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

Message from the Chair of the Board of Governors

Diana L. Farmer, MD, FACS, FRCS

I hope everyone has been having a great summer! Thank you so much for your participation and enthusiasm at the Leadership & Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC. The Summit was a huge success led off by Melina Kibbe, MD, FACS, FAHA, chair of the department of surgery at the University of North Carolina, who gave a captivating lecture on handling difficult conversations and managing difficult people. She reminded us that 9 percent of physicians cause 50 percent of complaints and that complaints directly correlate with complications. Reminders about leading by building collaborative relationships, as well as the importance of surgeon-leaders rendering aid to the less fortunate by volunteering rounded out the day before the Advocacy portion of the Summit.

The Leadership & Advocacy Summit is the GOVERNOR’s meeting, and we welcome and encourage recommendations about its future content and structure!

The Board of Governors (B/G) Executive Committee (EC) recently met on June 8 in Chicago, IL, for a full-day retreat. Several topics were discussed, including the mission, function, and activity of the different workgroups, communication avenues and challenges, Chapter activity and viability, as well as Board of Governors’ criteria for representation and overall membership. The EC also started to plan the Board of Governors Annual Meeting agenda at the Clinical Congress and the combined Board of Governors and Board of Regents session. Finally, the B/G EC vetted and approved requests for Governor representation from the Kuwait and Bangladesh Chapters. Congratulations to these organizations!

Additionally, the Board of Regents met June 9–10 in Chicago, IL. Drs. Steven Stain, B/G EC Vice-Chair, Susan Moiser, B/G EC Secretary, and I were in attendance as officers of the College. Dr. Moiser participated in the meeting of the Finance Committee and verified the College’s sound financial standing. I was pleased to give a report on behalf of all Governors and workgroups. There is no question that the Regents appreciate how productive the B/G workgroups have been since the B/G was restructured a few years ago. Congratulations to all!

An example of such productivity is apparent in the B/G Pillar and Workgroup Update Summary that will be published in the August edition of the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons. I encourage you to read it. In the meantime, here is a summary of several recent projects:

  • The Health Policy Workgroup of the Advocacy and Health Policy Pillar contributed to the final ACS statement on concurrent surgery and produced a white paper about out-of-network billing, which was advanced to the ACS Health Policy and Advocacy Group for consideration as an ACS advocacy priority.
  • The Physician Competency and Health Workgroup of the Quality, Research, and Optimal Patient Care Pillar has provided ergonomics questions for the Board of Governors Annual Survey, including questions on injuries in the operating room, and is sponsoring a Clinical Congress 2017 session on the disruptive surgeon.
  • The Surgical Training Workgroup of the Education Pillar finalized a standardized letter of recommendation for applicants to surgery training programs. This letter is available on the ACS website for use by anyone who is asked to write a letter of recommendation.
  • The Survey Workgroup of the Communications Pillar is finalizing and preparing to distribute the 2017 B/G survey. Highlight from this year’s survey topics include the Stop the Bleed campaign, work-related injuries/ergonomics of surgery, the role of advanced practice providers, and the opioid crisis. I encourage everyone to participate in this important survey. The results will be shared by Dr. Juan Paramo, Chair of the Survey Workgroup, at the Board of Governors Annual Meeting in October.
  • The Chapter Activities Domestic Workgroup of the Member Services Pillar continues to implement two initiatives: (1) the Resident and Associate Society of the ACS (RAS-ACS) Representative Initiative and (2) the Chapter Dashboard Initiative. The goal of the former is to have a RAS-ACS representative on every domestic chapter council to facilitate the development of ideas for programs, projects, and activities that are attractive to residents and surgeons who have recently entered practice. The goal of the latter is to design a visual representation of the health of the chapter. The dashboard will include such indicators of chapter viability as finances, membership, advocacy, and online presence.
  • The Best Practices Workgroup is creating guidelines on perioperative anticoagulation management.

The Executive Committee created a performance feedback card last year with a list of events and activities in which every Governor should participate during the year. The card was distributed to Governors with the request for comments and feedback. The response was overwhelmingly supportive that the feedback card was very helpful to Governors in guiding their activities. The Executive Committee plans to distribute this card every year to help Governors focus on their requirements and expectations.

Please be on the lookout for a letter from Dr. Mary McGrath on behalf of the ACS Foundation, asking for your support. I encourage you to join me in giving to both the Foundation and the PAC. I hope that we can show strong and unified participation in these important activities of the College, motivating Fellows attending Clinical Congress 2017 to join us in support. Thanks for your consideration!

Speaking of Clinical Congress, I hope you have already made plans to join us in San Diego, CA. The workgroups will meet on Saturday, October 21. The yearly B/G Business Meeting and the Joint Session with the Board of Regents will be held Sunday, October 22. Significant effort has been made to carve out time for open discussion from the floor during the morning and at lunch after the President’s remarks. The Tuesday night dinner promises to be a great occasion to share in the recognition of the 2017 Surgical Volunteerism and Humanitarian Awards, as well as provide an opportunity to renew our camaraderie and friendship. On Wednesday morning, we will conclude our official business with the Adjourned Meeting. Highlights of Clinical Congress 2017 include the NEW ACS Academy of Master Surgeon Educators and the 50th anniversary celebration of the Principles of Surgery.

I look forward to seeing you in San Diego!