Board of Governors pillars at work: An update

The Governors are the eyes and ears of the College, serving a critical role as liaisons between the Board of Regents and the Fellows. At present, 279 individuals serve on the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Board of Governors (B/G), including 139 Governors-at-Large, representing each U.S. state and Canadian province; 96 specialty Governors, representing surgical associations and societies; and 44 international Governors. These data include the Governor from the newest chapter, Bangladesh. In addition, two new Governors will be added in October, representing the new Kuwait Chapter and the country of Qatar.

Executive Committee

The B/G Executive Committee meets regularly via conference call. In June, the Executive Committee held the third annual strategic planning retreat in Chicago, IL, during which committee members evaluated the future plans of the B/G, including adding another member to the Executive Committee so that each pillar is represented.

Planning for the October meeting of the Governors is under way and will include discussion of Maintenance of Certification (MOC) and how to improve effective communication with all Governors and Fellows in this era of information overload. The results of the B/G survey will be presented at the meeting.

The Executive Committee hosted three New Governors Orientations—one webinar each in December 2016 and January 2017 and a face-to-face meeting at the 2017 ACS Leadership & Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC. Two additional webinars focused on an orientation for the workgroup leadership and 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 Summit (International Governors are welcome, as well)
    • Participate in B/G meetings, 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 chapter or specialty society and B/G Executive and Communications Committees
    • Welcome and engage Initiates and Fellows from the Governor’s area/organization 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 site

Pillar updates

Following is an update on the activities of the Board of Governors Pillars and their respective workgroups. The Governors are aligned along five pillars according to the mission of the ACS.

Advocacy and Health Policy Pillar

Nicole 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 Division of Advocacy and Health Policy to facilitate communication with the ACS community. Overall, the pillar’s aim is to address issues that relate to the following four core ACS principles:

  • Quality and safety
  • Patient access to surgical care
  • Reduction of health care costs
  • Medical liability reform

Health Policy and Advocacy Workgroup

Scot Glasberg, MD, FACS, Chair
Amalia Cochran, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

This workgroup seeks to advance issues that ACS members have at the state or specialty society level and to enhance the relationship with College leadership in the response to regulatory and legislative initiatives, and collaborate with College leadership and Regents to ensure that Fellows’ perspectives are available to help formulate College policies and positions.

Past projects have focused on the following issues: workforce shortage of general surgeons; the changing practice environment, with surgeons moving from private practice to hospital employment; and videotaping of surgical procedures. Last year the workgroup produced a white paper about out-of-network billing, which advanced to the ACS Health Policy and Advocacy Group for consideration as an ACS advocacy priority.

Grassroots Advocacy Engagement Workgroup

Shelly Timmons, MD, FACS, Chair
Marty Schreiber, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The purpose of the Grassroots Advocacy Engagement Workgroup is to enhance bidirectional communication between the ACS leadership and members regarding important legislative and regulatory issues that affect surgical patients, surgeons and their practices, and society. As such, we have established a B/G e-mail tree to personalize communication from the Washington Office to the Governors—especially when we have timely opportunities to contact our congressional representatives about pressing issues that relate to the four core ACS principles.

  • Board of Governors Committee seats:
    • Health Policy and Advocacy Group—Nicole Gibran, MD, FACS
    • Health Policy Advisory Council—Susan Mosier, MD, MBA, FACS
    • Legislative Committee—James Goldszer, MD, FACS
    • Coding and Reimbursement Committee—Chris Senkowski, MD, FACS
    • ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC—Mika Sinanan, MD, FACS

Visit the Advocacy section of the ACS website for more information on these ACS initiatives and to learn how to get involved.

Communications Pillar

S. Rob Todd, MD, FACS, FCCM, 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 Nauta, MD, FACS, Chair
Rohan Jeyarajah, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The Newsletter Workgroup continues to produce The Cutting Edge: News and Notes from the Board of Governors, the quarterly, fully electronic, mobile-friendly newsletter of the B/G. Newsletter stories range from College business to human interest stories. Moving forward, the Newsletter Workgroup is looking at how to better disseminate the news of the Regents and Board of Governors to both the Governors themselves and the Fellows of the College. Past issues of the Cutting Edge are available on the ACS website.

Survey Workgroup

Juan Paramo, MD, FACS, Chair
David Welsh, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The Survey Workgroup published the results of the 2016 Board of Governors Annual Survey in several College formats over the last year, including in a series of articles in the Bulletin. The results of the 2017 survey are being analyzed. In addition to routine demographic data points, survey topics included: the Stop the Bleed® campaign, work-related injuries/ergonomics of surgery, the role of advanced practice providers, and the opioid crisis. This workgroup also submitted a proposal for Clinical Congress 2018 on the data from the 2016 Governors Survey related to acute care surgery.

  • ACS Website Representative: Bryan Richmond, MD, MBA, FACS
  • ACS Bulletin and ACS NewsScope Representatives: George Shires, MD, FACS, and Peter Andreone, MD, FACS
  • ACS Communities Representative: Bryan Richmond, MD, MBA, FACS

Education Pillar

Daniel L. Dent, 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, as follows:

Continuing Education Workgroup

William Richardson, MD, FACS, Chair
Randy Woods, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The members of the Continuing Education Workgroup have continued to collaborate with the ACS  Division of Education to provide guidance in the development of a 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 submitted proposals for Clinical Congress 2018 addressing postoperative opioid guidelines, video coaching for quality improvement, and how to develop a new skill/transition in practice.

Patient Education Workgroup

Terry Sarantou, MD, FACS, Chair
Marc Rubin, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The Patient Education Workgroup has developed a presentation for Governors to provide communication back to their chapters or societies.In addition, the workgroup is working with the Young Fellows Association (YFA) and the Patient Education Committee to improve awareness of the patient education resources available to Fellows and their patients. One such activity was participation in the Chapter Speed Networking Session at Clinical Congress 2016. The workgroup submitted a proposal for Clinical Congress 2018 on patient education in the 21st century.

Surgical Training Workgroup

Fred Luchette, MD, FACS, Chair
David Berger, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

After seeking input from the Association of Program Directors in Surgery and the Association for Surgical Education, the members of the Surgical Training Workgroup finalized a standardized letter of recommendation for applicants to surgery training programs.Four educational modules for teaching faculty also are now available as the result of the efforts of this workgroup. The letter, modules, and other resources are available on the ACS website.

The workgroup is finalizing a statement regarding medical student involvement in electronic health records and development of a billing and coding course for residents. Lastly, the workgroup submitted four proposals for Clinical Congress 2018 addressing treatment modalities for gastroparesis, tips for effective teaching, going into surgical practice, and burnout.

The three workgroups in the Education Pillar submitted eight proposals for panel sessions at Clinical Congress 2018.

  • Board of Governors Committee Seats:
    • Committee on Resident Education: Antonio Pavia, MD, FACS
    • Committee on Medical Student Education: Mary Brandt, MD, FACS
    • Committee on Patient Education: Dennis Kraus, MD, FACS
    • Committee on Continuous Professional Development: Charles Bridges, MD, FACS
    • Clinical Congress Program Committee: Daniel Dent, MD, FACS, and David Spain, MD, FACS
    • Committee on Emerging Surgical Technology and Education: Joann Lohr, MD, FACS

Member Services Pillar

Francis D. Ferdinand, MD, FACS, Pillar Lead

In the last year, the Member Services Pillar has continued to strengthen both domestic and international chapters by updating resources, creating a chapter performance metric, and surveying all the chapters about their activities and needs.The pillar also conducted extensive outreach for this year’s Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards and fine-tuned selection criteria and the nominations web portal.

Chapter Activities Domestic Workgroup

Frank Padberg, Jr., MD, FACS, Chair
Terry Buchmiller, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The members of the Chapter Activities Domestic Workgroup continued to implement important initiatives. A Resident and Associate Society (RAS-ACS) and Young Fellows Association (YFA) initiative is under way to ensure RAS and YFA representation (51 and 45 percent, respectively) on the Executive Council of every domestic chapter to facilitate the development of ideas for programs, projects, and activities that are attractive to residents and young surgeons. A set of metrics for chapter performance has been developed and a recent chapter survey is being used to measure the health of the chapters. The metrics measure chapter viability relative to finances, membership, advocacy, and a website to better aid the College in providing services to strengthen and grow the chapters.

In addition, the workgroup has accomplished the following:

  • Updated and finalized the Chapter Guidebook and Meeting Toolkit with links to key resources
  • Presented a Chapter Officer Leadership Program in conjunction with the 2017 Leadership & Advocacy Summit

Chapter Activities International Workgroup

Jamal Hoballah, MD, FACS, Chair
(Jorge) Esteban Foianini, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The Chapter Activities International Workgroup has established communities for four international regions to increase communication and as a first step toward creating individual International Chapter Communities. The international chapters conducted valuable educational events at regional meetings in Munich, Germany; Lima, Peru; and Beirut, Lebanon, with College leadership participation. In addition, data collected from international chapters in the Annual Report/Survey was reviewed to identify next steps to strengthen and grow chapters.

  • A list of interested International Governors has been provided to the Program Committee to increase their participation as moderators and/or speakers at Clinical Congress.
  • A new process was implemented this year to get Governor feedback on applicants for Fellowship from their respective countries. Plans are under way for Governors to begin participating in interviews of applicants for Fellowship beginning in 2018.
  • Work is in progress to increase collaboration between the international chapters and their respective regional Committees on Trauma.
  • Regional meetings are planned for 2018 in Rome, Italy, and Sydney, Australia.

Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards Workgroup

Frank Sellke, MD, FACS, Chair
David Spain, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The members of the Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards Workgroup released a new nominations website in January 2016 and have fine-tuned the nomination fields and criteria. Outreach through the ACS Communities, the Bulletin, military Governors, and Advisory Councils was aimed at increasing awareness of these awards, which resulted in a historically high number of nominations: 54 in 2017 versus 44 in 2016.

  • The workgroup has selected five recipients, which were presented to the B/G Executive Committee at the June retreat. The awardees will be honored at the Board of Governors Dinner at Clinical Congress 2017.
  • The workgroup will continue to collaborate with the military Governors and the Military Health Services Strategic Partnership ACS to better define the criteria for the military award and to reach out to the Excelsior Surgical Society for nominations.
  • Board of Governors Committee seats:
    • ACS Committee on Diversity Issues: Kenneth Simon, MD, FACS
    • ACS Women in Surgery Committee: Annesley Copeland, MD, FACS
    • YFA: Shoaib Sheikh, MB, BS, FACS
    • RAS: Glen Franklin, MD, FACS
    • International Relations Committee: Katsuhiko Yanaga, MD, PhD, FACS

Quality, Research, and Optimal Patient Care Pillar

Steven Stain, MD, FACS, 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 Practice Workgroup

Therese Duane, MD, FACS, Chair
Christine Laronga, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

  • Continues to review Evidence-Based Decisions in Surgery modules
  • Developed standard template and timeline for creating annual guidelines
  • Created new guidelines on perioperative anticoagulation management; a Clinical Scholar, Melissa Hornor, MD, has been assigned this task
  • Submitted a proposal on perioperative anticoagulation management for Clinical Congress 2018

Physician Competency and Health Workgroup

David Welsh, MD, FACS, Chair
Reid Adams, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

  • Encouraged all workgroup members to serve on one of three subcommittees—ergonomics, disruptive surgeon, and wellness
  • Provided ergonomics questions for the Board of Governors Survey, including the addition of questions on injuries in the OR
  • Sponsored Clinical Congress 2017 session on The Disruptive Surgeon
  • Submitted Clinical Congress 2018 proposals on well-being to include the following:
    • Well-Being: How Do I Do It, and How Do I Compare?
    • Aging in Surgery: Denial Is Not the Best Approach

Surgical Care Delivery Workgroup

Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD, FACS, Chair
Kimberly Davis, MD, FACS, Vice Chair

  • Drafted a policy on maintaining surgical access with a locum tenens surgeon for review by the Board of Regents
  • Updated the following ACS Statements:
    • Statement on the Rationale for Emergency Surgical Call
    • Statement on the Development and Use of Proprietary Guidelines for Accountable Patient-Centered Care
  • Submitted proposals for Clinical Congress 2018 Panel Sessions on the following:
    • Telehealth
    • Communication in the Digital Age
    • Locum Tenens
    • Immediate Solutions to Surgical Workforce Needs
    • My Patient Is Reading His Operative Note and Making Editorial Suggestions: Opportunity or Risk?
  • Board of Governors Committee Seats:
    • Committee on Perioperative Care: Mika Sinanan, MD, FACS
    • Commission on Cancer: Helen Pass, MD, FACS
    • Committee on Trauma: Christine Cocanour, MD, FACS

The Committee to Study the Fiscal Affairs of the College, chaired by Susan K. Mosier, MD, MBA, FACS, B/G Secretary, continues to review and monitor the fiscal health of the College.

The Board of Governors home page, available on the ACS website, has a rotating series highlighting the activities of individual Governors and suggestions for finding additional resources. For more information about the Board of Governors and to comment on these and other activities, contact

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