American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

In March 2008, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) established the Health Policy Research Institute (HPRI)—under the direction of George F. Sheldon, MD, FACS, and Thomas C. Ricketts III, MPH, PhD—to facilitate the scholarly assessment of the role of surgery and surgical services in the evolving health care environment. The Institute was created in response to the need for high-quality and relevant data on the health care system, the economy, surgical  workforce, graduate medical education, and society particularly as these factors affect surgeons and their surgical patients. 

The Institute is headquartered at the ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy (DAHP) office in Washington, DC. It was previously based at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). In its initial three years, the HPRI focused on developing internal organizational capacity, establishing partnerships with relevant organizations to facilitate collaborative research efforts, and creating a foundation of knowledge about the supply and need for surgical services in the United States for policy-making and research purposes.

The ACS HPRI currently has two university research units—the Surgery Workforce Policy Program and the Center for Surgery and Public Health—that serve solely as collaborating centers. The HPRI is managed by Thomas C. Ricketts III, PhD, MPH, HPRI Managing Director; and Erin Fraher, PhD, director, North Carolina Health Professionals Data System.


The mission of the ACS HPRI is to improve the understanding of surgical patient care from a policy perspective in order to educate the public, federal and state governments, health care consumers, and the policy community to enable advocacy for superior, efficient, and compassionate surgical patient care. The goal of the HPRI is to create a data-driven, knowledge-based program for examining issues related to surgical services, the surgical workforce, and public policies affecting surgery. 

The creation of this Institute is in response to the need for high-quality and relevant data on the health care system, the economy, and society as each affects surgical patients and practitioners. Specifically, the HPRI strives to address the following major issues:

  • Understanding and predicting surgical manpower issues affecting the care of the surgical patient
  • Understanding how emerging technology affects care of the surgical patient
  • Developing meaningful surgical quality guidelines based on sound research
  • Understanding the impact of health care economics and medicolegal environments upon surgical patients
  • Providing an educational environment for health policy and socioeconomic scholarship
  • Providing an effective legislative communication system to affect improvements in quality and delivery of surgical care