Serving as a busy surgeon or surgical trainee is always a balancing act. Making time to fill a seat on one committee often means leaving an unfilled seat someplace else. Each time a surgeon is unable to attend a meeting leads to less inclusivity at future meetings, as these are often scheduled by, and with flexibility for, those who were in attendance. Allocating time for the myriad duties of a surgeon often is a game of musical chairs that requires prioritizing patient care at the expense of advocacy-related efforts that also benefit our patients and our careers.
Social media has proven a powerful tool for, and an amplifier of, the surgeon’s voice. It provides flexibility for surgeons, allowing them to advocate for essential issues between cases or at the end of the day. However, translating this public dissemination of knowledge and information into actionable initiatives requires additional time and effort. The leaders of the Residents and Associates Society of the American College of Surgeons (RAS-ACS) anticipate that this issue of the Bulletin will motivate young surgeons to become and remain active in local and national efforts to improve the quality of care for their patients and to work toward addressing policies that affect surgical practice.
In this issue, the RAS-ACS offers six articles from its committees and workgroups. The topics include the following:
- The effect of policy on surgical education and the need for education on policy
- Past successes and current issues relevant to surgeons
- Firearm injury prevention efforts
- Initiatives of surgical societies
- Road traffic injuries and public health advocacy on a global scale
- Young surgeon involvement in health care advocacy
We thank the ACS and the Bulletin for providing a platform for RAS-ACS members to discuss surgeon advocacy. Each article provides insights and resources for those surgeons and trainees interested in health care policy.
Residents, fellows, and new faculty are encouraged to join any RAS standing committee, including the Advocacy and Issues Committee, Associate Fellows Committee, Communications Committee, Education Committee, Membership Committee, and the Global Surgery Work Group.