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

Recap of the 2019 Leadership and Advocacy Summit

Reflections from the 2019 Leadership and Advocacy Summit

Julia Colemanby Julia Coleman, MD
Vice-Chair, RAS Advocacy and Issues Committee

The 2019 Leadership and Advocacy Summit had unprecedented attendance and enthusiasm. The events were launched with a leadership development workshop, hosted by RAS, which included talks by Andrew Resnick, MD, FACS; Dana Telem, MD, FACS; and Leigh Neumayer, MD, FACS.

Dr. Resnick gave a refreshing look at leadership that went beyond the typically discussed social and emotional attributes of good leaders. His talk focused on some of the nuts and bolts of day to day tasks as a leader, including the importance of organizational savvy, planning and running effective meetings, and strategic differences between in-person meetings and conference calls. Through interactive exercises, Dr. Telem demonstrated how competing values framework is useful for understanding how individuals add value to organizations. He also provided insight into the leadership styles that lend themselves to different roles in an academic health system. Dr. Neumayer then closed with an excellent talk on business and medicine, highlighting the importance of building relationships and social capital, keeping a sense of curiosity, reading, and perseverance. She also recommended several books and videos, including Stanley McChrystal’s Team of Teams, Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Admiral William McRaven’s “Make Your Bed” speech, and Marshall Goldsmith’s What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

The first day culminated in a memorable resident reception at the District Chophouse Brewery, hosting by the RAS Advocacy and Issues Committee. There was an increase in attendance from previous years and the event facilitated conversations about new ideas and more peer networking.

The second day of the leadership component of the Summit was filled with several inspiring talks and a packed room of both residents and academic and community surgeons. These talks included: James Elsey, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair of the ACS Board of Regents, who emphasized the importance of understanding and energizing the “why”, not the “what”, as a leader of teams; Gary Peck, a professional coach, who described the core components of effective coaching as creating a safe, challenging, positive environment, staying outcome-oriented, taking time to learn how others learn, listening more and talking less, and remembering the “how” matters; a panel on how to advance and effectively lead in the C-Suite with Julie Freischlag, MD, FACS, Carlos Pellegrini, MD, FACS, Douglas Slakey, MD, FACS, and Michael Zinner, MD, FACS; Thomas Mason, MD, on advocacy and legislative movement around optimizing electronic medical records; state chapter leaders discussing success stories in revitalizing chapters through resident skills competitions and ABSITE review courses and engaging young Fellows of the College; Dana Telem, MD, on mentorship malpractice and missteps; Fernando Lamounier, MD, FACS, on the art and skills of negotiation in contracting; ACS Executive Director David Hoyt, MD, FACS, on ACS updates.

Mid-day, the attendees broke out into ACS state chapters to discuss state-level advocacy efforts and how to increase ACS membership participation.

The second day finished with a dinner talk by retired U.S. Marine Corps officer, fighter pilot, and ground combat leader Dave Berke. This was the first time I have witnessed a speaker go over the allotted scheduled time and a room full of surgeons beg the speaker to keep speaking. His talk was interactive and engaging. He detailed his own military experience and explained how themes of leadership and teamwork in combat translate into clinical work and life skills at large.

The first day of the Advocacy Summit consisted of primers and panels on the pressing issues facing physicians, surgeons, and our patients. This covered a diverse array of issues, including but not limited to: physician reimbursement, funding for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research on firearm-related injury prevention, surprise and anticipated medical bills, increasing access to quality surgical care in rural areas, and optimizing electronic medical record systems.

The day concluded with a SurgeonsPAC-sponsored reception with live music, light snacks, and beverages.

The second day of the Advocacy Summit started with a RAS-sponsored resident breakfast, which included an informative introduction by RAS Chair Naveen Sangji, MD, on how to make the most of RAS membership. After Dr. Sangji’s introduction, HeartHealth strategiest Matt Duckworth walked the audience through the logistics of meetings on Capitol Hill and discussed how to be poised as a surgical resident advocate.

After breakfast, state teams traveled to Capitol Hill to meet with the teams of state representatives and senators to advocate for legislation to ultimately protect patients and create an environment for surgeons to provide the best care.

The 2019 Leadership and Advocacy Summit was a memorable event and only possible through the hard work of SurgeonsPAC and ACS leadership. We highly encourage RAS members to consider participating in future years.

2019 Leadership and Advocacy Summit