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

Experiencing All Clinical Congress 2015 Had to Offer

Each year, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) offers the incredible opportunity for young surgeons from all the affiliated countries to attend the ACS annual Clinical Congress. This is possible thanks to the Resident and Associate Society (RAS) International Exchange Program, a scholarship offered by the society. 2015 was the 4th consecutive year that the award was issued and I had the honour to be the Italian resident having the possibility to attend the ACS Clinical Congress in Chicago, IL, October 4–8, 2015.

As an active member of the Italy Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, my goal was to make my participation as useful as possible in order to understand the spirit of the ACS and to improve quality and initiatives of the chapter in my country.

I was invited to participate in the RAS meetings and I had the opportunity to meet young surgeons and colleagues who helped me understand their role in the ACS. We shared ideas and goals, talked about differences between our residency programs, enjoyed clinical sessions together, and discussed our future opportunities as Italian and American surgeons. I also met Exchange Program awardees from other countries such as Lebanon, Ireland, and Australia, which gave me the impression of how the RAS cares about spreading their hard work all over the world.

The congress was full of very interesting sessions—meeting the experts and theoretical and practical courses concerning a wide range of different surgical specialties such as cardiac surgery, thoracic surgery, endocrine, liver and pancreas, colon and rectum, and many others. Of course, the convocation of the new Fellows and inaugural ceremony of the Congress were very impressive.

Furthermore, I attended a special Speed Mentoring session where I had the opportunity to talk with five different experienced surgeons who were very useful in answering questions and giving me suggestions for my future as a surgeon.

Every year the RAS organizes the Surgical Jeopardy, a game based on questions concerning surgery where different universities from all over the U.S. compete for the annual title. I was enthusiastic to see how this game represented a chance to test knowledge of residents but at the same time gathered young surgeons in an informal and friendly competition. Thanks to Prof. Giuseppe Nigri, the administrator of the ACS Italy Chapter, we decided to develop the first Italian version of the Surgical Jeopardy that was successfully held two weeks later during the annual Congress of the Italian Society of Surgery in Milan. Special thanks goes to Dr. Afif Kulaylat and Dr. Rebecca Hoffman, RAS members organizing the American version of the game who gave us suggestions and supported us with materials and tricks to succeed.

Last but not least, I had the chance to visit the amazing city of Chicago—enjoying landscapes, food, street music, and art.

I believe the International Exchange Program is something that should be renewed every year because of the great chance that this offers.

I would like to thank the Resident and Associate Society and the American College of Surgeons for the great opportunity and I hope to be part of the next congress in 2016.

Giammauro Berardi, MD, is a general surgery resident at Sapienza – Università di Roma, Rome, Italy.