ACS; the other was geared toward young surgeons and focused more on the value of ACS to its members. The lists generated a combined 11,000 clicks and 8 million impressions via paid syndication.
  • Supported the kick-off in early August 2016 of an ACS networking event series in Sacramento, CA, hosted by Julie A. Freischlag, MD, FACS, Past-Chair of the ACS Board of Regents, and Patricia L. Turner, MD, FACS, Director, ACS Division of Member Services. This event attracted approximately 40 young surgeons who learned how the ACS has supported and enhanced the careers of their senior colleagues. A second event took place February 2 in Seattle, WA, hosted by Ronald V. Maier, MD, FACS, ACS First Vice-President; Carlos A. Pellegrini, MD, FACS, FRCSI(Hon), FRCS(Hon), FRCSEd(Hon), ACS Past-President; and Ellen Thomason Derrick, MD, MPH, FACS.

Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care

The activities of the division are as follows.


A total of 702 hospitals now participate in the College’s National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®); 621 of these sites participate in the Adult option. The Essentials option, which is the conventional sampling framework, has the highest enrollment of the Adult Participation options, with 294 sites. The Procedure Targeted option has 267 hospitals and is currently experiencing the highest level of growth with 21 new sites. The Pediatric option represents 12 percent of overall participation.

Following is the breakdown of participating sites by ACS NSQIP option:

  • Small and Rural: 51
  • Procedure Targeted: 267
  • Essentials: 294
  • Pediatric NSQIP: 81
  • Florida Surgical Care Initiative (collaborative): Eight

In the year prior to the meeting, ACS NSQIP experienced 15 percent growth in enrollment and, for the first time, has participating sites in all 50 states and more than 40 collaboratives. Interest in the program continues to increase.

ACS NSQIP is working closely with the American Society for Transplant Surgeons and has created the Transplant Quality Improvement Program (TransQIP) pilot project. TransQIP uses a new Transplant Pilot Web portal/database to capture clinically meaningful variables for patients who are undergoing liver and kidney donation/transplant procedures. The pilot will include 10 sites and examine the viability of data collection for these fields as potential future Transplant Procedure Targeted fields and analyze the variables for insight into the care of transplant patients. The pilot begins this summer and continue for approximately six months.

The 2016 ACS NSQIP Annual Conference is scheduled to take place July 16−19 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, CA. The theme of the conference is “Innovate to Make a Difference.” Key topics of discussion this year include surgical ethics, the Strong for Surgery program, and improved care for elderly patients.


At present, 798 medical centers participate in the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP); 676 are fully accredited, and 86 are initial applicants. The remaining 36 are data collection centers that participate in the MBSAQIP Data Registry but did not complete the process for achieving full accreditation. The MBSAQIP has accredited centers in 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and one international center in Ontario, Canada.

The MBSAQIP Standards Committee is reviewing and revising the program’s standards, initially released in February 2014; a second edition is planned for release in late winter.

MBSAQIP leadership initiated a large national initiative to address patient readmissions after bariatric surgery. Called Decreasing Readmissions through Opportunities Provided, this program is a national quality improvement initiative involving the participation of more than 120 centers nationwide. The program will conclude in March 2016.


The ACS has continued development of the Surgeon Specific Registry (SSR) as a tool for individual surgeon data capture. Currently, the SSR has approximately 6,000 surgeons who have submitted at least 20 cases and nearly 6 million records. Surgeons continue to use the registry as a case log system in addition to accessing the other program benefits.

The ACS presented four webinars on using the SSR to comply with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in the first two weeks of December 2015, three of which focused on the General Surgery Measures Group option in the SSR and had a total of 147 attendees. One webinar was dedicated to the Individual Measures reporting option and had a total of 54 attendees. The presentations included a brief SSR overview; PQRS requirements through the SSR for the selected option; screenshots to illustrate registering for, submitting, and approving PQRS participation for 2015; and a question-and-answer session. Recordings of the webinars and FAQ documents are available.

Outcomes Research Course

The Outcomes Research Course will take place this fall at the ACS headquarters in Chicago, IL. The course is designed for clinical and health services researchers with varying degrees of experience in the field. The course will include didactic lectures as well as breakout sessions where participants will be able to select modules appropriate to their skill level and interest.

ACS Clinical Scholars in Residence

The ACS Clinical Scholars in Residence program is a two-year on-site fellowship in applied surgical outcomes research, health services research, and health care policy. This program offers surgery residents a unique opportunity to work with the College.

The following individuals are second-year ACS Clinical Scholars in Residence:

  • Elizabeth Berger, MD, is a general surgery resident at Loyola University, Chicago. Dr. Berger has a continued interest in breast care and surgical outcomes, as well as bariatric surgery and its outcomes.
  • Julia Berian, MD, is a general surgery resident at the University of Chicago Medical Center. She is the ACS/John A. Hartford Foundation (JAHF) James C. Thompson Geriatric Surgery Clinical Scholar for the 2015–2016 academic year.
  • Michael Wandling, MD, is a general surgery resident at Northwestern University, Chicago. He has a particular interest in trauma and emergency surgery, surgical outcomes, and improving the delivery of operative and nonoperative surgical care.

First-year ACS Clinical Scholars in Residence are as follows:

  • Kristen Ban, MD, is a resident in the department of surgery at the Loyola University Medical Center, Chicago. Her interests include health services and quality improvement research.
  • Jason Liu, MD, is a general surgery resident at the University of Chicago Medical Center. He received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, and his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Duke University, Durham, NC.

The new ACS/JAHF James C. Thompson Geriatrics Surgical Fellow, Melissa Hornor, MD, will join the ACS Clinical Scholars in July 2016. Dr. Hornor is a general surgery resident at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus. Her fellowship training centers on minimally invasive surgery, colorectal surgery, and surgical oncology.

ACS Division of Integrated Communications

The Division of Integrated Communications focuses on two important purposes:

  • Effectively communicating the mission of the College to its multiple audiences, including members, potential members, the public, and policymakers
  • Supporting the College’s programs (Pillars—Advocacy, Education, Quality, Member Services) by communicating their specific and varied messages to their respective audiences


The editorial office of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (JACS) annually receives more than 1,600 manuscripts. In 2015, the impact factor for JACS (reflecting citations of JACS articles published in 2012 and 2013) was 5.122—an increase of 15 percent from the previous year. Along with this increase, the number of original scientific manuscripts submitted to JACS increased 14 percent from 2014 to 2015. These data indicate that JACS is widely recognized as one of the top surgical journals.

Over the last year, JACS Twitter followers have increased by more than 400 percent, and in 2015, the International General Surgery Journal Club featured two JACS articles in their popular monthly Twitter discussions—one on resident duty hours and the other on leadership style and team behavior in the operating room.

Also in 2015, JACS began collaboration with the Resident and Associate Society of the ACS (RAS-ACS) with a quarterly literature appraisal forum discussing JACS articles. This project exposes young surgeons to JACS content while encouraging direct social media participation through selecting the articles and discussing them on Facebook. Going into 2016, JACS worked with the RAS-ACS to publish the winning essays from the RAS-ACS 2015 Spectacular Cases Session at Clinical Congress. These essays and audio of the discussions were an e-only feature in the February issue of JACS.

In 2015, the highest number of JACS users to date—3,566 individual test takers—earned a total of 82,736 credits toward Maintenance of Certification.

Member engagement activities

Over the past year, with the assistance of Weber Shandwick, the division has developed a library of more than 240 short videos of ACS members describing what they value about the College. In these videos, members talk about ACS education programs, leadership and advocacy opportunities, quality programs, and philanthropy, as well as the intangible benefits of Fellowship.

ACS Communities and social media

The ACS has a total of 98 online communities, of which 66 are open to all members and 32 are closed (closed communities exist primarily to provide online work forums for ACS leadership groups, such as the Board of Governors and the Advisory Councils). One of the newest communities, suggested by a Fellow, is the Surgeon Writers Community.

Social media statistics as of the end of January were as follows:

  • Facebook: 13,928 likes
  • Twitter: 25,008 followers
  • YouTube: 680 videos; 422,666 views; 1,319 subscribers
  • LinkedIn: 8,099 followers
  • Google+: 426 followers

Raising media awareness of ACS standards and guidelines

The ACS Public Profile and Visibility team has recently promoted these three new or revised ACS standards and guidelines to the media:

  • Commission on Cancer Standards Manual for the Oncology Medical Home Accreditation Program: This new standards manual was promoted to general and health care media, including targeted promotion to oncology trade publications. The American Journal of Managed Care and First Report on Managed Care, among others, reported on the release.
  • Optimal Perioperative Management of the Geriatric Patient: Best Practices Guideline: Published online in JACS January 4 and released as a freestanding document on the same day, this best practices guideline was developed and promoted in collaboration with the American Geriatrics Society with support from the John A. Hartford Foundation. Its release was reported on by American Nurse Today, Becker’s Healthcare, and Medscape, among others.
  • Optimal Resources for Children’s Surgical Care: Media promotion began in mid-January to general and medical trade press. The standards set forth in this document are the nation’s first and only multispecialty standards for children’s surgical care. The 2015 standards document includes revisions to the 2014 version and updates from lessons learned in the pilot phase of the program.

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