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


Inaugural ACS Surgeon Well-Being Month Kicks Off

This month, the ACS Surgeon Well-Being Program kicks off to welcome 2021 and celebrate your well-being. Each week, a new pillar of well-being will be explored on ACS social channels to encourage discussion among all ACS members.

The first week of January focuses on mindfulness. Research demonstrates that having individual goals contributes to a sense of purpose and increased sense of well-being. The process of taking steps to achieve goals contributes to an overall feeling of success and purpose. As we begin our Wellness Month, we encourage you to participate in these one-minute mindfulness exercises throughout the week and spend some time identifying activities you might be able to step back from or paring down your list of commitments.

You are encouraged to find opportunities to say no instead of yes. Maybe it's something simple like limiting free time on technology or changing how you engage with your screen time, or stepping back from something that pushed you into overcommitment. Consider making a takeaway goal to free up some of your time to engage in your well-being.

Join in on the conversation on ACS Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as you take time for your well-being this month.

What Can the Trauma Model Tell Us about Well-Being? Join ACS Surgeon Well-Being Webinar January 20 to Find Out

As a part of Well-Being Month, the ACS Surgeon Well-Being Program will present a webinar on Reframing Surgeon Well-Being: How the Trauma Model Informs Approaches to Well-Being Solutions at Systemic Levels, 3:00–4:00 pm CT on January 20, 2021.

This webinar will apply the trauma model to surgeon well-being and address various issues, factors and drivers at all levels of well-being, from personal to organizational. Panelists also will discuss the culture and environment change needed to prioritize well-being, highlight new perspectives to de-stigmatize working on surgeon well-being and share experiences of engaging leadership to prioritize well-being.

Moderated by Carter Lebares, MD, FACS, the webinar features well-being and resilience thought- leaders, including Mary Brandt, MD, FACS; Yue-Yung Hu, MD, MPH, FACS; Lauren DeCaporale-Ryan, PhD; and Taylor Riall, MD, PhD, FACS.

Register today for the Reframing Surgeon Well-Being webinar.

A Shot of Hope—The Beginning of an End and the Importance of Advocacy

By Mio Kitano, MD, MS, FACS, assistant professor, division of surgical oncology and endocrine surgery, University of Texas Health San Antonio

I had to hold back my tears as I felt the prick of the needle in my left deltoid muscle on December 16, 2020. It was the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine from Pfizer that received approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration just four days prior. The tears were not from the pain from the jab of the needle, but from an overwhelming sense of joy, gratitude and relief. The vaccine was administered in the most systematic and well-orchestrated manner at the school of nursing at UT Health San Antonio, and the excitement and sense of relief was palpable throughout the entire building and on campus. For those who are fans of science fiction, it was like the last scene from the film World War Z. I finally saw a glimpse of light at the end of this dark pandemic tunnel.

Since the official declaration of SARS-CoV-2 as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020, our routines were uprooted and we all had to adapt to the "new normal," consisting mainly of increased sanitization measures, physical distancing and mask wearing. Despite these recommendations by health officials, many took a faux libertarian approach and continued with their pre-pandemic routines. Some went as far as opposing mask wearing and stay-at-home orders in the name of individual liberty and against the government's paternalistic "tyranny." To counter this movement, many health care workers, health care systems and state and federal organizations participated in the #MaskUp campaign to promote this simple yet very effective public health intervention. Use of a facial covering to slow down the spread of a respiratory virus is the most obvious and cost-effective intervention; however, it somehow became a partisan and a highly controversial issue.

Now that the vaccines are available, health care workers must adapt to our new roles: as vaccine advocates. According to the Pew Research Center, only 60 percent of Americans responded in November that they would receive the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine when it becomes available. This is slightly higher than 51 percent reported in September, but we still have a lot more work to do. We must leverage our positions of leadership in our hospitals and in our communities to encourage the people around us to receive the vaccine. Even though having two different FDA-approved vaccines to combat the SARS-CoV-2 is a major victory in this fight against the pandemic, we will only win this battle once we reach herd immunity. Talking about the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine with your patients is as important as discussing the flu shot, smoking cessation, healthy eating or cancer screening. For those patients who remain ambivalent about the vaccine, practice empathy and try to understand the reason for their hesitancy. It is important to tell your patients that you got the vaccine and why, so we can lead by example.

In this time of turmoil, we could all use a shot of hope in our arm. However, hope will only be translated into reality by action. I challenge every health care worker to encourage your fellow citizens to receive the vaccine. The only way to put an end to this pandemic is to put aside our differences, individualism, and political beliefs, and work together for the betterment and health of our community.