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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

Clinical Congress 2023 Highlights

December 6, 2023

The ACS Clinical Congress 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts, provided opportunities for surgeons, residents, medical students, and other healthcare professionals, both domestic and international, to hone their surgical skills and knowledge and interact with their peers, ACS leaders, and staff.

More than 12,000 individuals participated in the event, with nearly 11,000 traveling to Boston and more than 1,300 thousand engaging virtually and accessing the conference’s content on demand, marking a strong return to prepandemic attendance figures. All registrants can view on-demand content through May 1, 2024, and registration remains open for new participants.

This article summarizes some of the highlights.


Dr. Ronald Stewart received the 2023 Distinguished Service Award for his many leadership roles in ACS trauma efforts.


This year, 1,674 surgeons were initiated into ACS Fellowship following an inspiring procession of ACS leaders and invited guests. Secretary Sherry M. Wren, MD, FACS, FCS(ECSA), presented the Great Mace.

During the hour-long program, seven international surgeons were conferred Honorary Fellowship, several of the College’s most prestigious annual awards were presented, and 2022–2023 ACS President E. Christopher Ellison, MD, FACS, led the installation of new officers, including Henri R. Ford, MD, MHA, FACS, as President, Tyler G. Hughes, MD, FACS, as First Vice-President, and Deborah A. Kuhls, MD, FACS, as Second Vice-President.

The 2023 Honorary Fellows are:

  • Luigi Bonavina, MD, FACS, Milan, Italy
  • Christopher R. Chapple, BSc, MBBS, MD, FRCS(Urol), FEBU, Fulwood, Sheffield, UK
  • Nicola Fearnhead, BM BCh, FRCS, DM, FASCRS, Cambridge, UK
  • Anna Martling, MD, PhD, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Deborah McNamara, MB(Hons), FRCSI, MD, FRCSI(Gen), Dublin, Ireland
  • Masaki Mori, MD, PhD, FACS, Isehara, Japan
  • Richard David Rosin, MS, MB BS, FRCS(Eng), FRCS(Ed), FICS, FCCS, DHMSA, Cave Hill, St. Michael, Barbados

The 2023 Owen H. Wangensteen Scientific Forum Award was presented to Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, a world-renowned surgical oncologist and cancer researcher, for her impactful research in tumor immunology, including more than 25 years of National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other funding, and her history of high-level leadership in federal research agencies. She recently was confirmed as Director of the NIH, after previously serving as Director of the National Cancer Institute.

Ronald M. Stewart, MD, FACS, received the 2023 Distinguished Service Award for his many leadership roles in ACS trauma efforts, including as Chair of the Committee on Trauma (COT) and the Medical Director of ACS Trauma Programs. Among many other contributions, Dr. Stewart has been instrumental in advancing the College’s firearm violence reduction efforts (see October Bulletin).

Sujana S. Chandrasekhar, MD, FACS, a highly regarded otologist-neurotologist, received the Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award for her career-long commitment to advancing women surgeons in multiple professional associations and other avenues (see October Bulletin).

USAR Major General (Retired) Jonathan Woodson, MD, MSS, FACS, MG, MC, renowned for his significant contributions to both military and civilian surgical care, was honored with the fourth ACS Distinguished Lifetime Military Contribution Award.


The 2022-2023 President, President-Elect, and Board of Regents gather for a photo following the fall Board meeting held prior to Clinical Congress.

Named Lectures

Clinical Congress featured 11 Named Lectures, which provided attendees with opportunities to hear internationally renowned surgeons and healthcare experts share their insights on medicine and surgery.

Transplant surgeon Bartley P. Griffith, MD, FACS, FRCS, delivered the John H. Gibbon Jr. Lecture, What’s New May Be Old: Xenotransplantation. In his talk, Dr. Griffith discussed the historic, in-human xenotransplants of genetically modified pig hearts that his team from the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore performed in January 2022 and September 2023. He was quick to note that for all the recent advances in xenotransplantation, the field is already here—and that there are other possible futures for heart transplantation.

“We have challenges ahead, much to be done in xenotransplantation, but the field of cardiac replacement for surgeons is wide open, it’s alive, and it’s exciting to talk about,” Dr. Griffith said.

In the Olga M. Jonasson Lecture, Phoenix Rising: The Culture of Surgery—A Paradigm Shift, plastic and reconstructive surgeon Susan E. Mackinnon, MD, FACS, discussed how “energy leadership,” a seven-level strategy, can transform how an individual interacts with, and ultimately, leads teams. Contemporary surgical culture often leaves surgeons struggling in the lower levels, defined by conflict, coping, and other difficult emotions that can lead to burnout and moral distress. But, at higher levels, surgeons can develop their resilience skills and learn to collaborate, show compassion, and reclaim their passion for the field and impart it to others, Dr. Mackinnon said.

Trauma surgeon M. Margaret Knudson, MD, FACS, past-Medical Director of the Military Health Service Strategic Partnership American College of Surgeons, delivered the Excelsior Surgical Society/Edward D. Churchill Lecture: Service, Synergy, and Surgical Mythology. Dr. Knudson said that Dr. Churchill referred to military surgery as a “discontinuous specialty,” with gaps between conflicts.

“Let’s see if we can think synergistically, working between the military and civilian world, in making military surgery a continuous specialty,” she said, describing several ways surgeons can be a part of a continuous military specialty, including ACS-initiated or support programs.

As part of the lecture, television journalist Bob Woodruff took the podium as a special guest to speak of his interaction with military surgeons after suffering a severe injury from an improvised explosive device during a reporting trip to Iraq in 2006.

Noteworthy Academic Programming

Clinical Congress was anchored by expansive academic, scientific, and educational programming.

In addition to Didactic and Skills Postgraduate Courses, Clinical Congress 2023 provided attendees access to 97 expert-led Panel Sessions. These included noteworthy sessions such as the always-popular 10 Hot Topics in General Surgery, hosted by Dr. Ellison and ACS Regent Kenneth W. Sharp, MD, FACS; the inaugural Great Debates: Biliary and Hernia, which saw surgeons debating treatment of the two most-common general surgery diseases; the thought-provoking Next Generation Predictive Tools and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Anticipating Postoperative Outcomes, which explored how AI is shaping all phases of surgery, and much more.

Three Special Sessions once again were offered at Clinical Congress, which provided attendees with an in-depth look at important topics in surgery.

The ACS Academy of Master Surgeon Educators Special Session: Acquisition of New Surgical Skills by Practicing Surgeons provided details on how surgeons can and must seek out effective education and training programs to acquire the new skills.

Surgeons as Leaders: An Update on Firearm Injury Prevention had ACS trauma leaders reviewing and providing new developments in the College’s ongoing firearm injury reduction initiatives. The Power of Quality Special Session provided surgeons with essential information about how they can start or grow quality programs in their hospitals, how they can become more effective champions of surgical quality, and how the ACS will assist hospitals in promoting their participation in quality programs.

The Named Lectures, Panel Sessions, and Special Sessions are available to view via the on-demand platform.

Hands-On Events

Returning this year were two hands-on, simulation-based learning stations in the Exhibit Hall—the Surgical Ergonomics Clinic and Surgical Metrics Project.

The second ACS Surgical Ergonomics Hands-On Clinic for practicing surgeons and surgery residents generated significant interest and had more than 550 participants, which emphasized the importance of health and well-being in the physically demanding field.

In a space four times larger than at last year’s clinic, ergonomic coaches helped participating surgeons learn about the ACS Surgical Ergonomics Recommendations, while applying them in a simulated environment at three stations with open, laparoscopic, and robotic surgery equipment.

This year’s iteration of the Surgical Metrics Project, the third since it was initiated in 2019, offered an opportunity for individual surgeons to learn more about the future of digital healthcare and optimizing their practice. In 15- to 20-minute blocks at each of three simulation stations, nearly 500 conference attendees had the opportunity to become research participants themselves by completing short but challenging operative tasks. New this year was the addition of expert surgical coaches, global surgery collaborators, new institutional partnerships, and more technology.

Read more about each station in the October Bulletin. Results from the Surgical Metrics Project will be described in a Bulletin article to be published in 2024.

Awards and Honors

Practicing surgeons, residents, and medical students were recognized for their contributions to advancing the art and science of surgery, domestic and international volunteerism, leadership in residency, and much more at Clinical Congress. Visit Clinical Congress News on the ACS website for a complete listing of the awards, honors, and dedications provided at this year’s conference.

Annual Business Meeting

The Annual Business Meeting of Members convened on October 25, with Dr. Ford presiding. Following a series of reports from the Board of Regents (BoR), Board of Governors (BoG), ACS Foundation, and the ACS Professional Association Political Action Committee, new ACS Officers and other officials were elected for 2023–2024.

The President-Elect is Beth H. Sutton, MD, FACS, a private practice surgeon in Wichita Falls, Texas, who was chosen for her dedication to the ACS and her leadership experience.

“I am deeply honored to serve as President-Elect of the ACS, an organization that has been pivotal in shaping surgical practice and education,” Dr. Sutton said. “I look forward to contributing to our ongoing efforts to advance surgical care and enhance our professional community.”

The First Vice-President-Elect is general and breast surgeon Nancy L. Gantt, MD, FACS, a professor of surgery at Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown and co-medical director of the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center at Mercy Health–St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital. Otolaryngologist Dennis H. Kraus, MD, FACS, executive medical director of oncology and enterprise at Centura Health in Denver, Colorado, is the Second Vice-President-Elect.

The new Chair of the BoR is Anthony Atala, MD, FACS, the George Link Jr. Professor and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the W. H. Boyce Professor and Chair of Urology at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Vice-Chair is Fabrizio Michelassi, MD, FACS, the Lewis Atterbury Stimson Professor and Chair of Weill Cornell Medicine, and surgeon-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City.

One surgeon was elected to fill a vacancy on the BoR: Liane S. Feldman, MD, FACS, the Edward W. Archibald Professor and chair of the Department of Surgery at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.

In addition, five surgeons were reappointed to the BoR: Francoise P. Chagnon, MS, FACS, FRSCS; Annesley W. Copeland, MD, FACS; Gary L. Timmerman, MD, FACS; David J. Welsh, MD, FACS; and Douglas E. Wood, MD, FACS, FRCSEd.

The following Officers of the BoG Executive Committee were elected:

  • Chair: Lillian S. Kao, MD, FACS, professor in the Department of Surgery and chief of the Division of Acute Care Surgery at the McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston
  • Vice-Chair and Member Services Pillar Lead: Marion C. W. Henry, MD, MPH, FACS, professor of surgery at UChicago Medicine in Illinois
  • Secretary: Cherisse D. Berry, MD, FACS, chief of the Division of Acute Care Surgery at New York University Langone Health

The following surgeons were elected to the BoG Executive Committee:

  • Diversity Pillar Lead: Wendy Ricketts Greene, MD, FACS, director of the Acute and Critical Care Surgery Service of Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Quality, Research, and Optimal Patient Care Pillar Lead: Sundeep G. Keswani, MD, FACS, chief of pediatric surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston
  • Communications Pillar Lead: Joseph V. Sakran, MD, MPH, MPA, FACS, vice-chair and director of clinical operations at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland

In addition, two Pillar Leaders were reappointed:

  • Advocacy Pillar Lead: Don J. Selzer, MD, FACS, Willis D. Gatch Professor of Surgery, program director of the fellowship for advanced gastrointestinal and bariatric surgery, and chief of the Division of General Surgery at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis
  • Education Pillar Lead: Amit R. Joshi, MD, FACS, professor of surgery and associate dean for graduate medical education at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in Camden, New Jersey

Member Engagement Activities

Clinical Congress 2023 provided attendees and their guests with opportunities to participate in wellness activities, including 5K guided running tours through Boston, yoga, a steps challenge, and a scavenger hunt. The annual Taste of the City on the last night of the conference offered an informal venue for attendees, their families, and guests to experience Boston’s unique dining and cultural scene.

Clinical Congress 2024

In response to feedback from attendees, the next Clinical Congress will take place October 19−22, 2024, in San Francisco, California, on a new Saturday-through-Tuesday schedule to bring less disruption to attendees’ practices. Abstract submission begins mid-December, and housing reservations are underway.