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

March 2014

Message from the Chair
Annual RAS-ACS Essay Contest
International Exchange Program Application Opening Soon
ACS Residents as Teachers and Leaders Course
RAS-ACS Facebook page
Engaging in Advocacy
Volunteer Needed for ACS Committee on Resident Education
Register for the 2014 Leadership & Advocacy Summit
RAS-ACS Committee Reports
          Advocacy and Issues Committee
          Communications Committee
          Education Committee
          Membership Committee
Liaison Reports
          Advisory Council for Neurological Surgery
          Association of Women Surgeons
          Health Policy and Advocacy Workgroup
          Committee on Medical Student Education
          Women in Surgery Committee
          Governors Chapter Activities International Workgroup
          American Medical Association

Message from the Chair

Vice-Chair of the Resident and Associate Society of the American College of Surgeons (RAS-ACS), Joe Sakran, and I have just returned from an informative and successful meeting with the ACS Board of Regents in Chicago, IL. We had the opportunity to highlight RAS-ACS projects and initiatives. The excitement of the Board and their guests regarding our efforts was palpable. I spoke about traditional projects, including the RAS Symposium and essays that will appear in the August Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons. I could see the Regents light up as we told them about spreading the word about RAS-ACS during specialty society meetings and promoting the Surgical Jeopardy Toolkit for Chapters.

As active RAS-ACS members, you provide the energy that infused the Regents room and make RAS-ACS a beacon of hope for ACS' future. Whether you are a committee chair, a liaison to a Board of Governors workgroup, or simply participate in a Wednesday night conference call and voice your opinion on how to improve an RAS-ACS project, you make this organization great. I would encourage each and every one of you to continue to use your talent and intellect to make this the best organization possible.

If you're a newer member, or are trying to decide what the best opportunity might be for you to contribute, I encourage you to e-mail me and tell me what you're passionate about in the world of surgery. If you do that, I will do my best to connect you with a RAS-ACS opportunity that will fit your interests. I firmly believe that every one of you has great things to add to our organization and I will do my best to help you make that contribution. Please take me up on this offer, and let's work together to make RAS-ACS the best it can be.

Robert D. Winfield, MD
Chair, RAS-ACS
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Washington University in St. Louis (MO)

Monthly Conference Call Schedule

Advocacy and 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)

Annual RAS-ACS Essay Contest

The RAS-ACS sixth annual essay contest, "When I Want to Quit and Why I Don't," is open to all RAS-ACS members. Participants are asked to write an essay of 500 words or less, describing an overwhelming situation that led them to consider changing their career plans. The life of a surgeon is by definition extremely demanding both physically and emotionally. The making of a surgeon involves medical mastery, surgical judgment, technical skills, and a compassionate personality. But how easy is that? Your essay should focus on a unique situation as it pertains to you—the surgeon. Selected essays will be published in the Bulletin and the top essayist will receive a cash award of $500 at the 2014 ACS Clinical Congress.

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

International Exchange Program Application Opening Soon

Applications for the International Exchange Program will open in March 2014. Residents and Associate Fellows will be selected based on a set of specific criteria required within an essay submission. This program affords surgical trainees the opportunity to attend international surgical meetings with the involvement of ACS chapters abroad. This year the countries involved are Australia, Ireland, Italy, and Lebanon. The exchange program has become a highly sought after opportunity, so be sure to stay tuned! Details will be distributed via e-mail in March.

ACS Residents as Teachers and Leaders Course

Registration recently opened for the eighth annual Residents as Teachers and Leaders Course, May 16-18, at ACS Headquarters in Chicago. Designed specifically for surgical residents, the course will address the essential nonclinical skills—leading and teaching—that lead to success as surgeons and members of the health care team. The enthusiastic course faculty, all experts in resident education, will provide a stimulating, interactive environment in which to learn. Residents will learn to:

  • Lead a team more effectively
  • Resolve conflict easily
  • Become a better teacher and find time to teach
  • Give feedback in a constructive manner
  • Apply these skills during and after residency.

A limited number of participants will allow ample interaction with faculty and facilitate networking. This course is targeted at mid- to senior-level residents, but all are welcome to attend. The course will start at 1:00 pm on Friday, May 16, and will conclude by noon on Sunday, May 18. The cost is $270 for ACS Resident Members ($320 for non-members) registered by April 18; $315 after April 18 ($365 for nonmembers). Last year's course was sold out, so it is important to register early.

View a brochure and registration information online. If you have questions about the course, contact Cherylnn Sherman at or 312-202-5424; for registration questions, contact

Register for the 2014 Leadership & Advocacy Summit

The 2014 Leadership & Advocacy Summit will take place March 29–April 1, at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC. Here are five reason why you should register for this year's Summit:

  • This meeting is the only training event offered by the College dedicated to fixing health care through advocacy.
  • We built an agenda that tackles impediments to becoming a successful surgeon leader by sustaining a healthy work-life balance and using emotional intelligence for maximum success.
  • This meeting offers an opportunity to speak directly with your members of Congress about health policy issues important to you.
  • This meeting puts you in close contact with leaders of the College, where you can communicate your ideas.
  • Participate in Lobby Day on April 1, the same day that a 24 percent Medicare physician payment cut is scheduled to take effect. This is your opportunity to advocate for the surgical community. Ask your members of Congress or their staffs to enact reasonable payment reforms that allow you to provide quality care to your patients.

In addition, the RAS-ACS will host a social event at Buffalo Billiards on Saturday, March 29, 8:00–10:00 pm for all Residents attending the Summit. Join the RAS-ACS leadership for an evening of fun and camaraderie. Food and one complimentary drink ticket will be provided. Buffalo Billiards is located at 1330 19th St NW in Washington, DC. We look forward to seeing you there.

Engaging in Advocacy

Advocating on behalf of your patients may be as important as the medicines you prescribe and the operations you perform. A common question is, "How can I possibly figure out the current issues and how they apply to me and to my patients?"

The ACS has provided you with the information you need in a succinct and easily accessible form.

  • Visit
  • Log-on with your ACS ID number (found on the mailing label of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons) and your password (usually your last name).
  • Find issue briefs on topics that are important to you as a surgeon.
  • Access your congressional representatives. The site is customized to you!
  • Send letters (electronically). They are pre-written, but you may edit them in any way you find appropriate.

Want to learn and do even more?
Plan to attend the 2014 Leadership & Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC, March 30-April 1. This is a great opportunity to visit your representative's office on Capitol Hill, learn about current issues, and develop techniques and skills for advocacy.

Please contact me with any questions you may have.

Amy E. Liepert, MD
General Surgery
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Volunteer Needed for ACS Committee on Resident Education

We currently have a vacancy in resident representation on the ACS Committee on Resident Education. This committee addresses the educational needs of surgical residents and Fellows from across surgical disciplines and supports educational efforts to facilitate the transition from medical school to residency training and from residency training into surgical practice.

If you are interested, please submit the following documents by March 31 to

  • Letter of interest for the committee
  • Letter of support from your current program director or supervisor, which indicates that you will have sufficient time off to partake in activities
  • Current curriculum vitae

RAS-ACS Facebook page

Our Facebook page has more than 1,400 likes from members worldwide. We engage our members regularly with wide-ranging news, including updates about conference calls, deadlines for scholarly work, and interesting articles on resident life. Our Twitter handle—@RASACS—has grown steadily since its inception. We have been retweeted by other surgical societies including the Association of Academic Surgery. We're always looking for followers to amplify our reach. Check out the RAS-ACS on Facebook and Twitter!

Mohammad Shaikh, MD
RAS-ACS Facebook Editor

RAS-ACS Committee Reports

Advocacy and Issues Committee

The Advocacy and Issues Committee plans the annual RAS-ACS Symposium at the ACS Clinical Congress, which will be take place this year October 26–30 in San Francisco, CA. This year's topic will be the current state and future of surgical residency training. We will announce the question of the debate and issue a call for essays on this important and controversial topic in April.

Our committee also is preparing a Bulletin article that will explore what residents need to know about the Affordable Care Act and how it might affect their training and future practice.

As always, we encourage anyone who is interested in health care policy to log on to (your ACS member ID and password), which offers free and reliable information on current issues in health care and how to get involved.

Finally, to anyone interested in the Advocacy and Issues Committee, please join us on our conference calls held the first Wednesday of each month or contact the committee leadership.

Corey Wright, MD
Chair, RAS-ACS Advocacy and Issues Committee
Critical Care Surgery
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC

Communications Committee

The 2014 RAS-ACS Essay contest has just started! Sharpen you pencils (or clean your keyboards) and, for a chance to win $500, describe for us a situation in which you considered quitting the surgical field and the reasons that you did not. Watch for upcoming information on the contest.

In addition, the four RAS-ACS standing committees have started working on their articles for the RAS-ACS August Bulletin issue, and members of all committees are working on the content for the RAS-ACS section of the new ACS website.

Konstantinos P. Economopoulos, MD, PhD
Chair, RAS-ACS Communications Committee
Research Fellow in Surgery
Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Education Committee

The Learning Styles Survey manuscript preparation—led by Nina Glass, MD—is in progress. The abstract "A National Survey of Educational Resources Utilized by the Resident and Associate Society of the American College of Surgeons (RAS-ACS) Membership" will be the subject of a podium presentation on Friday, April 11 during the Association of Surgical Education Annual Meeting

The College's marketing team, which is assembling and refining the Surgical Jeopardy prototype, presented its plans to RAS-ACS leadership at the Board of Regents meeting in February. We invite RAS-ACS members to continue to submit Jeopardy questions to our database, managed by Afif Kulaylat, MD. A prototype will be on display at the Leadership Summit.

We are soliciting two to three additional authors for the following Education Committee articles for the August 2014 Bulletin theme: "Surgery at a Crossroads." The following committee members are leading the articles:

  • Hyuma Leland, MD – Technology in Patient Care
  • Ahmad Ahad, MBBS – Impact of Knowledge at Point of Care vs. Fund of Knowledge
  • Rebecca Hoffman, MD, and Robin Petroze, MD – QI and Patient Care Improvement for Residents
  • Afif Kulaylat, MD; Sophia McKinley, MD; and Feibi Zheng, MD – Bootcamp and Curricular Changes for MS4s

E-mail Hyuma Leland if you wish to participate in writing an article.

Feibi Zheng, MD
Chair, RAS-ACS Education Committee
General Surgery Resident
The Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX

Membership Committee

The RAS-ACS Membership Committee announces the third consecutive International Exchange Program this year. The scholarship recipient attends a national surgical meeting overseas and learns about another nation's surgical training system and health care delivery model. There is a reciprocal exchange with residents and young surgeons from abroad who attend the ACS Clinical Congress. Residents and Associate Fellows submit a short essay contest. An article in the April 2014 Bulletin about the International Exchange Program will describe the program and present past participants' feedback. The call for applications for this highly sought opportunity will go live later this month.

Konstantinos Spaniolas, MD
Chair, RAS-ACS Membership Committee
Assistant Professor
East Carolina University, Greenville, NC

Liaison Reports

Advisory Council for Neurological Surgery

The Advisory Council for Neurological Surgery had a productive meeting during the 2013 ACS Clinical Congress. Members discussed health policy legislation and efforts to repeal the SGR. In addition, council members discussed more engagement of subspecialists of neurosurgeons in the political action committee activities of the ACS. The Advisory Council will host another meeting in April at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, which will include a discussion of the role of the RAS-ACS as a conduit for information and resources within neurosurgical residency programs.

Maya Babu, MD
Advisory Council for Neurological Surgery Liaison
Neurological Surgery
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN


The SurgeonsPAC Board held its annual retreat in January. Board members worked on refining the details of creating the SurgeonsPAC Leadership Council, which RAS-ACS members will be eligible to join starting at the 2014 Clinical Congress. Board members also approved SurgeonsPAC campaign spending for U.S. House and Senate races in almost every state, and are recruiting Fellows and RAS-ACS members to personally hand out these checks. If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact me via e-mail. The Leadership & Advocacy Summit offers a great opportunity to meet with your elected officials and become more involved with health advocacy.

Brian J. Gavitt, MD, MPH
ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC Liaison
General Surgery Resident Physician
UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA

American Medical Association

The American Medical Association held its annual meeting in November 2013, where—similar to the ACS Clinical Congress—much of the buzz was about the repeal of the SGR. Both organizations have worked with congressional leaders to push forward legislation permanently repealing the broken SGR system. On February 6, three congressional committees (House Ways and Means, House Energy and Commerce, and the Senate Finance Committees) announced an agreement to move the repeal bills forward. A bipartisan Congress will need to pass legislation March 31. Please login into and tell your legislator how important it is to support this legislation.

Alisha Reiss, MD
American Medical Association Liaison
General Surgery
Mount Carmel Program

Association of Women Surgeons

The Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) is a group of women who work together to inspire, encourage, and enable women surgeons to realize their professional and personal goals from medical school through retirement. This year our theme, "The Year of the Woman Surgeon," will involve monthly themed e-newsletters on leadership, negotiating, family life, mentoring, and networking. Our annual fall conference on Sunday, October 26, in San Francisco will be held in conjunction with the ACS Clinical Congress. Renowned female surgeon speakers, networking opportunities, as well as medical student and resident research competitions will be among the meeting's highlights. We also annually dedicate an issue of the American Journal of Surgery to articles by AWS members.

Membership in AWS is easy and valuable! Join this group of wonderful women individually or ask your department chair to fund an institutional membership to include all female residents and fellows at your program for $500 for up to 20 members or $750 for more than 20 members. Download applications now to become a member: individual membership or institutional membership.

Please join the AWS conversation! Check out our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter  pages and our blog.

Erin M. Garvey, MD
Association of Women Surgeons Liaison
General Surgery
Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ

Committee on Medical Student Education

The Committee on Medical Student Education has begun planning next year's Medical Student Program and fully expects an enticing 2014 program with lively lectures, medical student-targeted educational activities, and panels. This year's program will attract a new group of students enthusiastic about the surgical field. Committee members hope to bring back more attendees to experience another year of education and networking. We look forward to working with the innovative minds joining our field.

Priya Iyer, MD
Committee on Medical Student Education Liaison
General Surgery
Cleveland Clinic Foundation Program, OH

Governors Chapter Activities International Workgroup

The Governors Chapter Activities International Workgroup (GCAW-International) serves as part of the membership service pillar of the ACS Board of Governors to support ACS international engagement. The workgroup promotes fellowship and advocates on behalf of International Chapters and their members.

At the last meeting, workgroup participants discussed the goals of the GCAW-International, including ways to facilitate Clinical Congress attendance of international surgeons, particularly young surgeons. The potentially prohibitive cost of attending the Clinical Congress led participants to discuss the available scholarships and called on one another to help disseminate awareness of these scholarships. Attendees also discussed the recruitment of International Fellows to the College as a means of increasing participation. Additional topics of discussion included standardization of surgical education and certification in other countries to mirror what the ACS has accomplished in the U.S. For example, Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS®) is used worldwide as an educational tool. Similarly, the Fellows Leadership Society has the potential to be widely applied and used for certification. Surgeons in Greece are working to implement the program, in spite of financial difficulties in producing educational opportunities. The GCAW-International is discussing ways to aid in the financial burden of implementing this system abroad.

The next meeting will take place during the 2014 Leadership Summit.

Jeniann Yi, MD
Governors Chapter Activities International Workgroup Liaison
General Surgery
University of Colorado, Denver

Health Policy and Advocacy Workgroup

The ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy will host the annual Leadership & Advocacy Summit, March 29–April 1. This event consists of intensive sessions with ACS leadership, including ACS President Carlos Pellegrini, MD, FACS, and a number of provocative guest speakers. Attendees can enhance their leadership skills, receive updates on active health policy priorities, and learn of ACS leadership opportunities. Activities will culminate on April 1 with "Lobby Day," an opportunity to meet and interact with members of Congress.

Paul Wright, MD, FACS
Health Policy and Advocacy Workgroup Liaison
Orthopedic Surgery
Durham, NC

Women in Surgery Committee

The Women in Surgery Committee (WiSC) recently met via conference call to discuss a variety of ongoing projects. Work by the different subcommittees includes:

  • WISC Mentorship Program: This program matches female general surgeons in their first or second year of academic practice with established female surgeons who serve as mentors for one year. The program, which is moving along well, has several goals, including encouraging mentees to set tangible goals and developing a formal evaluation process.
  • Committee structure and mission: The subcommittee recently created a new mission statement. The next goal is to formalize the process by which new members apply and are appointed to the committee. Individuals interested in learning more about the WiSC or how to become a member should contact me.
  • Education and Leadership Guide development: The committee, under the leadership of Heena Santry, MD, FACS, is developing a Leadership Guide that will include a series of podcasts as well as written descriptions of how to become involved in the College beginning at the medical student level and moving up to the levels of Governor and Regent.
  • Other ongoing projects include planning for proposed Panel Sessions at the 2014 Clinical Congress. If you have ideas for these sessions, please contact me.

Shannon N. Acker, MD
Women in Surgery Committee Liaison
General Surgery Resident
University of Colorado Denver

RAS-ACS Executive Board

Rob Winfield, MD, Chair
Joseph Sakran, MD, Vice-Chair
Maya Babu, MD, Secretary
Brian Santin, MD, Ex-Officio

RAS-ACS Governing Board

Aaron Baker, MD
Megan Durr, MD
Konstantinos Economopoulos, MD
Gerald Gantt, MD
Michael Johnson, MD
Mehul Raval, MD
Lauren Smithson, MD
Renée Solomon, MD
Dino Spaniolas, MD
Stephen Torres, MD
Christian Vercler, MD
Elliot Wakeam, MD
Corey Wright, MD
Feibi Zheng, MD

In the last issue, the facility of Yemi Ogunleye, MB, BS, was listed incorrectly. Dr. Ogunleye is the RAS-ACS representative to the Committee on Diversity Issues from Columbia University/Harlem Hospital in New York, NY. We regret the error.