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

RAS-ACS Year in Review

The Resident and Associate Society (RAS-ACS) serves to familiarize Resident Members and Associate Fellows with ACS programs and provides an avenue for participation in ACS affairs, fosters development and use of leadership skills, and provides opportunities for the opinions and concerns of young surgeons and trainees to be heard by the ACS. The following report is broken down by each of the five standing committees—Advocacy and Issues, Membership, Communication, Education, and Associate Fellow.

RAS-ACS Advocacy and Issues Committee

RAS Symposium 2019

The committee selected "Shiftwork Surgery: Loss of Continuity or Sensible Balance of Responsibility" as the Symposium topic for this year. Surgical residents submitted essays on the role of physician extenders in surgical education. The essay winners, Lili Sadri, MD, and Jessica Rea, MD, shared their views on the topic at Clinical Congress 2019. The session was moderated by Barbara Bass, MD, FACS, and additional speakers included Sharmila Dissanaike, MD, FACS, and Kenneth Mattox, MD, FACS.

Monthly Conference Calls

The committee's monthly conference calls cover many of the current hot topics related to advocacy and current issues in health care policy. Staff from the Division of Advocacy and Health Policy regularly join calls to provide updates on topics such surprise medical billing, office visit E & M services, the STOP act, and firearms. The committee has actively participated in these discussions and activities. RAS liaisons to HPAG, HPAC, the Legislative Committee, and SurgeonsPAC provide regular updates on the efforts of the various committees. Workgroups also continue to address important issues to young surgeons including national firearm injury, payment for GME, diversity in surgical trial participants, and opioid education.

Leadership & Advocacy Summit

In March 2019, several committee members attended the 2019 ACS Leadership & Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC. RAS hosted a leadership workshop for residents just prior to the meeting. RAS also hosted a social event with a very strong turnout. Residents joined other surgeons on Capitol Hill to meet with their senators, representatives, and aides on the final day of the Summit.


Each year, the RAS Communications Committee selects a theme for the August issue of the Bulletin and coordinates efforts among all RAS standing committees to produce articles written by RAS residents and Fellows for publication. This year, the committee chose "Resident Wellness and Resiliency" as the theme for the issue. The committee also authored the introductory article to the 2019 RAS Symposium on the topic of Shiftwork Surgery: A Loss of Continuity or Sensible Balance of Responsibility. The article and the symposium discuss the transformation of surgical education throughout the century and its influence on resident wellness.

RAS Residential: Chapter Advocacy

The RAS Chair's theme for this year is chapter engagement. To that end, each RAS committee was assigned tasks relating to producing a toolkit for RAS member involvement in ACS chapters. The Advocacy & Issues Committee produced a bylaws template and suggested language for local advocacy development, which is published in the RAS-ACS Chapter Representatives Section of the ACS Chapter Guidebook on the ACS Chapter Services Website.

RAS-ACS Communications Committee

Essay Contest

Dr. Laura Goodman, a 2019 residency graduate from UC Davis, now a pediatric surgery fellow at Loma Linda, won the 2019 RAS Essay Contest. The topic for this year's essay was "Disruptive Forces and the Positive Impact They Can Have on Our Profession." Dr. Goodman's essay was selected from eight submissions, and she will be officially recognized at Clinical Congress with a $500 cash prize. Dr. Goodman's essay will be published in the January 2019 issue of the Bulletin.

Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons

Each year, the RAS Communications Committee selects a theme for the August issue of the Bulletin and coordinates efforts among all RAS standing committees to produce articles written by RAS residents and Fellows for publication. This year, the committee chose "Resident Wellness and Resiliency" as the theme for the issue. The committee's article, "Silence Is Deadly," discussed the culture of silence in surgery and encouraged residents to communicate well and often, including positive self-talk.

Social Media Subcommittee

The RAS Facebook page was established in August 2015 to enhance connections among followers through a broad range of posts with links to the ACS website, Bulletin articles, information for upcoming RAS Webinars, RAS Hangouts, weekly RAS committee conference calls, posts about surgical conferences and meetings, and articles of interest for Resident Members and Fellows. The subcommittee also manages the RAS Twitter feed.

JACS Journal Club

RAS-JACS Journal ClubThe RAS JACS Journal Club has demonstrated continued success during the 2018–2019 academic year, hosting seven online journal clubs with more than 1 million impressions on social media. The most recent #RASJACS occurred at the end of August and discussed a recent article by Sheckter et al. regarding Resident-Sensitive Processes of Care: Impact of Surgical Residents on Inpatient Testing. The RAS-ACS and JACS hosted an interactive social media discussion about gendered differences in surgical resident recommendation letters with guest discussant Dr. Deanna Attai.

RAS E-News

In 2019, the RAS-ACS Communications Committee started a "Humans in RAS" op-ed style series. Dr. Zachary Sanford discussed his transformative experiences as a father and as a medical student/surgical resident in June, and in July, four Dear Intern Letters offered advice, council, and encouragement for those transitioning into surgical resident positions.

Video Series

The committee encourages members to submit short videos personalizing "what RAS means to you" to publish on the website and in social media. The group will be recording more episodes after the RAS Annual Business Meeting on Tuesday at Clinical Congress.

RAS-ACS Education Committee

Clinical Congress

The committee submitted five proposals and co-sponsored three proposals. Six of the eight proposals were accepted for Clinical Congress 2019.

Monthly Meetings

During the committee's monthly calls, members present and lead a discussion on an educational article, either published in the surgical community or personal research. Topics have included burnout and stress, residency attrition, and targeted feedback in the milestones era. Additionally, the group has several sub-committees that meet outside of the monthly meeting to work on projects of interest, including EMR and seminal papers.

Surgical Resident Workweek Graphic

A small group of team members developed a graphic for programs to display in call rooms that provides residents with all aspects of the Resident Clinical Experience and Education (formerly known as Duty Hours). The graphic was shared with surgical residency programs via e-mail and is posted on the Resident Member web page under Information for Residency Program Coordinators.

Skills Lab Competition

The committee will be hosting the second So You Think You Can Operate: The RAS-ACS Surgical Skills Competition at this year's Clinical Congress. Eight teams will compete in this team-based skills competition testing surgical technique and communication. Several new stations will be included in this year's competition. Representatives from the Young Fellows Association (YFA) will serve as judges. Vendor interest and support has continued to grow, allowing the group to double the number of stations this year from four to eight while keeping production costs minimal.

RAS-ACS Grand Rounds Webinar Series

Grand Rounds WebinarsThe RAS-ACS Grand Rounds Webinar Series is for young surgeons who are starting their practices. These webinars explore career path choices and strategies, best practices for navigating the career ladder, and management of personal life and wellness. Webinars are presented live and made accessible to ACS members free of charge. More than 50 webinars have been presented to date.

RAS-ACS Membership Committee

International Scholarship Exchange Program

RAS-ACS International Exchange ProgramThe Membership Committee continues to host the International Exchange Scholarship Program for Resident Members and Associate Fellows. A RAS member travels abroad to an international surgical meeting, with a reciprocal exchange between the host countries who send a resident traveler the U.S. to attend Clinical Congress. The program was started in 2011 and now coordinates exchanges with two countries, Australia/New Zealand and Ireland. The U.S.-based travelers are chosen through a competitive application process that includes a 500-word essay. The international scholars attending this year's Clinical Congress include Jaime Doody, MD, from Ireland and Matthew Roberts, MD, from Australia. The RAS-ACS scholars traveling aboard include Joshua Goldman, MD, from Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI (to Ireland) and Sharven Tahvai, MD, from Tulane (to Australia/New Zealand). This year, the committee reached out to ACS Chapters in Greece and Kuwait to formalize an exchange between the two countries that will begin in 2020.

Hangout Sessions

The Membership Committee is working to increase Resident Member interaction with Medical Student Members and between Resident Members in monthly "hangouts." These one-hour phone conversations allow participants to call in and ask questions and talk with residents across the country about the various aspects of a surgical residency. The calls have been very successful, and the number of participants continues to increase.

Topics covered this year for medical students include:

  • What to do if you don't match
  • Introduction to surgical specialties: pediatric, rural, vascular, and urology
  • Medical student mistreatment

RAS-ACS HangoutsTopics covered this year for resident members include:

  • Resident unionization
  • How to maximize membership in professional societies
  • Lessons learned as an administrative chief
  • Mindfulness, compassion, and burnout
  • Mastery in General Surgery Program
  • Increasing residency slots in the U.S.
  • Social media
  • Competency-based training versus time-based training
  • Escalating workplace violence in health care
  • Global surgery: Developing low-cost devices for LMICs
  • The impact of silence

Associate Fellow Committee

This committee was formed in 2018 to represent the specific needs of Associate Fellow members. The group is now a standing RAS-ACS committee with leadership positions, a monthly newsletter, and projects, including a podcast and hosting their second annual session at Clinical Congress to explain the process and value of becoming an ACS Fellow.

Outstanding Mentor of the Year Award

he RAS-ACS initiated an Outstanding Mentor of the Year award to honor mentors who have been instrumental in helping a resident become a leader at the American College of Surgeons. Nominees are Fellows, and nominators are Resident Members of the College. The inaugural nominee, Danielle Walsh, MD, FACS, was nominated by Brett Starr and was honored during the Convocation Ceremony at Clinical Congress 2019.