More than 30,000 health care professionals—nearly 16,000 of whom practice outside of the U.S. and Canada—registered to participate in the virtual Clinical Congress 2020 October 3−7. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) leadership decided to provide the virtual meeting at no cost given the financial impact the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had on surgical practices.
The surgical education event, which provided opportunities to earn more than 200 Continuing Medical Education credits, offered attendees cutting-edge content focused on the latest scientific advances in surgery, contemporary surgical practice, systems of care, quality and outcomes, leadership, patient safety, and surgical education.
Clinical Congress 2020 included Named Lectures, the Symposium of the Academy of Master Surgeon Educators, Special Sessions on COVID-19 and other timely topics, as well as additional sessions aimed at surgical trainees and medical students. The digital approach to the meeting allowed participants to select and save sessions of interest for future access based on learning needs.
Some highlights of Clinical Congress 2020 included the opportunity to participate in the following: COVID-19-specific Special Sessions, panel presentations outlining the latest advances in cancer care, the Medical Student Program, and a session outlining the social determinants of health that contribute to firearm injury.
The following Special Sessions focused on various aspects of COVID-19:
- Academy of Master Surgeon Educators Symposium: Transformation of Residency Training in Surgery: COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond
- Leadership, Workforce, Communication during COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned
- Well-Being Challenges during COVID-19 Pandemic: Preparing for the Next Crisis
ACS Cancer Programs offered a range of educational sessions outlining the latest advances in cancer care, including the following Panel Sessions: Bringing Cancer Genetic Testing into the Mainstream; New Frontiers in Targeted Therapy in Breast Cancer: What Is the Surgeon’s Role?; and Ten Hot Topics in Surgical Oncology, to name a few.
The Medical Student Program, which convened Sunday, October 3, was developed specifically for students considering a career in surgery. Sponsored by the ACS Division of Education and the Committee on Medical Student Education, this year’s program featured sessions on the following topics: the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical education, the transition to residency, the skills necessary to become an effective teacher, residency interview techniques, and an overview of the 2020 Medical Student Program e-Poster awardees.
In a session titled Addressing the Social Determinants to Reduce Firearm Violence, five members of the ACS Committee on Trauma’s (COT) Improving Social Determinants to Attenuate Violence (ISAVE) Workgroup shared their efforts to address structural racism and the social determinants of health that contribute to violence and firearm injury.
All of these sessions provided participants with an in-depth look at important clinical and educational topics and updated attendees on key ACS initiatives where applicable.
The College welcomed more than 2,100 Initiates to ACS Fellowship at this year’s virtual Convocation. Fellows celebrating 25 and 50 years of ACS Fellowship were honored at the virtual event, and Fellows who passed away last year were acknowledged.
The 101st President of the ACS, J. Wayne Meredith, MD, FACS, MCCM, was installed at Convocation. Dr. Meredith, the Richard T. Myers Professor and Chairman, department of surgery, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, is an esteemed trauma, thoracic, and critical care surgeon. A Fellow of the College since 1990, Dr. Meredith has devoted much of his energy to ACS Trauma Programs. He served as the Medical Director of Trauma Programs (2006–2010) and Chair of the COT (2002–2006).
In his Presidential Address, Dr. Meredith urged Initiates to strive for excellence by fostering a diverse, collaborative approach to patient care (see Dr. Meredith’s Presidential Address).
H. Randolph Bailey, MD, FACS, FASCRS, was installed as First Vice-President, and Lisa A. Newman, MD, MPH, FACS, FASCO, was installed as Second Vice-President.
Dr. Bailey is a respected colon and rectal surgeon who practices at the University of Texas (UT)/McGovern Medical School, Houston. Dr. Bailey is professor of surgery and emeritus program director of the UT colon and rectal surgery residency training program. He also is chief, division of colon and rectal surgery, Memorial Hermann Hospital Texas Medical Center, and deputy chief of surgery, Houston Methodist Hospital.
Dr. Newman is director, interdisciplinary breast program; chief, division of breast surgery; and medical director, International Center for the Study of Breast Cancer Subtypes, Weill Cornell Medicine-New York Presbyterian Hospital Network. She also is an adjunct professor of breast surgery at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.
Hilary A. Sanfey, MB BCh, MHPE, FACS, FRCSI, FRCSEd(Hon), was honored with the 2020 ACS Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Sanfey is a highly regarded general surgeon, professor of surgery, and vice-chair for educational affairs at Southern Illinois University, Springfield. According to the award citation, Dr. Sanfey was selected in appreciation of “her exceptional and continuous service as a Fellow of the ACS.” The citation also acknowledges “her exemplary leadership of many professional organizations and as a mentor, teacher and trainer of the next generation of surgeons in advocating for excellence in lifelong high-quality surgical education.”
Three additional awards were presented at Convocation:
- Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Frank K. Butler, Jr., MD, FAAO, FUHM, received the ACS Distinguished Lifetime Military Contribution Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of surgery during his military service, specifically the adoption of Tactical Combat Casualty Care—the best-practice guideline for providing battlefield trauma care now being followed by U.S. and international civilian readiness teams around the world.
- Ned Z. Carp, MD, FACS, was presented with the Resident and Associate Society (RAS-ACS) Outstanding Mentor of the Year Award. Dr. Carp is chief of surgery, Lankenau Medical Center, Wynnewood, PA. Dr. Carp has been an active contributor to the Commission on Cancer (CoC), serving on the Quality Integration Committee and as the State Chair, and locally as an active member of the ACS Metropolitan Philadelphia Chapter.
- The fifth annual Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award was presented to Susan Miller Briggs, MD, MPH, FACS, in recognition of her outstanding mentorship and commitment to global trauma care. Dr. Briggs is associate professor of surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, and affiliate faculty, department of global health and social medicine, Program in Global Surgery, Boston. As the Carmella R. and Steven C. Kletjian Endowed Chair in Global Surgery since 2018, Dr. Briggs has actively recruited and hired mid-level women faculty and served as their academic mentor in achieving the next steps toward promotion.
A total of nine international surgeons were conferred Honorary Fellowship in the ACS. They are as follows (see news section of this issue for full citations):
- Prof. Wilhelmus “Willem” A. Bemelman, MD, the lead of the colorectal group in the department of surgery at the Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Prof. André Jan Louis D’Hoore, MD, PhD, professor of surgery and head of the department of abdominal surgery at University Hospital in Leuven, Belgium
- Prof. Antonio Di Cataldo, MD, FACS, chief, division of oncological surgery, University of Catania, Italy
- Prof. José Manuel Fábrega Sosa, MD, FACS, FSSO, APMC, professor of surgery, University of Panama, Panama City, and the first president and founder of the Panamanian Association of Oncological Surgery (Asociación Panameña de Cirugía Oncológica)
- Prof. Manfred Frey, MD, founder of the International Center for Facial Nerve Surgery in Vienna, Austria
- Prof. Seyed Ali Malek Hosseini, MD, president of the Iranian Society for Organ Transplantation, director of the Shiraz Organ Transplant Center, and founder of the Abo Ali Sina Charity Center
- Prof. Denis Mukengere Mukwege, MD, a Nobel Prize laureate and medical director of Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Prof. April Camilla Roslani, MBBS, MSurg, MRCSEd, FRCSEd, FRCSGlas, professor, department of surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Malaysia
- Prof. S. Raja Sabapathy, MS, MCh, DNB(Plastic), FRCSEd(Hon), FRCSGlas(Hon), chair of the department of plastic surgery, hand and microsurgery and burns, Ganja Hospital in Coimbatore, India
Clinical Congress featured 10 Named Lectures, starting with the Martin Memorial Lecture, Assuring Progress in Cancer Research during Challenging Times, which was presented immediately after the Opening Ceremony October 5. Dr. Meredith served as Presiding Officer and introduced Anthony Atala, MD, FACS, who was the Introducer for the lecture, which was given by Norman E. Sharpless, MD, Director, National Cancer Institute.
Other Named Lectures were as follows:
- Douglas E. Wood, MD, FACS, FRSCEd, the Henry N. Harkins Professor and Chair, department of surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, and ACS Regent, presented the John H. Gibbon. Jr., Lecture: Lung Cancer Screening: Saving Lives with Science and Policy.
- Nancy L. Ascher, MD, PhD, FACS, professor of surgery, University of California San Francisco, presented the Charles G. Drake History of Surgery Lecture: Transplantation Surgery in the 21st Century.
- Nancy N. Baxter, MD, FACS, FRCSC, head of the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, Australia, presented the I.S. Ravdin Lecture in the Basic and Surgical Sciences: Using Yesterday’s Data Today to Improve Care and Outcomes Tomorrow.
- James W. Fleshman, Jr., MD, FACS, FASCRS, the Sparkman Endowed Professor and chair, department of surgery, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, TX, presented the Herand Abcarian Lecture: Quality, Leadership, and Zero Harm.
- Jonathan Woodson, MD, FACS, USAR, director, Institute for Health System Innovation & Policy, Boston University, MA, presented the Excelsior Surgical Society/Edward D. Churchill Lecture: American Surgery: The Imperative to Lead and Evolve at the Speed of Relevance.
- Gregory J. Jurkovich, MD, FACS, distinguished professor of surgery, Lloyd F. & Rosemargaret Donant Chair in Trauma Medicine, and vice-chair of the department of surgery, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, presented the Scudder Oration on Trauma: I’m Not Comfortable with This.
- Caprice Greenberg, MD, MPH, FACS, tenured professor of surgery and the Morgridge Distinguished Chair in Health Services Research, University of Wisconsin, Madison, presented the Olga M. Jonasson Lecture: Seen and Unseen: Digital Divides in Health Care and the Workplace.
- Robert D. Truog, MD, the Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Medical Ethics, Anaesthesia, and Pediatrics and director, Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; and senior associate in critical care medicine, department of anesthesiology, critical care, and pain medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, presented the John J. Conley Ethics and Philosophy Lecture: Microethics: The Ethics of Everyday Practice.
- Sir Murray S. Brennan, GNZM, MD, FACS, senior vice-president of International Programs and Benno C. Schmidt Chair in Clinical Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, presented the CoC Oncology Lecture: Cancer Care: Medicine Meet Math.
The Committee for the Owen H. Wangensteen Scientific Forum dedicated the 2020 Scientific Forum to Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, FACS. Dr. Eberlein is the Bixby Professor and chair, department of surgery, and the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor and Director, the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center. He is senior associate dean for cancer programs and surgeon-in-chief, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
Practicing surgeons, residents, and medical students were recognized for their contributions to advancing the art and science of surgery. Recipients honored with the 2020 Owen H. Wangensteen Scientific Forum Excellence in Research Awards included the following: Christopher T. Aquina, MD, MPH; Stas Amato, MD; Nathan Baggett, MD; Michaela C. Bamdad, MD, MHS; Ezra S. Brooks; Anthony S. Casabianca, MD, MS; Jose L. Cataneo, MD; Peter G. Delaney, EMT-B; Mark A. Eid, MD; Jeremy Fridling, NREMT-P; Mariam N. Hantouli, MD; Nathan S. Haywood, MD; Elizabeth M. Huffman, MD; Ian M. Kratzke, MD; Claire Li, MD; Julia L. Nugent, MD; Deven C. Patel, MD, MS; Jordan Secor, MD; Joanna Swinarska, MS4; Zheng hong Tan; Patrick R. Varley, MD, MSc; Chelsea M. Viscardi, MS3; Lumeng J. Yu, MD; and Muhammad Zeeshan, MD.
A total of 495 abstracts were accepted as e-Posters this year, and 11 were chosen as Scientific Forum e-Posters of Exceptional Merit.
Other awards and honors
Recipients of the 2020 ACS/Pfizer Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards provided an overview of their significant volunteerism efforts at a Panel Session on Humanitarian Surgical Outreach at Home and Abroad: Reports of the 2020 Volunteerism and Humanitarian Award Winners. Recipients were selected by the Board of Governors Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards Workgroup.
The ACS/Pfizer Surgical Volunteerism Awards recognize ACS Fellows and members who are committed to giving back to society through significant contributions to surgical care as volunteers. Three awards were granted in 2020. Robert Riviello, MD, MPH, FACS, a trauma, burn, and acute care surgeon in Boston, MA, received an International Surgical Volunteerism Award for his work in improving access to medical care for populations in sub-Saharan Africa. Arthur L. Trask, MD, FACS, a retired general surgeon in Springfield, MO, received an International Surgical Volunteerism Award for his 30 years of providing essential surgical care in Haiti. Aaron Epstein, MD, a general surgery resident at the State University of New York, Buffalo, received a Resident Volunteerism Award for his work as founder and president of the not-for-profit medical humanitarian organization Global Surgical and Medical Support Group.
The CoC recognized the winners of its annual Cancer Research Paper Competition. Eugene Cone, MD, a second-year fellow in urologic oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, is one of two first-place winners for his paper titled “Effects of delays in cancer treatment on survival outcomes.” Xiang Gao, MD, MPH, a general surgery resident at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, also received first place for her paper titled “Cancer treatments in hospitals by Commission on Cancer accreditation and rurality.” Drs. Cone and Gao each received a $1,000 honorarium plus an invitation to record and post their presentations on the ACS Cancer Programs website. Susanna de Geus, MD, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of surgery, Boston Medical Center, Boston University Medical School, was the runner-up for her paper “Volume of complex cancer operations near the pancreas favorably influences pancreaticoduodenectomy outcomes at low-volume pancreas surgery centers.” She received $500 and an invitation to record and post her presentation on the Cancer Programs website.
The CoC honored two State Chairs for outstanding performance in 2020: Quyen Chu, MD, FACS, Louisiana State Chair and CoC Liaison Vice-Chair; and James McCormick, DO, FACS, Pennsylvania State Chair.
Rochelle Dicker, MD, FACS, received the 2020 National Safety Council (NSC) Surgeons Award for Service to Safety. Dr. Dicker, professor of surgery and anesthesia, vice-chair for critical care, chief of surgical critical care, associate trauma director, University of California-Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, was recognized for her commitment to firearm injury prevention and support for victims of firearm violence. Specifically, she is leading the development of hospital-based violence intervention programs across the U.S. and is developing initiatives to address the social determinants of violence.
The Excelsior Surgical Society hosted its fifth annual meeting. Julie A. Freischlag, MD, MD, FACS, FRCSEd(Hon), DFSVS, 2020–2021 ACS President-Elect, delivered the Army Major John P. Pryor Lecture, titled Trust in Action.
The ACS History and Archives Committee presented first- and second-place awards for the annual History of Surgery Poster Competition. The first-place winners were Susan Wilson, resident scholar, Women’s Studies Program, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA; Megan Catalano, premedical student, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA; and Jane Arbuckle Petro, MD, FACS, plastic surgeon, New York Medical College, Jamaica Plain, for the poster titled Susan Dimock, MD, Pioneer Female Surgeon, 1870s. Second place was awarded to Melanie Fritz, Boston University School of Medicine, MA, for The Rise and Fall of Gender Identity Clinics in the 1960s and 1970s.
The 18th annual ACS Resident Award for Exemplary Teaching was presented to Sophia K. McKinley, MD, administrative chief resident in general surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. The award is sponsored by the ACS Division of Education to recognize a resident’s excellence in teaching and to highlight the importance of teaching in residents’ daily lives. Dr. McKinley was selected by an independent review panel of the ACS Committee on Resident Education.
The eighth annual Jameson L. Chassin, MD, FACS, Award for Professionalism in General Surgery was presented to Neal Bhutiani, MD, administrative chief resident in general surgery, University of Louisville, KY. The award recognizes a chief resident in general surgery who exemplifies the values of compassion, technical skill, and devotion to science and learning. The ACS established the award with gifts from the Chassin family, colleagues, and friends of the late Dr. Chassin, who was a skilled surgeon, teacher, and scholar in New York. Dr. Bhutiani was selected by an independent review panel of the Committee on Resident Education.
Scott Damrauer, MD, FACS, assistant professor of surgery, division of vascular surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, received the 16th Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson II Promising Investigator Award administered by the ACS Surgical Research Committee. Dr. Damrauer received the award in recognition of the use of his clinical vascular surgery experience in research to inform population-scale genomic research.
The Committee on Medical Student Education recognized the following students as first- and second-place winners in their respective categories at the Medical Student Program e-Poster Session:
- Clinical Research category: Sahaja Atluri, University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine; and Evan J. Keil, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis
- Basic Science category: Samantha R. Prince, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and Chi Chi Do-Nguyen, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, PA
- Education, Innovation, and Outcomes Research Category: Jacob C. Hubbuch, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, and Hans E. Drawbert, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University, Miami
Annual Business Meeting
The Annual Business Meeting of Members convened October 7, with Dr. Meredith presiding. The following ACS officials presented reports: Beth H. Sutton, MD, FACS, Chair of the Board of Regents (B/R); Ronald J. Weigel, MD, PhD, FACS, Chair of the B/G; David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, ACS Executive Director; E. Christopher Ellison, MD, FACS, Chair of the Board of Directors of the ACS Foundation; and William G. Cioffi, Jr., MD, FACS, Chair of the Board of Directors of the ACS Professional Association Political Action Committee.
In addition, Fellows were elected to serve as ACS officials in 2020−2021. The President-Elect is Dr. Freischlag. The First Vice-President-Elect is Quan-Yang Duh, MD, FACS, professor of surgery, division of general surgery, and chief, section of endocrine surgery; he also is attending surgeon, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco. The Second Vice-President-Elect is Richard A. Lynn, MD, FACS, RPVI, a retired general (vascular) surgeon in West Palm Beach, FL.
The B/R also installed new leaders and elected new members. The new Chair of the B/R is L. Scott Levin, MD, FACS, an internationally renowned hand surgeon and microsurgeon and Paul B. Magnuson Professor of Bone and Joint Surgery and chair, department of orthopaedic surgery, and professor of surgery (plastic surgery), University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia. The new Vice-Chair is Steven D. Wexner, MD, PhD(Hon), FACS, FRCSEng, FRCSEd, FRCSI(Hon), FRCSGlasg(Hon), chair, department of colorectal surgery, and director, Digestive Disease Institute, Cleveland Clinic Florida, Weston.
Four surgeons were elected to the ACS B/R, two from the U.S. and two from Canada. From the U.S., Annesley (AJ) W. Copeland, MD, FACS, a general surgeon, is associate professor of surgery and surgery core clerkship director, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, and attending surgeon, Walter Reed Army Medical Center/Walter Reed Military Medical Center, Bethesda. David J. Welsh, MD, MBA, FACS, a general rural surgeon, works in private practice in Batesville, IN. He provides general and vascular surgery working in association with Margaret Mary Community Hospital, Batesville, and is in active practice at Decatur County Memorial Hospital, Greenville, and Rush Memorial Hospital, Rushville. From Canada, Francoise P. Chagnon, MD, FACS, FRCSC, an otolaryngologist, is associate professor, department of medicine, Université de Montréal, QC, and associate professor, department of otolaryngology, McGill University, Montréal. Sean C. Grondin, MD, MPH, FACS, FRCS, a cardiothoracic surgeon, is professor of surgery and head of the department of surgery, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, AB, and Calgary Zone Clinical Department Head, Alberta Health Services.
In addition, two surgeons were reelected to the B/R: Gary L. Timmerman, MD, FACS, a general surgeon and attending surgeon, Sanford Surgical Associates, and professor and chair, department of surgery, Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota, Sioux Falls; and Dr. Wood, a cardiothoracic surgeon.
The following Officers of the B/G Executive Committee were elected:
- Chair (reelected): Dr. Weigel, professor and chair of surgery, and associate vice-president, UI Health Alliance; and professor of surgery-surgical oncology and endocrine surgery, professor of biochemistry, professor of anatomy and cell biology, and professor of molecular physiology and biophysics, University of Iowa.
- Vice-Chair: Nancy Lynn Gantt, MD, FACS, professor of surgery, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Rootstown, OH, and co-medical director, Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center, St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital Center, OH. Dr. Gantt is the outgoing Quality Pillar Lead.
- Secretary: Andre Campbell, MD, FACS, FACP, FCCM, professor of surgery, division of general surgery; director, surgery 110 clerkship; and director, surgical critical care fellowship, University of California San Francisco. Dr. Campbell is the outgoing Education Pillar Lead.
New members of the B/G Executive Committee elected to serve one-year terms include the following:
- Ross F. Goldberg, MD, FACS, vice-chair, department of surgery, and specialty ambulatory medical director, Valleywise Health, and associate professor of surgery at both the Creighton University School of Medicine and University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix
- Bryan K. Richmond, MD, MBA, FACS, professor of surgery and chair, department of surgery, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Charleston
- Anne G. Rizzo, MD, FACS, trauma and critical care surgeon, Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, VA
- Danielle Saunders Walsh, MD, FACS, FAAP, associate professor of surgery, division of pediatric surgery, East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Medical Center; and director of surgical quality, James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital, Greenville, NC
One member of the B/G Executive Committee was reappointed: Mark Alan Dobbertien, DO, FACS, a minimally invasive surgeon in Jacksonville, FL. He is affiliated with Naval Hospital Jacksonville and Flagler Hospital, St. Augustine, FL.
Member engagement activities
The virtual Clinical Congress 2020 made several digital member engagement activities available to attendees. New this year, the ACS launched the Clinical Congress Social Surgeons Program, in which a panel of 26 surgeons posted about the conference on Twitter and were easily followable by using the #CCSocialSurgeons hashtag. The Surgeons Who Selfie initiative encouraged participants to take photos of themselves watching Clinical Congress with a watch party, with a colleague, from their hospitals, and more and to post the pictures to Twitter using the #CC20selfie hashtag. The Wellness Step Challenge suggested surgeons keep active during the conference and to track their steps using their own step trackers; the top three winners were awarded prizes.
In recognition of the original in-person meeting location for Clinical Congress 2020, the ACS also offered a number of virtual tours through Chicago museums and landmarks, including the Field Museum, the DuSable Museum of African American History, the Adler Planetarium, and more. This year’s Taste of Chicago event provided links for attendees to order and ship iconic Chicago food to their homes.
Clinical Congress 2021
Clinical Congress 2021 is scheduled to take place October 24−28. Details regarding the educational program, registration, housing, and transportation will be posted as they become available on the ACS website.