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

Letter from the Editor

Russell J. NautaRussell J. Nauta, MD, FACS
Governor, American Surgical Association (ASA)
Editor, The Cutting Edge: News and Notes from the Board of Governors

Welcome to the latest edition of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Board of Governors’ newsletter, released just in advance of the Leadership & Advocacy Summit to be held May 19–22, 2018, in Washington, DC.

Minor changes to the format of this newsletter and its availability as an electronic-only document are intended to avoid unnecessary duplication with other informational material about the meeting. We have retained the “On the Shoulders of Giants” column, this month featuring an entry by West Virginia Governor Bryan K. Richmond, MD, MBA, FACS, on former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, MD, FACS. The name of the column is abstracted from a statement by Sir Isaac Newton, who attributed his clarity of thought and scientific leadership to his perch on the shoulders of those who preceded him. Dr. Koop is among the most recognized Surgeons General in U.S. history, with dual interests in clinical medicine and public policy.

With respect to public policy, the College has recently engaged in a robust discussion of issues such as gun purchase, gun safety, and background checks. The general surgery and trauma online ACS Communities, overseen by Tyler Hughes, MD, FACS, continue to have freewheeling discussions on these topics and related topics such as the Stop the Bleed campaign. Discussants have been emphatic, passionate, and frank. A robust discussion with limited moderation ensures that the message doesn’t get lost in the syntax.

As Governors, we’re often looking to the future, and we assume a degree of permanence to the organization or chapter we represent. But it’s always interesting to juxtapose the familiarity of an established chapter or a mature surgical organization with new chapters as they appear. This issue features a contribution by Hiba Abdel Aziz, MBBCh, FACS, regarding the newly formed Qatar Chapter and the health care system in her country.

Another significant development since the last issue of this newsletter is the engagement of College leadership and American Board of Surgery (ABS) directors in discussions regarding the best way to recertify. The written exam every 10 years approach has come under scrutiny in the face of sub-specialization within surgery. Judging by everything from locker room discussions to newsletters from the ABS, opinions vary, and few surgeons find themselves to be lacking an opinion. Some acknowledge the value of reaffirming broad knowledge of the field, but others believe that the narrow field in which they practice should be the focus of recertification efforts. Jo Buyske, MD, FACS, ABS executive director, and Mary Klingensmith, MD, FACS, ABS director, have sought the input of the Fellows, in part because surgeons are not shy and in part because the increasing popularity of ABS recertification accommodating subspecialty testing means at least a portion of the recertification process is expected to change. Those who have several years left before recertification will be grandfathered/grandmothered in. Now is the time to acquaint yourself with the issues around recertification. Engage in the debate by contacting the board directly, or leave a note on the general surgery ACS Community page after bringing yourself up to speed on the issue.

The contribution of Dr. Hughes to the moderation of the dialogue (in all senses of the word) on the ACS Communities pages cannot be overstated. I would submit that a Fellowship (capital F) that can have a robust discussion with passionate disagreement and nonetheless retain fellowship (with a small f) and civility is a healthy organization. Remain healthy and promote health; you’re a physician.

And come to the Leadership and Advocacy Summit.

Russell J. Nauta, MD, FACS

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Russell J. Nauta, MD, FACS
B/G Newsletter Editor
Chair, Newsletter Workgroup