The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Program Committee has planned another exciting Clinical Congress for October 23–27, 2021. The conference will take place virtually again this year because of safety concerns as new variants of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) emerge both in the U.S. and around the world, largely among unvaccinated populations. However, this year’s program will provide a broader array of learning opportunities than we were able to offer last year using the virtual platform, including Postgraduate Didactic and Skills Courses and the Surgical Forum.
J. Wayne Meredith, MD, FACS, MCCM, ACS President 2020–2021, has selected Resilience in the Pursuit of Excellence as this year’s theme. The Program Committee, under the leadership of Henri R. Ford, MD, MHA, FACS, and the ACS Division of Education, led by Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS, FRCSC, FSACME, MAMSE, has developed an outstanding, leading-edge Scientific Program to address critical education and training needs and equip surgeons with the knowledge and skills to achieve the best outcomes in the ever-changing environment of health care.
This year, we are bringing back Postgraduate Courses to ensure that attendees have access to the leading-edge skills and knowledge they need to fulfill their commitment to lifelong learning.
Focus on the future
As in years past, the first two days will focus largely on the future practitioners of our profession: residents and medical students. A Panel Session titled Resident Autonomy: The Next Frontier of Surgical Education will be offered at 12:00 noon Central Time on Saturday, October 23. Other Panel Sessions that day will cover inequities in surgery residency training and how residents can get involved in the ACS.
On Sunday, October 24, we will kick off the Surgery Resident Program at Clinical Congress: Essential Skills for Surgery Residents, followed by the Resident and Associate Society (RAS) Symposium that afternoon.
In addition, hundreds of medical students will participate in a program designed to introduce them to surgeon leaders and the ACS. This program will be offered Saturday, October 23.
Convocation and Opening Ceremony
Convocation will convene Sunday night, 6:00–8:00 pm. At this event we will welcome the Initiates and install our new Officers. Julie A. Freischlag, MD, FACS, will be installed as the 102nd President of the ACS and will deliver her Presidential Address, and we will present awards to esteemed Fellows, including the Distinguished Service Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Distinguished Lifetime Military Contribution Award, the RAS Outstanding Mentor of the Year Award, and the Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award. In addition, we will confer Honorary Fellowship on a number of distinguished international surgeons.
The Opening Ceremony will take place Monday morning, signaling the official start of the educational program of Clinical Congress 2021. Attendees will be introduced to our new President, Dr. Freischlag, and her focus of interest for the coming year, and I will provide an update on College activities.
The virtual 2021 Clinical Congress Program addresses essential clinical and nonclinical content. An exciting series of Named Lectures will again be delivered by world-renowned experts in their respective fields. Highlights include the following:
- Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD, will present the Martin Memorial Lecture, 8:30−9:30 am Central Time, Monday, October 25, immediately following the Opening Ceremony. ACS Regent Anthony Atala, MD, FACS, will introduce Dr. Fauci.
- Heidi Nelson, MD, FACS, Director, ACS Cancer Programs, will give the Herand Abcarian Lecture, 9:00−9:55 am Central Time Tuesday, October 26. She will address present-day issues in surgical oncology and how the College is ensuring cancer patients have access to quality care.
- Lenworth M. Jacobs, Jr., MD, FACS, MD, MPH, DSc(Hon), FACS, FWACS(Hon), Medical Director, STOP THE BLEED® Program, will provide the Scudder Oration on Trauma, Tuesday, October 26.
Postgraduate Courses are back
Last year, we omitted Postgraduate Courses from the virtual Clinical Congress in order to provide all content free of charge. This year, we are bringing back Postgraduate Courses to ensure that attendees have access to the leading-edge skills and knowledge they need to fulfill their commitment to lifelong learning.
Examples of Didactic Courses that will be presented this year include the following:
- Global Health Competencies for Surgeons: Cognitive and System Skills, Saturday, October 23
- Technical Standards for Cancer Surgery: Bringing Evidence into Practice, Tuesday, October 26
- Fluorescence Imaging in My Practice: Evidence and Indications, Wednesday, October 27
Scheduled Skills Courses include the following:
- Advanced Robotic Surgery for Complex Abdominal Cancers, Saturday, October 23
- Endoscopic Management of GI Bleeding for the Acute Care Surgeon, Sunday, October 24
- Advanced Therapeutic Colonoscopy and Endoluminal Surgery, Monday, October 25
- Contemporary Strategies for Minimally Invasive Hernia Repair, Tuesday, October 26
- Ultrasound-Guided Resuscitation for Trauma and Critically Ill Patients, Wednesday, October 27
For the last few years, the Clinical Congress has hosted three Special Sessions on timely topics of interest to ACS Fellows. This year we will offer the following:
- Surgery Residency Training Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic: Perspectives from the ACS Academy of Master Surgeon EducatorsTM, Monday, October 25
- Should the COVID-19 Vaccination be Mandatory?, Tuesday, October 26
- Special Session III (topic to be determined), Wednesday, October 27, which will center on an issue of emerging relevance
Claim Your CME
More than 105 Panel Sessions on relevant and timely topics will be offered, and the Scientific Forum will include many exciting surgical research presentations and ePosters. We also are offering a range of Video-Based Education Sessions. For a complete overview of the program, see the July issue of the Bulletin or go to facs.org/clincon2021/educational-program.
The program content will remain accessible for a full year after the meeting for on-demand viewing. More than 200 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ will be available. Attendees may claim Continuing Medical Education credits until February 1, 2022, following participation in the five-day program or through subsequent review of the recorded content.
The leadership of the ACS looks forward to your participation in the Virtual Clinical Congress 2021. We also recognize that some members may be disappointed that we chose to use a virtual format for this year’s meeting. This decision was made after considerable deliberation and to ensure attendee safety in light of the fact some convention center staff, exhibitors, and others may not be fully vaccinated and the emergence of new variants of COVID-19. The plan moving forward is to offer a hybrid program that combines the best of both formats—live events, where we can all interact and network in person, and a range of sessions that can be accessed virtually.
Until then, I look forward to your participation in the Virtual Clinical Congress 2021. Stay tuned to facs.org/clincon2021 for more information as it becomes available.
If you have comments or suggestions about this or other issues, please send them to Dr. Hoyt at firstname.lastname@example.org.