Initiating a surgical society within the ACS: The renewed Excelsior Surgical Society

At the end of World War II, surgeons who had served during the conflict gathered at the Excelsior Hotel in Rome, Italy, to discuss their experiences. This meeting was the first of what would be called the Excelsior Surgical Society. These meetings continued annually until the death of the last World War II member, Michael E. DeBakey, MD, FACS.

The original Excelsior Surgical Society in Rome, 1945.

The original Excelsior Surgical Society in Rome, 1945.

Facilitated by the recently established partnership between the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the Military Health System, a new generation of surgeons who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan has resurrected the Excelsior Surgical Society. With the adoption of its charter and election of officers, it is now an official society within the ACS. The society offers a “home” for the military surgeon within the ACS, and will serve as both a path to membership in the College as well as a way for military surgeons to transition from military to civilian practice.

The renewed Excelsior Surgical Society at Clinical Congress 2016. Seated in front row, from left: Dr. Rich; Dr. Elster; Jonathan Woodson, MD, FACS; and Peggy Knudson, MD, FACS.

The renewed Excelsior Surgical Society at Clinical Congress 2016. Seated in front row, from left: Dr. Rich; Dr. Elster; Jonathan Woodson, MD, FACS; and Peggy Knudson, MD, FACS.

Visit the society’s web page for more information and to apply for membership.

Daylong meeting

In conjunction with Clinical Congress 2016, the Excelsior Surgical Society held a daylong meeting, with nearly 200 active and retired military surgeons, residents, and students in attendance. The meeting included discussion of the following topics:

  • State of the Service addresses by the three General Surgery Consultants to the Army, Navy, and Air Force Surgeon Generals:
    • COL Mary Edwards, MD, FACS (Army)
    • CAPT Craig Shepps, MD, FACS (Navy)
    • Col Gregory York, MD, FACS (Air Force)
  • The John Pryor Annual Lectureship, delivered by retired Army COL Norman M. Rich, MD, FACS, department of surgery, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), Bethesda, MD
  • The Committee on Trauma Region 13 (Military Region) annual resident paper competition
  • Abstracts on various surgical topics submitted by surgeons from multiple military health care facilities across the country
  • Panel discussions on training and sustainment for surgeons in the military

Election of Officers

At the business meeting, the following Excelsior Surgical Society Officers were elected:

  • President: CAPT Eric Elster, MD, FACS, U.S. Navy, professor and chairman, department of surgery at USUHS and WRNMMC
  • Vice-President: Col Stacy Shackelford, MD, FACS, U.S. Air Force, Deputy Commander for Clinical Services/Chief of the Medical Staff 455th Expeditionary Medical Dental Group, Craig Joint Theater Hospital Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan
  • Secretary: COL Robert B. Lim, MD, FACS, U.S. Army, Chief, Metabolic and Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, HI
  • Treasurer: COL Kirby R. Gross, MD, FACS, U.S. Army, Director, Army Trauma Training Center, University of Miami, FL
  • Councilperson at Large, U.S. Army: COL Matthew Martin, MD, FACS, FASMBS, Trauma Medical Director, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA
  • Councilperson at Large, U.S. Navy: CPT Gordon Wisbach, MD, FACS, staff surgeon, department of general surgery, Naval Medical Center San Diego, CA
  • Councilperson at Large, U.S. Air Force: Col Joe DuBose, MD, FACS, vascular and trauma surgeon, Travis Air Force Base, California
  • Councilperson at Large, Reserve/National Guard: COL Jay A. Johannigman, MD, FACS, Director of the Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care and Professor of Surgery at the University of Cincinnati, OH
  • Honorary Member: Dr. Rich, Leonard Heaton & David Packard Professor, Founding Chairman, department of surgery, USUHS and WRNMMC

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