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

March 2013

Message from the RAS Chair
Membership Committee Update
Issues Committee Update
Communications Committee Update
Young Neurosurgeons Committee Update
ACS Clinical Scholars-in-Residence Program Announcement
Applications for ACS-AGS James C. Thomas Fellowship Due March 15
Surgeons PAC Leadership Opportunities for RAS Members
Annual Leadership Conference and Advocacy Summit
Annual Symposium Debate

Message from the RAS Chair

The Resident and Associate Society (RAS) has been working for the past few months on some exciting projects—from the International Scholarships we offer to the introduction of a new RAS Welcome packet designed to be given to each and every new surgery intern this summer. The RAS Committees are running at full steam, especially now that the American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination (ABSITE) is past us! I send a well-deserved Thank You to all of you who have dedicated yourselves to these and other projects.

For Resident and Associate Members who may be interested in getting involved, becoming a leader within your field, and connecting with other like-minded surgical trainees in the U.S. and around the world, now is a perfect time to become an active member of RAS! Simply call in to any of the Committee calls that we host each week on Wednesday evenings at 9:00 pm (Eastern time) (call numbers below). Soon, we hope to have a completely revamped SharePoint website where we will be able to direct both new and old RAS members alike. It is our intention that this new site will enable RAS members to communicate easier, track project progress, and ensure a smoother leadership transition as terms expire.

If at any point you have a question, need help getting involved, or if I can provide assistance in any way, please do not hesitate to ask.

Brian J. Santin, MD
Chair, RAS-ACS


Monthly Conference Call Schedule
Issues – first Wednesday
Communications – second Wednesday
Membership – third Wednesday
Education – fourth Wednesday
Call-in: 866-434-7675 | Access: 7287911
All calls will take place at 9:00 pm (Eastern time)

Membership Committee Update

The RAS-ACS Membership Committee continues to pursue international exchange through our International Exchange Program. This year four RAS members have the opportunity to be selected to travel to four host nations—Australia, Ireland, Italy, and Lebanon. The selected international exchange scholars will attend the their host countries’ surgical society meeting and learn about the surgical community and system abroad.

This endeavor is made possible by the generosity of the ACS International Relations Committee and the RAS-ACS. The participants will receive a stipend and the airfare will be covered. Through this reciprocal program, the RAS-ACS has hosted four scholars at the annual Clinical Congress in Chicago with excellent success.

This opportunity helps foster international relations and promote international friendship. We will be sending out a call for applications in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Nicolas J. Mouawad, MD, MPH, MBA, MRCS
Chair, RAS Membership Committee

Dino Spaniolas, MD
Vice-Chair, Membership Committee

Issues Committee Update

The Issues Committee proudly hosts this year's RAS symposium, “Patient Rankings: Should Patient Feedback Affect our Pay and Delivery of Care?” There has been an explosion in websites that post patient feedback after surgeon encounters. Survey instruments, such as the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Survey (or Hospital CAHPS®) request patient feedback on multiple aspects of hospitalization and physician-patient interactions and will soon be tied to pay as part of health care reform. This debate will focus on the role of patient rankings in improving care and whether existing methods for obtaining patient feedback (for example, online, surveys) should be tied to surgeon payment.

Watch for information on our annual essay competition. The top two essayists will be invited to the 2013 Clinical Congress in Washington, DC, to present their views during the symposium! Please join us on our next call. In addition to the symposium, our Committee works on building legislative awareness as well as grassroots advocacy. A special guest from the ACS Advocacy Team joined us on our last call. We will include an advocacy discussion on each call. Please phone in the first Wednesday of the month!

Maya Babu, MD
Chair, Issues Committee

Communications Committee Update

The Communications Committee announces its annual essay contest topic and is now organizing the annual RAS-themed issue of the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons. Each RAS committee is preparing articles concerning the central topic—"The Evolution of General Surgical Training." Be sure to read the August 2013 issue when it arrives in the mail—we are writing these articles specifically to target our members’ perspective. Raphael Sun, MD, has worked diligently to keep our RAS Facebook page updated. We are offering incentives (read: prizes!) for contributions to the dialogue on our Facebook page. Please visit the RAS Facebook page to learn more. If you have ideas for the Facebook page, please e-mail Dr. Sun at Finally, we are in charge of overseeing RAS submissions to the Bulletin, for publication throughout the year. We are always happy to consider resident-written articles for publication. If you have an idea but are not sure how to get started, please contact us.

Fifth annual RAS essay contest

The RAS-ACS fifth annual essay contest is now open to all RAS members. This year the topic is “How Surgeons Deal with Complications.” Participants are asked to write an essay of 500 words or less, describing a method for dealing with complications that is unique to the surgeon. Most of us have witnessed complications occurring on the wards or in the operating room, which are directly attributable to an error in surgical technique or clinical judgment. Surgeons are put in the unique position of having these errors develop into complications, in some cases, instantaneously. This essay should focus on this unique situation as it pertains to the surgeon personally, as well as to patients and their families. Selected essays will be published in the Bulletin and the top essayist will receive a cash award of $500 at the 2013 Clinical Congress.

  • The essay deadline is May 1, 2013.
  • E-mail all submissions to with contact information, including e-mail address, phone number, mailing address, PGY level, and program.
Articles for the Bulletin

The Communications Committee invites RAS members to submit articles on topics relevant to issues facing residents. Accepted articles will be submitted for publication in the Bulletin. Please submit article ideas to and include "RAS Bulletin Submission," the date, and your last name in the subject line. Manuscripts for feature stories in the Bulletin should be no more than 3,200 words in length, well-written, and cite relevant literature, if appropriate. Columns, such as “From residency to retirement,” should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words. We look forward to hearing from you.

Get involved with our committee

We hold conference calls on the second Wednesday of each month. It is easy to get involved—simply call in and listen, and if there is something that interests you, speak up and volunteer! If you cannot make the call, please e-mail us and tell us that you would like to become involved.

Juliet Emamaullee, MD, PhD
Chair, Communications Committee

Young Neurosurgeons Committee Update

The Young Neurosurgeons Committee (YNC) is the representative committee of all young neurosurgeons within organized neurosurgery. The committee encourages early involvement in the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) activities in all aspects including socioeconomic issues, scientific programming, and fundraising. The YNC offers many facets of involvement, and two of our many efforts are highlighted in this update.

The Neurosurgical Top Gun competition is an annual event at the AANS meeting held each spring. Various simulator stations test residents’ abilities at skills relevant to neurosurgery such as pedicle screw placement, ventriculostomy placement, and drilling. The event raises money for the Neurosurgical Research and Education Foundation (NREF) and awards prizes to the “top gun” for each station and overall. This popular AANS is a testament to how technology and education can easily be integrated for a good cause.

Neurosurgeons work hard, but we also play hard. Each spring neurosurgery departments across the country enter teams into our Charity Softball Tournament, which raises money for the NREF. Last year’s tournament included teams from more than 25 different neurosurgery departments! Teams will converge again in New York City in June 2013 for the 10th annual tournament.

If you’re a neurosurgery resident or young neurosurgeon and are interested in getting involved with the YNC, please don’t hesitate to contact me for more information!

Krystal L. Tomei, MD, MPH
Young Neurosurgeons Committee Secretary-Elect

ACS Advisory Council for Neurosurgery

The Advisory Council for Neurosurgery will meet at the American Association for Neurological Surgeons annual meeting in April in New Orleans, LA. Graduate medical education funding, repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, and medical liability reform continue to be legislative priorities. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Maya Babu, MD

ACS Clinical Scholars-in-Residence Program Announcement

The ACS is offering a two-year onsite fellowship in surgical outcomes research, health services research, and health care policy. The application process has begun for positions starting on July 1, 2014. Applicants must be U.S. citizens who have completed two years of clinical training, and obtain two years of program funding from their home institution or other granting agency.

The Clinical Scholar will work in multiple areas within the ACS Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care to advance the quality improvement initiatives of the ACS, offering opportunities to perform research relevant to ongoing projects within the ACS. Concurrent with their research fellowship, participants will earn a master’s degree from Northwestern University. Strong clinical, statistical, and health services research mentoring will be provided through the ACS. Prior participants have had excellent, productive experiences that have launched careers in this field.

Important Dates
Application process opens: January 1, 2013
Application deadline: March 15, 2013
Interview notification: April 1, 2013
Interview process: May 2–14, 2013
Notification of appointment: June 14, 2013
Starting date: July 1, 2014

Find out more information about the Clinical Scholars Program.

If you have additional questions, please contact the ACS Clinical Scholars Program at

Applications for ACS-AGS James C. Thompson Fellowship Due March 15

Applications for the American College of Surgeons-American Geriatrics Society (ACS-AGS) James C. Thompson Fellowship, funded by the Hartford Foundation, are due March 15. The Fellowship, a two-year onsite program starting July 1, 2013, is intended for residents who are interested in developing skills and knowledge in surgical outcomes research, health services research, and health care policy with a focus on geriatric surgery. Applicants must be U.S. citizens who have completed at least two years of clinical training. The College welcomes applications from individuals who are finishing residency and are looking for research opportunities before starting a fellowship or accepting a full-time position.

The ACS-AGS Clinical Scholar will work within the ACS Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care at the College’s headquarters in Chicago, IL, to advance the College’s quality improvement initiatives for the care of older surgical patients. At the same time, the scholar will benefit from opportunities to perform research relevant to ongoing ACS projects and earn a master’s degree through Northwestern University. Strong clinical, statistical, and health services research mentoring will be provided through the ACS and by local geriatrics experts. Previous participants have had productive experiences that have launched their research careers. Residents considering applying for a 2014 ACS Clinical Scholars-in-Residence position may also consider applying for this position.

Important Dates
Application deadline: March 15, 2013
Interview notification: March 22, 2013
Interview process: April 1–15, 2013
Notification of appointment: April 20, 2013
Starting date: July 1, 2013

For more information, please contact

Surgeons PAC Leadership Opportunities for RAS Members

The ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC is the political arm of the ACS that was established to represent the views of all surgeons to their government officials. The PAC is nonpartisan and supports candidates whose views are consistent with the ACS mission of providing excellent care to the surgical patient. The PAC is currently in the process of establishing local and regional leadership posts for RAS members. If you are interested in legislative matters and want to get more involved with advocacy at the local and national level, please contact Brian Gavitt at for more information.

Annual Leadership Conference and Advocacy Summit

The Annual Leadership Conference and Advocacy Summit will take place April 13–16 in Washington, DC, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Registration is now open. Many ACS Regents and Governors of the ACS will attend this year’s conference, and a breakout session by states will lead to lively discussions about regional and national issues.

RAS members are strongly encouraged to attend because there will be opportunities to interact with College leadership and to visit your legislators’ offices on Capitol Hill. The conference schedule includes talks by prominent surgeons, notable political leaders, and commentators, as well as opportunities to help shape the College’s advocacy agenda. This summit is an excellent way to meet with your legislators and help ensure that our voices are heard. For more information on the Summit, please visit the website. Register early for reduced registration fees.

Annual Symposium Debate

Get in on the Debate
“Patient Rankings: Should Patient Feedback Affect our Pay and Delivery of Care?”
Essays Due: Friday, April 5 to

At this year’s ACS Clinical Congress RAS Symposium, we will feature the following topic: “Patient Rankings: Should Patient Feedback Affect Our Pay and Delivery of Care?” You have an opportunity to join the debate by applying for the Sixth Annual Resident Submissions Competition!

The RAS Symposium will feature a debate among surgical leaders on the timely topic of patient rankings and their use in day-to-day practice. RAS invites all members to participate in the Annual Resident Submissions Competition. Please submit your opinions on “Patient Rankings: Should Patient Feedback Affect Our Pay and Delivery of Care?” to the RAS. First-place winners for both pro—in favor of patient rankings influencing practice—and con—against patient rankings influencing practice—will be invited to present their viewpoint at the RAS Symposium held at the 2013 ACS Clinical Congress. Third and fourth place winners will have their submissions published in the ACS Bulletin.

Submission guidelines:

  1. Maximum of 1,000 words
  2. References not required, but are preferred
  3. Due by April 5 to

If you have questions, please contact Maya Babu at

RAS Executive Board

Brian Santin, MD, Chair
Rob Winfield, MD, Vice Chair
Joseph Sakran, MD, Secretary
Heena Santry, MD, Ex-Officio

RAS Governing Board

Maya Babu, MD
Aaron Baker, MD
Megan Durr, MD
Juliet Emamaulle, MD
Alhambra Frarey, MD
Nina Glass, MD
Atul Kamath, MD
Michael McGee, MD
Nick Mouawad, MD
Israel Nosnik, MD
Mehul Raval, MD
Lauren Smithson, MD
Renée Solomon, MD
Elliot Wakeam, MD
Christian Vercler, MD