Board of Governors Pillars continue to make your voice heard

The members of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Board of Governors (B/G) serve as an official, direct communications link between the Board of Regents (B/R) and the Fellows. The ACS has 294 Governors: 157 Governors At-Large, representing each U.S. state and Canadian province and territory; 88 specialty society Governors; and 49 international Governors.

Governors’ responsibilities

Governors’ responsibilities include the following:

  • Attend meetings and events:
    • Domestic Governors are expected to attend the spring Leadership & Advocacy Summit (international Governors also are welcome)
    • Participate in B/G meetings, the 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 their chapter or specialty society
    • Welcome new Initiates/Fellows from the Governor’s area/society 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

Executive Committee activities

The B/G Executive Committee held three virtual strategic retreats to discuss key priorities this year, including the following:

  • Realignment of B/G Workgroups
  • Increased collaboration with Advisory Councils (Pillar level and so on)
  • Inclusion of Regents on Pillars/Workgroups
  • Specialty society involvement/increased integration
  • Specialty society audit discussion
  • Succession planning for B/G Pillars
  • Nominating Committee of the Board of Governors selection

To further collaboration and discussion of these important topics, invited guests included ACS President Valerie W. Rusch, MD, FACS; the Chair of the Advisory Councils for Surgical Specialties, John H. Stewart IV, MD, FACS; and several members of the Board of Regents.

The Executive Committee hosted a New Governor Orientation session in December to help incoming Governors better understand their roles and duties and how best to augment their experience. In June, the Governors Alumni Program (GAP) was launched to further maximize the knowledge and enthusiasm former Governors have for the College. The GAP was established to provide an opportunity for former Governors to remain actively involved with the College and further assist in activities such as membership recruitment and retention efforts, outreach to chapters and specialty societies, and mentoring new Governors. The Program currently has more than 50 members, and additional activities are planned in the upcoming months.

Pillar Updates

The B/G is structured around five Pillars and 13 Workgroups. The Governors’ contributions to these Workgroups result in the development of resources for Fellows. Following is an update on the activities of the B/G Pillars and their respective Workgroups.

Advocacy and Health Policy Pillar

Martin A. Schreiber, MD, FACS, Pillar Lead

The Advocacy Pillar focuses on health care legislation and regulation at the local, state, and national levels, working closely with the ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy (DAHP). The Pillar is conducting a three-year review of Clinical Congress advocacy session proposals to help focus submissions for the future.

Health Policy and Advocacy Workgroup

Paul J. Malaspina, MD, FACS, Chair
Philip R. Wolinsky, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The workgroup seeks to advance issues that ACS members have at the state or specialty society level by maximizing the relationship with College leadership in response to these regulatory and legislative initiatives. Another important role of the workgroup is to collaborate with ACS leadership, including the Regents, to ensure that Fellows’ perspectives are used to formulate College policies and positions. A collaborative session on Firearm Violence and Children is planned for Clinical Congress 2020.

Grassroots Advocacy Engagement Workgroup

Patricia M. Byers, MD, FACS, Chair
Arun K. Gosain, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The purpose of the Grassroots Advocacy Engagement Workgroup is to enhance bidirectional communication between ACS leadership and Fellows regarding important legislative and regulatory issues that affect surgical patients, surgeons and their practices, and society.

The workgroup has implemented the semiannual distribution of SurgeonsPAC individual giving sheets to Governors to further help promote participation in the program. The workgroup continues to promote the expansion of the STOP THE BLEED® program at the state legislative level, as well as increased engagement directed at the grassroots level via the Advocate at Home program and chapter activities, such as lobby days and advocacy presentations. For Clinical Congress 2020, the workgroup developed a collaborative session, Will a Surgeon Be There? The Worsening Shortage in the U.S. Surgical Workforce, and a Late-Breaking session on Advocating for Disaster Preparedness: Leadership, Workforce, Communication.

Governors serve on the following health policy and advocacy-related ACS committees:

  • ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC (ACS Professional Association Political Action Committee)—Mika N. Sinanan, MD, PhD, FACS
  • General Surgery Coding and Reimbursement Committee—Don J. Selzer, MD, FACS
  • Health Policy and Advocacy Group—Martin A. Schreiber, MD, FACS
  • Health Policy Advisory Council—Lillian S. Kao, MD, FACS
  • Legislative Committee—Anthony J. Vine, MD, FACS

Communications Pillar

Dhiresh Rohan Jeyarajah, MD, FACS, Pillar Lead

The Communications Pillar is a conduit for bidirectional communication between the Regents and the Fellows. The Pillar participated in several joint meetings with members of the Advisory Councils, Resident and Associate Society, and Young Fellows Association (YFA), continuing conversation and collaboration on shared communication interests and efforts. The Pillar continues to focus on ways to improve the integration and engagement of Specialty Society Governors via communication efforts and other opportunities.

Newsletter Workgroup

Hiba Abel Aziz, MBBCh, FACS, Chair
Bryan K. Richmond, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The Newsletter Workgroup is currently restructuring the delivery mechanism for the The Cutting Edge: News and Notes from the Board of Governors to more effectively communicate with Governors, Regents, and Fellows to promote the B/G’s activities and improve transparency and awareness of College activities. Workgroup members shared several posts in ACS Communities to help emphasize the important resources found in the Bulletin: COVID-19 Updates and the ACS website, as well as to provide firsthand experiences and local community updates.

Survey Workgroup

David W. Butsch, MD, FACS, Chair
John P. Kirby, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The Survey Workgroup published the results of the 2019 B/G Annual Survey in several formats over the last year, including three articles in the Bulletin. The 2020 survey results on evolving surgical practice trends and needs, peer review, the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and surgeons retaining control in the surgical environment are being analyzed. Several session proposals for Clinical Congress 2021 were developed to promote awareness of survey data.

  • ACS Bulletin and NewsScope Representative: Joann Lohr, MD, FACS
  • ACS Communities Representative: James W. Suliburk, MD, FACS
  • ACS Website Representative: Juan C. Paramo, MD, FACS

Education Pillar

Andre R. Campbell, MD, FACS, Pillar Lead

As a result of the work of the Governors on the Education Pillar Workgroups, the ACS has advanced several initiatives in the last year.

Continuing Education Workgroup

Amy L. Halverson, MD, FACS, Chair
Hisakazu Hoshi, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The members of the Continuing Education Workgroup collaborated with the ACS Division of Education for several purposes, including establishing quality learning objectives, concierge education offerings, developing a national survey on state and continuous certification, ACS efforts complementing American Board of Surgery Continuous Certification, education and quality improvement collaboration initiatives, and enhancing Clinical Congress evaluations. Several session proposals also were submitted for Clinical Congress 2021.

Patient Education Workgroup

Ronald A. Squires, MD, FACS, Chair
Anne G. Rizzo, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The Patient Education Workgroup collaborated with the Division of Education by reviewing several possible patient education offerings members could use with their patients, including a video on COVID-19 and exploring new methods to support surgeons with access and delivery of patient education materials. Several joint sessions are planned to be offered at Clinical Congress 2020 on end-of-life care and optimizing healing at home.

Surgical Training Workgroup

Timothy M. Farrell, MD, FACS, Chair
Brian R. Smith, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The workgroup developed a survey on morbidity and mortality (M&M) conferences to determine the format differences throughout the U.S. and to better understand if they have an impact on the overall educational value of M&M conferences. The workgroup will present a panel session on Recruiting, Incentivizing, and Promotion of Different Generations and Diverse Workforce at Clinical Congress 2020. The workgroup also developed several session proposals for Clinical Congress 2021 on the impact of upcoming changes in U.S. Medical Licensing Exam testing on the residency application process and the impact of COVID-19 on surgical training.

Governors serve on the following related ACS committees:

  • Clinical Congress Program Committee—Sharmila Dissanaike, MD, FACS, FCCM, and Cynthia D. Downard, MD, FACS
  • Committee on Continuous Professional Development—David T. Efron, MD, FACS
  • Committee on Emerging Surgical Technology and Education—Hisakazu Hoshi, MD, FACS
  • Committee on Ethics—Anne C. Mosenthal, MD, FACS
  • Committee on Interprofessional Education and Practice—Bruce D. Schirmer, MD, FACS
  • Committee on Medical Student Education—Sarkis Hratch Meterissian, MD, FACS
  • Committee on Patient Education—Ronald A. Squires, MD, FACS
  • Committee on Resident Education—Norma Michelle Smalls, MD, FACS

Member Services Pillar

Mark A. Dobbertien, DO, FACS, Pillar Lead

The Member Services Pillar continues to strengthen both domestic and international chapters by updating and developing resources, using a chapter performance metrics, surveying all the chapters about their activities and needs, and providing best practices and strategies for chapter operations and activities. Additional outreach was undertaken to increase applications for this year’s Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards.

Chapter Activities Domestic Workgroup

Scott D. Coates, MD, FACS, Chair
Philip R. Corvo, MD, MA, FACS, Vice-Chair

The Chapter Activities Domestic Workgroup continues to focus on ways to capture the health of domestic chapters and implement important initiatives. The workgroup has been divided into five subcommittees to further these efforts:

  • Recruiting and Retaining Chapter Members: Developing best practices, value propositions, marketing templates, and so on, to promote the benefits of chapter membership to nonmembers
  • Annual Reporting of Chapter Activities: Analyzing 2019 annual report data and developing new questions for 2020
  • Events Supporting and Informing Chapter Leaders: Serving as consultants and speakers at events such as the Chapter Leadership Program and new virtual offerings
  • Engagement of YFA and Resident and Associate Society (RAS) Members: Encouraging chapters to engage Young Fellows, Associate Fellows, and Resident Members
  • Member Recruitment Grant Program: Offering small grants to chapters to help with recruitment activities

Chapter Activities International Workgroup

Richard Kwongyin Lo, MD, FACS, Chair
Jorge E. Daes, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The Chapter Activities International Workgroup continues to advocate for all ACS international chapters by assisting chapters in implementing and promoting ACS programs. To further streamline the workgroup’s efforts, objectives have been divided among three subgroups:

  • Chapter Annual Report: Analyzing 2019 annual report data and making recommendations for the 2020 Annual Report
  • Communications: Developing best practices for chapters, including increasing the use of social media and ACS Communities within international chapters
  • International Observerships/Fellowships Opportunities: Identifying surgical educational observerships/fellowships outside the U.S. and determining how best to disseminate those opportunities

International Governors have been asked to assist in several other areas, including providing COVID-19 guidelines from their respective countries, recording short videos sharing their experiences dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and submitting ideas for the Special Cases Panel for Clinical Congress 2020, as well as topics for Clinical Congress 2021.

Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards Workgroup

David Charles Williams, MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACS, Chair
Maie A. St. John, MD, PhD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The members of the Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards Workgroup conducted outreach through ACS Communities, the Bulletin, military Governors, and the Advisory Councils to further increase awareness of the awards. The workgroup has selected a slate of three recipients, which was presented to the B/G Executive Committee for approval. The award recipients will be honored at the B/G Awards Program as part of Clinical Congress 2020. The workgroup continues to improve the awards nomination process.

Governors have seats on the following related ACS committees:

  • ACS Committee on Diversity Issues—Kenneth B. Simon, MD, FACS
  • ACS Women in Surgery Committee—Hiba Abdel Aziz, MBBCh, FACS
  • International Relations Committee—Jorge E. Daes, MD, FACS
  • YFA—Michael Seth Truitt, MD, FACS

Quality, Research, and Optimal Patient Care Pillar

Nancy L. Gantt, MD, FACS, Pillar Lead

The Quality Pillar focuses on efforts to ensure that Fellows can provide the best care to surgical patients. The Pillar developed several Late-Breaking sessions for Clinical Congress 2020 on the impact of COVID-19 on surgeons and their ability to deliver high quality care during a pandemic.

Best Practices Workgroup

Christine Laronga, MD, FACS, Chair
Thomas K. Varghese Jr., MBBS, FACS, Vice-Chair

The workgroup continues to create guidelines developed from peer-reviewed best practices on topics relevant to the surgical community and to patient care. A paper on Perioperative Pain Management after Ambulatory Abdominal Surgery—ACS [and SAGES] Consensus Recommendations was submitted to the Journal of the American College of Surgery (JACS). The workgroup is working on a systematic review on perioperative nutrition with ACS Clinical Scholar Brian Brajcich, MD. A draft manuscript on how to disseminate and implement an evidenced-based guideline recently has been completed. Other efforts have focused on reviewing various Evidence-Based Decisions in Surgery modules throughout the year. The workgroup also submitted two panel session proposals for Clinical Congress 2021.

Physician Competency and Health Workgroup

Oscar Dean Guillamondegui, MD, FACS, Chair
Jo Shapiro, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The workgroup actively promotes the maintenance of physical and mental wellness in Fellows and addresses issues related to surgical competency. The workgroup will present several joint Clinical Congress 2020 sessions, including The Aging Surgeon: New Opportunities and New Challenges. A thorough review of the 2016 ACS Statement on the Aging Surgeon is under way by the workgroup. Several collaborative session proposals were submitted for Clinical Congress 2021.

Surgical Care Delivery Workgroup

Richard J. Shemin, MD, FACS, Chair
Garth A. Olds, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair

The workgroup’s primary objectives are as follows: analyze and address surgeon workforce issues, assess patient access to quality surgical care, use the electronic health record to improve delivery and physician efficiency, and evaluate the status of surgical care delivery in the ambulatory setting.

The workgroup has developed several collaborative sessions for Clinical Congress 2020 on Transitioning Back into Clinical Practice, The Hiring and Development of a New Surgical Partner, and Will a Surgeon Be There? The workgroup also has submitted several proposals on the topics of telemedicine, COVID-19, and workforce issues for Clinical Congress 2021.

Governors have seats on the following related ACS committees:

  • Committee on Perioperative Care—Richard J. Shemin, MD, FACS
  • Commission on Cancer—Carmen C. Solorzano, MD, FACS
  • Committee on Trauma—Christine S. Cocanour, MD, FACS

The Committee to Study the Fiscal Affairs of the College, chaired by Mika N. Sinanan, MD, PhD, FACS, B/G Secretary, continues to review and monitor the fiscal health of the College.

Initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic

During the pandemic, the B/G focused on several efforts to help Governors and their constituents:


  • Additional communication was sent to Governors to encourage bidirectional communication with their constituents, including a message sent from Ronald J. Weigel, MD, FACS, B/G Chair; Patricia L. Turner, MD, FACS, Director of Member Services; and Emily A. Kalata, Manager, B/G, to Governors to encouraging them to share ACS communication resources on COVID-19 and provide feedback to leadership on how the College can better serve their respective constituents.
  • Several Governors have reached out to their constituents via chapter updates (Raymond Georgen, MD, FACS, for example).
  • Several Governors have provided firsthand experiences in the Bulletin: ACS COVID-19 Updates newsletter and the ACS communities (Anthony James Vine, MD, FACS, for example).
  • The B/G Executive Committee contributed to an article in JACS on the College’s response to COVID-19.


  • The B/G Executive Committee and several international Governors have recorded videos for the Bulletin: ACS COVID-19 Updates.
  • The B/G Newsletter Workgroup scheduled a series of posts in the ACS communities to give firsthand experiences of hard-hit areas, further promote awareness of the College’s Bulletin: ACS COVID-19 Updates and resources, and to give local community updates.


  • The B/G Quality Pillar and the B/G Advocacy Pillar had several Late-Breaking sessions approved for Clinical Congress 2020:
    • Advocating for Disaster Preparedness: Leadership, Workforce, Communication
    • Strategies for Management of ARDS: What Have We Learned from the COVID-19 Experience
    • Well-Being Challenges During Crises: Preparing for the Next Pandemic
  • The B/G Surgical Training Workgroup submitted a Late-Breaking session on Strategizing Surgical Education Utilizing Virtual Platforms and Social Distancing.
  • Governors recorded videos to congratulate medical students on their completion of medical school and to welcome them to surgical residencies.

Advocacy/practice impact efforts

  • Governors were encouraged to share their practice story on SurgeonsVoice.
  • The B/G Survey Workgroup included questions related to COVID-19, such as the impact of telemedicine and practice pattern disruptions, in the 2020 annual Governors Survey.
  • International Governors shared clinical guidelines from their countries.

For more information about the B/G, visit the B/G web page. To provide comments on these and other activities, visit the B/R and B/G Online ACS Community or contact

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