Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS
December 1, 2022
It is hard to believe that 2022 is almost in the rearview mirror. As I near the end of my first year as Executive Director and CEO, I want to take a moment to celebrate our accomplishments and outline the road ahead as we continue to move our specialty forward and strengthen the House of Surgery together.
First, I want to thank everyone who participated in our recent Clinical Congress in San Diego. It was amazing to be back together for the first time in 3 years, and the camaraderie, enthusiasm, and energy were extraordinary.
We welcomed world-renowned experts, featured cutting-edge innovations, and presented exciting new research and educational programming. Thank you, sincerely, to the dedicated staff, leaders, surgeon faculty, and subject matter experts—you made it possible!
More than 9,600 people joined us in person, with more than 2,000 others taking advantage of the virtual option. Altogether, registrants represented individuals from all surgical specialties, from all career levels, and from 116 countries.
You can read more about the sessions, learn how to access the on-demand content, see an assortment of photos, and get additional factoids about the meeting in a special Clinical Congress recap.
For nearly 3 years, surgeons, frontline workers, and their teams made remarkable sacrifices to treat patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many experienced stress and burnout, while at the same time realizing just how resilient and resourceful we can be.
As we emerge from the pandemic, individuals and organizations—including the ACS—are refining their priorities and recalibrating tactics.
Moving into 2023, the ACS is being particularly strategic with program development and more innovative with technology. For example, we recognize that not every member can attend the full Clinical Congress, we would all benefit from a more individualized approach to specialty content, and we know that everyone wants to be able to access high-quality and innovative education close to home and when convenient.
Your ACS staff and surgeon leaders have been working diligently to bring best in class to you. Webinars, toolkits, virtual seminars, in-person lectures, and skills-based courses are all part of what the ACS offers. Education in every format for all career stages is designed to help you excel, advance, and grow.
Additional developments will occur over the next few years, and they will deepen the value proposition for surgeons of all specialties. We currently have more than 84,000 members around the world, and our ACS chapters continue to grow in number and strength. We now have 119 chapters, including our newest chapters in the UK, Costa Rica, Bahrain, and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Through a new pilot launched this year to waive resident dues for the 2022–2023 academic year, we also expect to increase resident participation in the ACS—and we are confident that residents of every surgical specialty, who are exposed to the career development resources, education, quality programs, and scholarship and grants opportunities that we offer—will become ACS members for life.
Helping our members provide the highest quality patient care has been the top priority for the ACS for the past 110 years, and it will continue to be the top priority.
This past year, we celebrated the centennials and outstanding accomplishments of the Committee on Trauma and the Commission on Cancer. They have both helped transform clinical care and significantly improved outcomes for trauma and cancer patients around the world.
Learn more about the numerous and impressive accomplishments of the ACS staff and volunteers on behalf of the House of Surgery in the ACS 2021–2022 Annual Report.
One key to the strength, durability, and success of the ACS is our partnerships with other organizations.
In September, the ACS welcomed professionals from 47 multidisciplinary medical societies and health organizations for a Medical Summit on Firearm Injury Prevention (see the October Bulletin). In October, through our long-term collaboration with the military, we launched a Military Clinical Readiness Curriculum, which is a free online resource that provides valuable education for all surgeons who treat trauma victims; and in November, the ACS, American Academy of Family Physicians, and American College of Physicians jointly authored an opinion piece in Modern Healthcare about the urgent need for Congress to halt Medicare payment cuts that take effect on January 1 and fix the broken Medicare payment system.
If you practice in the US and haven’t yet contacted your lawmakers on this issue that affects our patients’ access to care, please do so today at facs.org/surgeonsvoice.
We know activism works. We know that our voices matter.
As I wrote in my October column, surgeon advocacy led to recent wins in two states. Based on the ACS STOP THE BLEED® program, California became the first state in the nation to require installation of trauma bleeding control kits in new buildings where people congregate; in New York, fellows and residents who initially did not qualify for that state’s $1.2 billion healthcare worker bonus program related to care of COVID patients now can collect the bonus.
Together, we accomplished a lot in 2022, and I am confident that we can achieve even more in 2023, including increasing awareness about the power of quality among hospitals, lawmakers, regulatory agencies, payers, and the public.
An integrated, multiyear campaign launches early next year aimed at increasing participation in our Quality Programs and leading to inclusion of quality measures in healthcare reform legislation, a greater adoption of ACS quality metrics in CMS and private payer formulas, and a greater demand from the public to be cared for by a quality verified facility. More details about the campaign are in this issue and forthcoming.
You can read more about the numerous and impressive accomplishments of the ACS staff and volunteers on behalf of the House of Surgery in my annual report to the membership (see sidebar).
As always, I look forward to hearing from you, and I hope to see you at upcoming events, including the Leadership & Advocacy Summit (April 15–18) in Washington, DC, the Quality & Safety Conference (July 7–13) in Minneapolis, MN, and Clinical Congress 2023 (October 22–26) in Boston, MA. A new hotel just opened adjacent to the Boston meeting space, which will lead to a fantastic experience in the city.
Thank you for your membership in the ACS. I wish you, your colleagues, and your family happy holidays and a healthy, safe, and productive new year. Please look for a fresh and redesigned Bulletin in January and engage with us on all of the new fronts in store for our organization.