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

Committee Updates and Liaison Reports

Advocacy and Issues Committee

Christopher McNicoll, MD, MPH, MSThe 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

Crystal Johnson-Mann, MDThe 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.

Liaison Reports

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
General surgeon, Intermountain Surgical Specialists

William Schecter, MD, FACS
Chairman and director, Alliance for Global Clinical Training

Colorectal Surgery Advisory Council

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

Operation Giving 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

ACS 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 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

ACS 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

ACS 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

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