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

International Exchange Scholar Shares Clinical Congress 2015 Experience

Dr. KennellyI was fortunate enough to attend the annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) in Chicago, October 4–8, 2015. This was made possible through the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the Resident and Associate Society of the American College of Surgeons (RAS-ACS) International Scholarship Exchange Program.

My area of interest is colorectal surgery; therefore, I mostly attended colorectal-focused sessions at the meeting. This is an exciting time in colorectal surgery. New technologies and techniques such as robotics and bottom-up total mesorectal excision (TME) are challenging some of the long-held paradigms of how colorectal cancer and benign colorectal disease should be managed. The ACS Clinical Congress brought together leaders from all over the world to discuss these fascinating advances and to give their opinion on how the specialty will develop over the years to come. We were treated to a combination of didactic talks, video sessions, and informal townhall-style sessions. A particular highlight was a video by Antonio Lacy, MD, PhD, of Barcelona, Spain, showing his approach to trans-anal TME.

I found the experience extremely informative. The RAS-ACS Membership Committee was incredibly friendly and welcoming. At all times, they ensured I was looked after and that I was introduced to senior ACS members as well as senior residents and Fellows associated with RAS.

There were several informal social events arranged where trainees from all over the U.S. and, indeed, the world could mingle and exchange experiences from the operating room. I was very interested to learn about the different approaches to training in the various institutions across the U.S. and of the impact of changes to work-time practices. I met other colorectal fellows and we discussed the differences in our programs in respect to laparoscopic, open, and robotic exposure.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Heidi Hon, MD; Priya Iyer, MD; and Scott Grant, MD, my hosts from the RAS-ACS Membership Committee for making my trip to Chicago so enjoyable. I would highly recommend this program to my fellow trainees in Ireland and look forward to maintaining contact with the new friends and colleagues that I met in Chicago.

About the Author

Rory Kennelly, FRCSI, is a colorectal fellow in colorectal surgery at the University of Toronto. Dr. Kennelly is from Dublin, Ireland.