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

May 2013

Message from the RAS Chair
Call for Resident and Associate Society Committee Representatives
RAS L/R Responsibilities and Appointment Requirements
Report from the Advisory Council for Pediatric Surgery
Paul Farmer Global Surgery Fellowship Accepting Applications
Report from the Women in Surgery Committee
Report from the RAS Communications Committee
Announcing the International Scholar Exchange Program
Donate to the ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC

Message from the RAS Chair

The Resident and Associate Society (RAS) announces a number of new programs for all RAS members at the ACS Clinical Congress this year in Washington, DC. There will be a dramatic change to the RAS meetings held on Sunday, October 6.

A Resident Leadership Session will inform RAS members of the opportunities and avenues available to them to become leaders in today's surgical voice. This session will provide an integrated experience with current and past RAS members and leaders of the ACS—including ACS President A. Brent Eastman, MD, FACS—to emphasize the importance of active membership within the ACS during and after residency and fellowship. This session will provide an excellent opportunity for all RAS members. Be sure to plan on attending this session on Sunday, October 6, at 12:30 pm!

Immediately before the Resident Leadership Session, the RAS will host a Networking/Welcome to Clinical Congress Luncheon, which will kick off an entire week of activities, sessions, and programming focused specifically on RAS members of the ACS. All RAS members are welcome to attend the complimentary lunch as well as the Resident Leadership Session. Mark your calendars now and begin putting in your requests for time off so that you can plan to arrive in Washington, DC, by late Sunday morning.

Changes to the schedule are forthcoming. You will receive the changes via e-mail or mail; so be on the lookout for further details.

Residents and associates interested in getting involved in ACS can become leaders and connect with other like-minded surgery trainees across the country and world. Become an active member of RAS. Simply join any one of the committee calls we host each week on Wednesday evenings (call numbers below). In the near future, we hope to have a completely revamped SharePoint website where we will be able to direct both new and old RAS members alike. The website should help RAS members communicate easier, track project progress, and help ensure a smoother transition of leadership.

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

Brian J. Santin, MD
Chair, RAS
Vascular Surgery Fellow
Good Samaritan Hospital, Cincinnati, OH


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)

Call for Resident and Associate Society Committee Representatives

The following ACS committees will have vacancies for a RAS representative in October 2013:

  • American Medical Association-Resident Section
  • Advisory Council for Colon and Rectal Surgery
  • Advisory Council for Gynecology and Obstetrics
  • Advisory Council for Neurological Surgery
  • Advisory Council for Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Advisory Council for Urology
  • Association of Women in Surgery
  • Committee on Diversity Issues
  • Patient Education
  • Perioperative Care
  • Women in Surgery

Please review the RAS Liaison and Representative (L/R) responsibilities and application requirements below. These positions involve a three-year term. If you are interested in getting involved with any of these committees, please submit your application with the following documents:

  • Letter of interest for specific committee/position
  • Letter of support from current program director or supervisor that also indicates the applicant will have sufficient time off to partake in activities
  • Current curriculum vitae

Applications are due May 15 to

RAS L/R Responsibilities and Application Requirements

Liaison and Representative (L/R) terms begin at the end of each Clinical Congress and conclude after the committee's annual meeting at the Clinical Congress during the L/R's third year. Due to the relative brevity of training and the need for experience as a trainee and activity within RAS before beginning the term, RAS L/Rs will typically serve a single term. L/Rs who still have at least three years of RAS eligibility remaining may, at the request of a committee chair, be renewed for a second three-year term. In order to allow as many interested RAS members as possible to serve on a committee, a RAS member may not serve simultaneously on more than one committee or Advisory Council as a RAS L/R.

The L/R must participate in at least 75 percent of committee meetings and continually seek feedback from the four standing committees of the RAS via conference calls. These requirements help ensure that the L/R adequately represents RAS members' aggregate views. The RAS L/R will provide quarterly feedback on committee activities throughout the year via e-mail/conference calls. In addition, the L/R must submit a written annual report of their committee's efforts, with particular focus on RAS-relevant issues and the L/R's role on the committee, to RAS at the conclusion of each year after the annual Clinical Congress. The RAS will cover the costs of attending in-person meetings, but the L/R must adhere to the requirements for booking and scheduling flights and accommodations.

In addition, the RAS representative will keep the designated Board of Governors (B/G) member informed of all committee activities. The B/G is now structured to align itself with the Divisions of the College. Five pillars now exist: Member Services, Education, Advocacy and Health Policy, Quality, and Communication, and each of the ACS standing committees exists within one of these pillars.

New L/Rs will be selected after review of an applicant's letter of intent, curriculum vitae, and letters of support from current program directors (division chief or chair for Associate Fellows). Letters should detail the applicant's interest in the committee, prior involvement in RAS, and ability to comply with the requirements above. We will notify new L/Rs in a timely manner, in advance of the Clinical Congress so that they may meet with the outgoing L/R and attend their committee's annual meeting before the official start of their term.

Report from the Advisory Council for Pediatric Surgery

The Advisory Council for Pediatric Surgery met on Saturday, April 14, in Washington, DC. The meeting was strategically scheduled for the day before the start of the ACS Leadership and Advocacy Summit. The Advisory Council continues to be a strong voice to and for the ACS with new representatives and brings together a variety of organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA), the Association of Pediatric Surgery Training Program Directors, and the American Board of Surgery. Key topical discussions that spilled into the Advocacy Summit included addressing Medicaid funding for children and gun control and safety. Along with several other national organizations, the ACS will release bullet points to improve health care quality, safety, and efficiency through the national Choosing Wisely campaign including a point to limit CT scan use in children being evaluated for appendicitis and to consider ultrasound imaging first.

The meeting included several discussions regarding nominations for ACS committees and national awards. Of note, W. Hardy Hendren III, MD, FACS, FRCS (Ire, Eng, Glas) (Hon), was awarded the 2012 Jacobson Innovation Award for his work with surgical management of complex urogenital tract abnormalities. Prof. Lewis Spitz was awarded Honorary Fellowship in 2012 for his international contribution to pediatric and general surgery.

Participants at the meeting reviewed Advisory Council for Pediatric Surgery–sponsored programs held during the 2012 ACS Clinical Congress. These highly attended and well-received sessions included presentations on fetal surgery and childhood thoracic surgery. The group discussed topics for the 2013 Clinical Congress and began planning several stimulating sessions, including congenital anorectal malformations and the transition to adult care, an update on pediatric traumatic brain injury, timing of acute appendicitis surgery—to wait until the following morning or to operate now, an update on intestinal failure management, how to approach neck masses in children, and an update on head and neck trauma in adults and children. In addition, the 2013 Clinical Congress will feature a hands-on skills course on Ultrasound for Pediatric Surgeons that we expect will fill quickly. Planning for the 2014 Clinical Congress is also well underway with sessions being developed around bariatric/obesity surgery in adolescents, approaches to adrenal mass work-up and surgery, updates in inflammatory bowel disease management in children, and innovation in pediatric surgery.

Pertinent to the approximately 150 pediatric surgical trainees across the U.S. and Canada, a pediatric Surgical Council on Resident Education portal is being developed that will bolster the core curriculum at training programs. Initial modules should be available later this year. The portal is a promising, up-to-date tool that will help manage time and focus reading on key content during clinically busy fellowship training. In order to increase surgical resident interest in pediatric surgery, the APSA has a resident membership available to general surgery residents. APSA dues are waived and membership provides access to educational opportunities, white papers, and information on the official APSA website, as well as opportunities for networking and collaboration with APSA members. This membership is also associated with discounts to the annual meeting and the Journal of Pediatric Surgery. Those interested should e-mail or download an application from the APSA website. Upcoming meetings include the APSA annual meeting in May 2013 in Marco Island, FL, and the AAP national conference in October 2013 in New Orleans, LA. Residents who are interested in becoming more active in RAS or have questions or concerns for the Advisory Council for Pediatric Surgery, please e-mail me.

Mehul V. Raval, MD, MS
Advisory Council for Pediatric Surgery RAS Representative
Pediatric Surgery Fellow at Nationwide Children's Hospital
The Ohio State University School of Medicine, Westerville

Paul Farmer Global Surgery Fellowship Accepting Applications

ACS members are invited to apply for the Paul Farmer Global Surgery Fellowship, a one- to two-year program designed to study the role of surgical care in population-based health care in resource-poor settings. This fellowship, available in two tracks, is open to surgeons who have completed residency (clinical or research track) or surgical residents who are taking a scheduled break in residency to conduct research (research track). The program will be led by John G. Meara, MD, FACS, and Mike Steer, MD, FACS, and will begin on July 1, 2014. As part of the fellowship, participants may opt to pursue a master's degree in public health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Learn more about the fellowship and how to apply. The early application deadline for research applicants is May 15. Final applications are due October 1.

Operation Giving Back

Report from the Women in Surgery Committee

The Women in Surgery Committee (WiSC) held a strategic planning meeting before the Leadership and Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC, in April. The overriding theme was how to reach out to all surgeons and make the ACS more visible and active in their daily practice. To those ends, subcommittees of WiSC developed the following recommendations and action plans relevant to the WiSC as well as ACS members in general.

Committee Structure and Mission

  • A new WiSC mission statement was drafted and is in the process of being finalized by committee members.
  • Proposals are also under review for restructuring the size and composition of the committee and subcommittees.


  • WiSC Mentoring Program for Women in Surgery in Transition to Practice is a program designed for associate and new fellows in their first three years of practice with targeted objectives identified by the mentee in one of the following areas: career development and advancement, research, work-life balance, practice development, and leadership development.
  • The current mentoring process requires a mentee to submit an application and the committee will match the applicant with a mentor. Participation and meeting at Clinical Congress is encouraged but not required.
  • The committee is also looking into possible additions and modifications to the program, including: online video chatting, social events, social media/Facebook page, online mentor match program.

Program and Education

  • Panel ideas for 2014 Clinical Congress were discussed and suggestions were made around the topics of physician wellness, women's health, vacation/time-off balance (for individuals and among colleagues), work-life balance, and professional development.
  • Olga Jonasson Lecture—Pauline Chen will be the speaker at the 2013 Clinical Congress. Ideas for future speakers included Sheryl Sandberg, Meg Whitman, Cathy DeAngelis, Ben Barres, and Anne-Marie Slaughter.
  • The creation of a WiSC Summit in conjunction with the Leadership and Advocacy Summit or with the Association of Women in Surgery was also discussed.
  • A white paper on how to become more involved with the ACS is being developed.
  • The addition of durable content to the ACS website—such as online programming, social media, Web-based sessions, clips from Clinical Congress—are being explored.

Awards and Recognition

  • Concern was raised that women may be discouraged from applying for certain awards, particularly traveling fellowships, because of the time commitment involved. Current awards and the history of women recipients of these awards are being researched.
  • WiSC subcommittee will develop a list of award opportunities and nominating committees and encourage women surgeons to apply.

If you have any questions or comments that you would like brought before the committee, please feel free to e-mail me.

Jillian K. Smith, MD, MPH
Women in Surgery Committee RAS Liaison
General Surgery Resident
University of Massachusetts, Shrewbury

Report from the RAS Communications Committee

Several members of the RAS Communications Committee attended the ACS Leadership and Advocacy Summit, held in Washington, DC, in April. At an informal, face-to-face Communications meeting, we reviewed the progress of the committee's projects. The RAS subcommittees are finishing up the articles for the RAS-themed issue of the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons, which focus on "The Evolution of General Surgical Training." Browse the August 2013 issue when it arrives in the mail—we are writing these articles specifically to target our membership's perspective. Raphael Sun, MD, has diligently updated our RAS Facebook page. If you have ideas for the Facebook page, please contact Dr. Sun at

RAS announces fifth annual essay contest

The RAS Communications Committee's fifth annual essay contest—focused on "How Surgeons Deal with Complications"—is now open to all RAS members. 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 that can be directly attributed to an error in surgical technique or clinical judgment. Surgeons are put in the unique position of having these errors blossom 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 individual 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 ACS Clinical Congress.

  • The deadline for essay submissions is May 15.
  • E-mail all submissions with contact information—including e-mail address, phone number, mailing address, PGY level, and program—to Peg Haar at

Articles for Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons

The Communications Committee invites resident members to submit articles on topics relevant to issues facing us. Accepted articles will be submitted for publication in the Bulletin. Please submit article ideas to and include the words "RAS Bulletin Submission," the date, and your last name in the subject of the e-mail. Manuscripts should be no more than 3,200 words in length, well-written, and cite relevant literature, if appropriate.

Get involved with our committee

We hold conference calls on the third 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, RAS Communications Committee
General Surgery Resident
Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Announcing the RAS International Scholar Exchange Program

The RAS Membership Committee announces the International Exchange Program. This year we are affording the opportunity for four RAS members to travel to four host nations where the selected international exchange scholar will attend the country's surgical society meeting and learn about the surgical opportunities and systems abroad. The host nations this year are Australia, Ireland, Italy, and Lebanon.

The dates are:

  • Italy, June 24–27, 2013
  • Ireland, November 2013
  • Lebanon, December 2013
  • Australia, May 2014

Interested applicants should send an e-mail to listing name, institution, PGY level, and a short essay (300 words) describing why they think they should be selected and how being selected will influence their future endeavors. In addition, please list in order of preference your choice of nation. Applications are due May 10.

This opportunity is made possible through the generosity of the ACS International Relations Committee and the RAS. The participants will be given a $2,500 stipend to cover airfare and expenses. This program is reciprocated with the host nations as we sponsored four scholars at our Clinical Congress in Chicago in October 2012.

This is a great opportunity to foster international relations and promote international friendship.

Nicolas J. Mouawad, MD, MPH, MBA, MRCS
Chair, RAS Membership Committee
Vascular Surgery Fellow
The Ohio State University, Columbus

Dino Spaniolas, MD
Vice-Chair, RAS Membership Committee
General Surgery
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH

Donate to the 2013 ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC

There is still time to join the political action committee—ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC—whose sole focus is to protect your ability to care for surgical patients. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is changing the health care landscape, and it will have its greatest impact on our generation of surgeons, making it vital that residents have a seat at the policy decision-making table. Every donation to the ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC helps maintain our active presence in Washington, DC, by educating and supporting legislators to understand the critical role of surgeons. RAS members can become 2013 PAC members for $25, high donor members for $50, or elite donor members for $250. PAC members attending the ACS Clinical Congress will be acknowledged with a PAC ribbon on their badge and a pin denoting their membership level. To join or renew, simply:

  1. Go to
  2. Enter your member ID into the field on the right. (If you don't know your member ID, e-mail to have it sent to you.)
  3. Fill out your donation amount and whether you want to do a one-time donation or have recurring monthly automatic deductions.

Thanks to all who are investing in the future of our profession. For any questions contact

Contributions to ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Contributions are voluntary, and all members of ACSPA have the right to refuse to contribute without reprisal. Federal law prohibits ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC from accepting contributions from foreign nations. By law, if your contributions are made using a personal check or credit card, ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC may only use your contribution to support candidates in federal elections. All corporate contributions to ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC will be used for educational and administrative fees of ACSPA and other activities permissible under federal law. Federal law requires ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC to use its best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation, and the name of the employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year. ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC is a program of the ACSPA, which is exempt from federal income tax under section 501c(6) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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