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Become a member and receive career-enhancing benefits

Our top priority is providing value to members. Your Member Services team is here to ensure you maximize your ACS member benefits, participate in College activities, and engage with your ACS colleagues. It's all here.

Become a Member
Become a member and receive career-enhancing benefits

Our top priority is providing value to members. Your Member Services team is here to ensure you maximize your ACS member benefits, participate in College activities, and engage with your ACS colleagues. It's all here.

Membership Benefits

Chapter Annual Report Pinpoints Best Practices, New Initiatives

Luke Moreau and Brian Frankel

June 7, 2023

ACS chapters are a significant benefit of membership and have been a vital part of the College’s governance structure for more than 70 years.

Currently, there are 119 charted ACS chapters in all 50 states, two US Territories, three Canadian provinces, and 51 countries. On average, one to two new international chapters are chartered by the ACS Board of Regents each year.

International chapter leaders are directly involved in the interview process of Fellowship applicants. Due to the efforts of the ACS international chapter leaders, the College continues to experience year-over-year growth in the number of new international Fellows.

While chapters work closely with the College, they are legally independent and have the autonomy to choose how to support ACS membership at the local level.

The ACS chapters vary significantly in size and scope of activities, but generally offer members the following benefits:

  • Networking opportunities to build strong professional relationships with surgical peers
  • Opportunities to participate in advocacy activities at the state and federal levels
  • Educational meetings that offer continuing medical education (CME)
  • Leadership opportunities within the chapter council that can translate to future ACS leadership roles
  • Engagement and mentorship opportunities for young surgeons, trainees, and medical students
  • Volunteerism opportunities (domestic and international)
Figure 1
Figure 1

Chapter Annual Report

Each January, chapter leaders are sent an “annual report.” Known as the Chapter Annual Report, this series of questions about the chapter’s activities from the previous calendar year allows chapters to highlight accomplishments and success stories while identifying areas where they may benefit from further support.

In addition, the annual report includes assessments in each of the following domains: administration and management; membership recruitment and retention; young surgeon and trainee engagement; communications; finances; educational programming and events; and advocacy (US-based chapters only).

Chapter Services, the unit within the ACS Division of Member Services that supports these regional organizations, has developed this report in conjunction with the Board of Governors Chapter Activities Domestic and International Workgroups.

For the sixth consecutive year, 100% of domestic and international chapters completed the Chapter Annual Report. The high completion rate has allowed Chapter Services and Governor Workgroups to benchmark and identify several best practices in chapter management and develop new initiatives to assist chapters. Once the analysis is complete, chapter leaders receive a personalized report on how their chapter compares to the aggregated data of all chapter responses.

“As a chapter leader, the feedback we receive from the Chapter Annual Report is invaluable. It’s like ACS NSQIP® for chapters,” said Mark A. Dobbertien, DO, FACS, a general surgeon and President of the ACS Florida Chapter. “We can see how our chapter compares to the aggregate and make improvements based on what works for other chapters. The Florida Chapter leadership always looks forward to receiving the information each year to guide our innovation and engagement with Fellows for the following year.”

Several positive trends emerged from the 2022 reports, including increased engagement to pre-COVID-19 levels, enhanced participation of young Fellows and surgical trainees, and the return of in-person events. The report also revealed that lower member engagement and financial issues from declining dues collection and exhibitor support persisted in 2022. 

Health of ACS Chapters

Chapter leaders were asked to self-report on a five-point scale (poor, fair, good, very good, excellent) the overall health of their chapters and how they perceive communication, education, recruitment and retention, and advocacy efforts.

  • 74% of domestic and 72% of international chapters rated their overall health between good and excellent (see Figure 1).
  • 76% of domestic and 64% of international chapters rated their communication efforts as good to excellent.
  • 79% of domestic and 68% of international chapters rated their educational efforts as good to excellent (see Figure 2).
  • 64% of domestic and 68% of international chapters rated their recruitment and retention efforts as good to excellent (see Figure 3).
  • 49% of domestic chapters rated their advocacy efforts as good to excellent. 19% of chapters reported they are not involved in state advocacy.

Overall, chapters are moving in a positive direction post-pandemic, but there are strategies that chapters can adopt to reflect the efforts of highly successful chapters.

Figure 2
Figure 2

Strategies for Chapter Success

The following strategies for chapter success were developed using previous Chapter Annual Report data.

Chapter leaders should consider these best practices for chapter management when developing engagement strategies in the coming years.

  • Develop a strong leadership team. The leadership team should be composed of dedicated surgeon volunteers, ideally with a succession plan in place. Currently, 75% of domestic and 79% of international chapters have a leadership succession plan in place. Boards/councils should meet at least three times per year to discuss chapter business.
  • Establish and measure goals and objectives. Setting clear goals and objectives will help guide the chapter’s activities and initiatives and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the broader mission of the ACS.
  • Evaluate chapter performance. Regular assessment and evaluation of chapter performance will help identify areas for improvement and guide strategic planning. This strategy could include collecting member feedback through surveys and tracking performance metrics (e.g., dues collection, vendor support).
  • Provide leadership opportunities. Chapters are strongly encouraged to have at least one Young Fellow representative, Associate Fellow representative, and Resident representative on their board/council. 91% of domestic and 77% of international chapters reported that they actively engage Young Fellows. 88% of domestic and 62%of international chapters reported that they engage Resident Members.
  • Foster diversity and inclusivity. ACS chapters should continue to explore diversity, equity, and inclusion opportunities in their activities and leadership structure. Currently, 46% of domestic and 63% of international chapters noted that they consider a diverse spectrum of individuals when electing or appointing chapter leaders.
  • Provide educational and networking opportunities. Chapters should hold regular educational and/or networking events for chapter members. It is recommended that at least one annual, in-person, and one virtual meeting be held each year. CME credits should be offered whenever possible.
  • Advocate on behalf of surgeons and patients. Chapters should play an active role in advocating for practicing surgeons and surgical patients, particularly at the state level. Chapters are uniquely positioned to allow members to share their insights into the challenges that surgeons and patients face within the healthcare system. For example, 100% of chapters supported House Legislation (HR 8800) to stop looming Medicare payment cuts of nearly 8.5%. The ACS offers staff and financial resources to all chapters interested in developing a state advocacy program.
  • Communicate. Chapter leaders must communicate the value of being a local chapter member through multiple channels, including email, social media, newsletters, and short videos. 49% of domestic and 57% of international chapters use social media as part of their communication plans. Make sure the chapter website is updated regularly.
  • Ensure compliance. Chapters should comply with all local regulations governing non-profit organizations. Review chapter bylaws regularly to ensure proper alignment with the governance structure of the chapter. Chapters must file taxes each year, and each chapter should be incorporated with the state.

All ACS members are encouraged to join their local chapters. A list of chapters can be found on the ACS website. Chapter leaders should contact Luke Moreau (lmoreau@facs.org), Manager of Domestic Chapter Services, or Brian Frankel (bfrankel@facs.org), Manager of International Chapter Services, with any questions regarding chapter management.

Figure 3
Figure 3

Luke Moreau is Manager of Domestic Chapter Services in the ACS Division of Member Services in Chicago, IL