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

Committee Liaison Reports

RAS-ACS Committees

Advocacy and Issues Committee

The Advocacy and Issues Committee continues to prepare for the 2019 RAS Symposium at Clinical Congress 2019. We encourage all RAS members to attend this event, which will explore the topic of shiftwork surgery. Our subcommittees are currently working on projects covering topics like firearm injury, diversity in surgical trials, payment patterns affecting GME funding, and the opioid epidemic. Please join us on our conference calls on the first Wednesday of every month to get updates from the ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy on actions that the ACS is taking to advocate in Congress on our behalf. E-mail me or join the Wednesday conference call if you are interested in participating in any of our ongoing projects or would like to start a new project within our committee.

Christopher McNicoll, MD
Chair, Advocacy and Issues Committee

Communications Committee

The Communications Committee has added a few new features to the monthly e-newsletter, starting with last month’s “Dear Intern” letters. Moving forward, we will be adding a quarterly opportunity for op-ed style pieces, so stay tuned for the upcoming topics. We participated in the RAS hangout with the Membership Committee on August 5 discussing social media. We are in the planning stages for a RAS hangout in September, hosted by our committee, so keep an eye on your e-mail for details. Lastly, in preparation for Clinical Congress 2019, we will be asking RAS members to participate in a brief video called “What RAS Means to You.” If you’re interested, please e-mail We’ll include you on future conference calls (second Wednesday of each month at 9:00 pm EST).

Crystal Johnson-Mann, MD
Chair, Communications Committee

Membership Committee

The American College of Surgeons is accepting applications for the RAS-ACS International Exchange Scholarship Program for 2020–2021!

The scholarship provides the opportunity for one U.S.-based Resident Member or Associate Fellow to travel to one of four host nations, where they will attend the country’s surgical society meeting and participate in other surgical-related activities. A total of four travelers will be selected (one traveler for each of the four sites).

  • Ireland—November 2, 2020
  • Kuwait—November 2020
  • Greece—November 2020
  • Australia—May 3–7, 2021

Participants will be given a travel stipend of up to $2,500 to assist with travel expenses, including airfare, hotel, and ground transportation.

To submit an application, please provide:

  • A curriculum vitae (no more than two pages)
  • A 500-word essay on how this scholarship would impact your career and your career trajectory
  • Basic demographic information

If you are interested in this unique opportunity, please submit your application online. Applications are due by 5:00 pm CT on November 30.

Winners will be required to share their experience with the local ACS chapter, either by presenting at the chapter’s annual meeting or submitting an essay for the chapter newsletter.

Education Committee

The Education Committee has been hard at work with many projects.  Two of our annual projects include the "So You Think You Can Operate?" surgical skills competition and "Surgical Jeopardy," which we are getting ready for Clinical Congress in October! We have also been working on a seminal papers in surgery podcast, as well as a multi-institutional electronic medical record usage project for surgical residents. Lastly, be sure to join our monthly calls, where we discuss education-related topics and new papers so that everyone is engaged in current education literature. If any of this sounds interesting, JOIN IN!  We are always excited to have new people!

Hari B. Keshava, MD, MS
Chair, Education Committee

Associate Fellow Committee

Associate Fellows are members of the ACS that are no longer in a training program but have not yet attained Fellowship status of the ACS.

We are looking for a group of Associate Fellows interested in volunteering to serve on our newly formed Associate Fellow Committee. Our aim is to define appropriate programs and resources for Associate Fellows. There will also be multiple opportunities for networking, engagement, and collaboration. If you are interested, please contact and please write “Associate Fellows” in the subject line. We will be holding a conference call in August. 

ACS Committees

Committee on Diversity Issues

The Committee on Diversity Issues has launched a Profiles in Diversity campaign - an interview series focusing on ACS members from diverse backgrounds who have overcome made major achievements or contributions to the College or the field

Anna Dare, MBChB

Committee on Health Information Technology

The Committee on Health Information Technology is compiling a toolkit of known health care-relevant applications, and providing data about cost, usability, and quality to ACS members. We hope this will be the go-to credible resource members use to research applications of interest.

Jane Zhao, MD

Committee on Medical Student Education

The ACS Committee on Medical Student Education (CMSE) continues to create new and innovative content for the Medical Student Program at Clinical Congress. More than 90 students attended the program in 2018, and it continues to grow every year. During Clinical Congress 2019, the Medical Student Program will run Sunday, October 27 through Tuesday, October 29. Opportunities for resident involvement with the Medical Student Program include:

  • Panel participants (all days)
  • Educators during the roundtable session on Monday afternoon (interview skills, basic surgical skills)
  • Friendly faces during the resident and medical student reception on Monday night

The Medical Student Task Force is a newly created sub-committee consisting of medical student members who work with members of the CMSE to create educational modules that are published on the ACS website. There are many opportunities for medical students to be involved in ACS and many great resources available on the ACS website. Residents are an invaluable recourse for connecting medical students to the College, so please send your enthusiastic students our way!

Rebecca L. Williams, MD

Committee on Resident Education Liaison

The ACS Committee on Resident Education met in Chicago on August 9. Although much was discussed, a few of the highlights include:

  • The Non-Technical Skills for Surgeons (NOTSS) curriculum continues to be developed and further validated much effort is being expended to create a resident education faculty development program
  • A future ACS publication, "Empowering the Resident Learner," was discussed. Hopefully, this will be prepared for presentation to residents by the end of this year! It will include a pre-, intra-, and postoperative cheat sheet for residents to follow to improve autonomy in the operating room.
  • The committee has worked diligently to ensure sessions at Clinical Congress are maximally beneficial to residents. The Surgery Resident Program is a two-day event taking place October 27–28. Also, make sure to register for Pathways in Surgical Education at Clinical Congress on Tuesday, October 29, 5:00–6:00 pm if you are considering a career in surgical education!
  • Don't forget to consider heading to Chicago in March for the Residents as Teachers and Leaders course.
  • The ACS Resident Award for Exemplary Teaching and the Jameson L. Chassin Award for Professionalism in General Surgery were discussed. These incredible honors will be presented at Clinical Congress this year.

The next meeting of the ACS Resident Education Committee will be held February 14, 2020.

Victoria Miles, MD

General Surgery Coding and Reimbursement Committee

The General Surgery Coding and Reimbursement Committee (GSCRC) represents and acts in the interests of general surgeons and their clinical practices regarding issues that impact coding, billing, and reimbursement for surgical care. The committee works intimately with CMS, the AMA, and many other prominent regulatory agencies in order to negotiate payment rates for health care services and ensure that surgeons and patients are appropriately represented. This year’s major themes involve evaluation and management (E/M) policies, prior authorization, surprise billing, and planning for their session during Clinical Congress 2019.

Brett Tracy, MD

Health Policy Advisory Council

The Health Policy Advisory Council (HPAC) is a diverse mix of more than 166 members who believe in a strong grassroots network comprised of active, engaged surgeon advocates. HPAC’s representation spans 48 states across 13 specialties, with 10 resident members, six YFA members, and three liaison members. In 2018, this group took 199 independent actions regarding important health care legislation supported by the American College of Surgeons. These proposed bills covered themes like surprise medical billing, resident physician shortages, child vehicle safety standards, access to bariatric surgery and general surgery, and many more. Please consider joining HPAC so that we can better advocate for our profession and our patients.

Brett Tracy, MD

Health Policy and Advocacy Group

The Health Policy and Advocacy Group (HPAG) remains committed to improving the health care system for surgeons and surgical patients. After identifying key priority areas annually, HPAG can leverage the full weight of ACS resources to accomplish this goal. Key issues this year center around improving health insurers' accountability to patients, whether through eliminating gaps in insurance that result in surprise medical bills, reducing prior authorization barriers to care, or ensuring surgical services are properly covered and reimbursed. But we can't make these gains alone, and I encourage all RAS-ACS members to remain active on the SurgeonsVoice website and with your local representatives, to educate policymakers about the remarkable healing power of surgery and what you need to take care of your patients.

Jay Nathan, MD

International Relations Committee

The College has 49 international chapters representing 47 countries outside of the United States and Canada. The ACS International Relations Committee supports these chapters by providing educational materials and various scholarships opportunities. We invite you to familiarize yourself with these chapters and to make an effort to reach out and connect with our international colleagues at Clinical Congress this year.

Jeremy Kauffman, MD

Legislative Committee

The Legislative Committee has been extremely active in the discussion on surprise billing, which has picked up significant steam in Washington, DC. There are multiple bills currently under consideration, and the one favored by the Senate bipartisan work group is currently quite unfavorable to physicians. ACS staff have been working hard to address the issues in that legislation, as well as to promote more favorable legislation from other authors, with input from the Legislative Committee members.

The Legislative Committee has also been working with representatives to put forward legislation providing grant funding for bleeding control kits in the spirit of the Stop the Bleed® campaign.

Finally, the Legislative Committee directed staff to support bipartisan legislation strengthening background checks for firearm owners, in keeping with the surgical community’s goal of reducing firearm deaths and injuries nationwide.

Mark Kashtan, MD

Program Committee

Think about what kinds of sessions were missing from the 2019 Clinical Congress that you would like to see in the future and submit a proposal for next year!

Mariam Eskander, MD

Women in Surgery Committee

Women in Surgery Committee updates will soon be posted in the ACS Communities. The Committee is creating an empowerment toolkit to educate ACS members on harassment, and we recently drafted a Statement on Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination.

Tiffany Joy Sinclair

ACS Workgroups

Global Health Workgroup

The Global Surgery Workgroup held a phone hangout on July 29 to lead a conversation about surgical capacity building and health system strengthening in low- and middle-income countries around the world. The two speakers wanted to share their contact information should you have additional questions or would like to connect. Thank you to Josh Bleicher and Cliff Ewbank who set up the call on behalf of the workgroup. 

Ray Price, MD, FACS

William Schecter, MD, FACS

Operation Giving Back and the Global Surgery Workgroup

Operation Giving Back (OGB) and the Global Surgery Workgroup (GSWG) have had an exciting year!

The OGB Domestic Committee connected with the Health Career Collaborative, an organization dedicated to mentoring underprivileged high school students for careers in health professions. The OGB International Committee launched the ACS-COSECSA Surgical Training Collaborative at Hawassa University in southern Ethiopia in January 2019 in partnership with 13 institutions. The OGB Education Committee was able to solidify additional collaborations and commitments, including the Association for Academic Surgery (AAS) supporting a research methodologies course at COSECSA’s 2018 conference in Kigali Rwanda and the ACS Committee on Trauma committing to provide ATLS in the COSECSA region. The OGB Advocacy Committee continued to develop possible funding streams via NIH’s Fogarty International and USAID, as well as to enter into official relations with the World Health Organization.

The GSWG, a forum for residents, fellows, and junior faculty interested in global surgery to join forces and incite change, officially launched in October 2018. There have been incredible levels of interest, with a current roster of around 100 members. Since its launch, we have held two quarterly phone calls, selected four RAS-OGB committee liaisons, submitted Clinical Congress 2020 proposals, published a newsletter spotlight on RAS GSWG member activities (thanks Erica Ludi!), and are continuing to develop the group’s social media presence. Ongoing projects include the development and launch of a global surgical trainee needs assessment, phone hangouts, and continued engagement with and support of OGB.

Two panel sessions proposed by RAS GSWG Chair Marissa Boeck were accepted for Clinical Congress 2019: “What Works? Success in Global Surgical System Strengthening: From Problems to Solutions” (co-moderated by Dr. Tom Weiser) and “#GlobalSurgery: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Harnessing the Power of Social Media” (co-moderated by Dr. Gigi F. Osler). OGB submitted 18 Clinical Congress 2020 session ideas in the spring, eight of which were from RAS GSWG members and/or in collaboration with Incision Student Network members.

Marissa Boeck, MD

Operation Giving Back Education Subcommittee

The Operation Giving Back Education subcommittee is happy to report that the six-month ACS-COSECSA pilot collaboration of 12 surgical programs in Ethiopia went well. All programs are willing to return in the future. Working groups have been established in clinical activity, education, research, fundraising, trauma education, and system building to ensure the most successful and comprehensive nature of the program moving forward. The education subcommittee also reviewed global surgery-themed panel proposals for Clinical Congress 2020 and submitted 18 proposals. The committee members supported nine panel sessions related to global engagement at Clinical Congress 2019.

Erica Ludi, MD

Advisory Councils

Advisory Council for Colorectal Surgery

The Colorectal Surgery Advisory Council is working on selecting courses for Clinical Congress 2020 and is reviewing feedback from last year’s Clinical Congress sessions. Dr. Gantt would like to hold a RAS-ACS phone hangout in January 2020 for medical students interested in pursuing a career in colorectal surgery.

Gerald Gantt, MD

Advisory Council for Neurological Surgery

Our Advisory Council has been trying to attract more young neurosurgeons to join the ACS. We would welcome more resources that are useful for surgeon subspecialists.

Maya Babu, MD, MBA

Advisory Council for Rural Surgery

Rural surgery advisory committee is actively reviewing and adjusting the standards for rural surgery training programs. There are currently no set standards for a rural surgery tract or a rural surgery focus. Quality standards are currently being reviewed for defining rural surgery training.

Laura Stearns, DO