Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS
July 1, 2022
When I think of attending the ACS Clinical Congress, two very distinct memories come to mind. The first occurred several years ago when I stood at the top of an escalator for nearly an hour. Every time I would start to walk away, someone I knew would ascend that escalator, and we would share greetings, catch up on life, discuss a case, or make more formal plans to discuss our careers or our research.
As the ACS returns to in-person meetings once again—first with the Trauma and Cancer centennial meetings and now with the Quality and Safety Conference in Chicago this month and Clinical Congress in San Diego in October—my time at the top of that escalator is very much in my thoughts.
We will once again experience that invaluable personal interaction with our colleagues and friends that, more than ever, will provide an important respite and re-energize us to continue our important work. After nearly 3 years of a pandemic and Zoom calls, we have earned the ability to be re-connected through personal interaction with our colleagues and the collaborative nature of thousands of surgeons gathered together.
As with many medical professions, exhaustion or burnout can affect so many surgeons. The ACS has a series of online resources available to provide support at facs.org/wellness, and I am confident that seeing colleagues for the first time in years and discussing best practices with our peers can buoy us as we strive to provide the highest possible quality in all that we do.
For early career surgeons, these in-person gatherings allow interactions with people who could have significant influence over their careers. By attending Clinical Congress, young surgeons can interact with those in similar practices, those who are engaged in similar research, those whose interests align with yours, and those connections may lead to collaboration, a new position, or a new growth opportunity. A discussion at the top of the escalator, in a meeting, or at a networking event could lead to a new research project, faculty position, or mentor in your surgical specialty.
The best of the best in our profession will be at Clinical Congress, everywhere we turn. By attending, you will leave a better surgeon. You will be fulfilled professionally and personally after spending those days being surrounded by our colleagues in surgery. You will feel a renewed commitment to the highest quality and safety for the patients we serve.
Because quality and safety are the essential foundations of surgery, the College is especially excited to welcome the entire surgical team to Chicago for this year’s Quality and Safety Conference, July 15–18. We will have world-class speakers, discussions about specific quality tools and techniques, sessions on how to manage your data, and opportunities to discuss specific elements at your institution that can enhance surgical quality.
By attending this conference, you will learn how to elevate (escalate if you will) your quality improvement programs and knowledge from good-to-great.
Conference Program Committee Chair Caroline Reinke, MD, FACS, has worked with surgeons and the staff team to provide an impressive schedule of events. I look forward to attending and seeing you there.
It is clear the pandemic has changed so much of our world, including the way we learn, work, and collaborate, so for the first time the College is offering a hybrid Clinical Congress for those who cannot attend in person.
To complement the in-person program, some sessions will be livestreamed, and many others will be offered on-demand to both those joining us in San Diego and those attending virtually. Attending remotely will never be as impactful as being surrounded by our brilliant colleagues, but we are nonetheless glad that some level of participation is available to all in the House of Surgery.
Fabrizio Michelassi, MD, FACS, and members of the Clinical Congress Program Committee and ACS staff have organized an outstanding program, with hundreds of educational sessions, compelling lectures, novel research, CME opportunities, and plenty of networking and social events.
Among the many highlights will be the Opening Session on Monday morning, followed by the Martin Memorial Lecture. Immediate Past Executive Director David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, will speak about his illustrious time at the helm of the American College of Surgeons. We will celebrate his legacy throughout the meeting, and those in attendance will have the opportunity to meet with him after he speaks.
Other important highlights include special sessions on how surgeons can collaborate with anesthesiologists to address challenges with Medicare and private payers, surgical lessons learned from the Ukrainian crisis, and a late-breaking panel with surgeons at the front lines of gun violence. Surgeons face complexity every day, and these issues demand that we confront them head on with our collective attention and expertise, including with the fresh eyes of our new Initiates.
My second vivid memory of Clinical Congress was Convocation. The Sunday night Convocation is another annual highlight steeped in pomp and circumstance. Nothing compares with being acknowledged and welcomed as a new Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. It is an unforgettable and impactful experience for any surgeon, as it was for me years ago.
This year’s Convocation will be particularly meaningful, as we have invited initiates from the classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022. Altogether, we will recognize the collective talents and leadership of 7,000 surgeons as new Fellows of the College.
A more complete list of highlights and activities at Clinical Congress can be found on pages 8–17, along with details about how you can register.
Being together at conferences unites generations of surgeons. While we often refer to the ACS as a family of surgeons, in this issue we recognize surgeons who are from the same immediate family.
This month’s feature on surgical families highlights fathers and daughters. Previous features showcased mothers and daughters and fathers and sons. In an upcoming issue, we will feature surgeon siblings.
As we prepare to carefully and safely celebrate a surgeon family reunion of sorts, the 2022 Clinical Congress and Quality and Safety Conference will be my first as Executive Director. I never would have imagined this years ago standing at the top of that escalator. Meetings and conferences such as these—specifically spending time with my gifted colleagues—afforded me the opportunity to be in this very position. I learned something from every one of those top-of-the-escalator talks, and I wish the same for you.
I am humbled by your confidence in me, and I am excited to see you in Chicago and San Diego.
If you have comments or suggestions, please send them to Dr. Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org.