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

Summer 2014

Message from the Editor

Participate in the YFA Mentorship Program

Leadership Advice

Essay Contest Winners Announced

Our Stories: YFA 2014 Video Project

Get Involved with an ACS Regional Committee on Trauma

ACS Palliative Care Committee Seeking Young Fellows

Young Fellows Leadership Circle

Camp ACS: Childcare Solutions at Clinical Congress

Message from the Editor

This spring, the Young Fellows Association (YFA) Governing Council attended the American College of Surgeons (ACS) 2014 Leadership & Advocacy Summit. We discussed many topics, including mentorship, emotional intelligence, chapter participation, and becoming a surgeon leader. The event was capped off with a trip to Capitol Hill by College members in a tour de force that raised issues pertinent to surgeons and their patients. The overwhelming message of the meeting was one of getting involved through the many opportunities the College has to offer. This quarter’s YFA e-News highlights many great avenues to get to know and become more involved in the College.

Joshua A. Broghammer, MD, FACS
YFA e-News Editor
Kansas City, KS

Participate in the YFA Mentorship Program

On behalf of the YFA, we invite you to submit your application for the 2014–2015 YFA Mentorship Program. This program establishes a one-year mentor/mentee match focused on engagement in College activities.

As I’m sure you know, involvement of Young Fellows in College activities is key to the future of the ACS. As a “young” surgeon myself, I know too well that many of us become Fellows but have difficulty participating further in the activities of the College outside of attending . This program is one way we are trying to improve the experiences of Young Fellows with the College.

Our objective is to create a program to strengthen Young Fellows’ engagement and participation in the ACS. This expanded mentorship program will accept a maximum of 20 mentor/mentee pairs and will run from August 2014 to September 2015.
If you are interested in serving as a mentee, please complete a mentorship application form, consisting of one page of questions and a CV.

  • The application deadline is June 30.
  • Applications will be reviewed in July and mentees will be notified in early August of their mentor/mentee pairings.
  • Initial contact between the mentor/mentee pairs will be arranged by Rebecca C. Britt, MD, FACS, and the YFA staff.
  • You must be able to attend the Clinical Congress October 26–30 in San Francisco, CA, to participate in the program this year.

Participation in this one-year program will include:

  • An introductory phone call between the mentor and mentee in August or September.
  • An in-person meeting at Clinical Congress 2014 at our mentorship kick-off meeting.
  • Selection of a goal generated by the mentor/mentee pair for the mentee’s participation in 2014-2015 within the first three months of program participation. Goals may include participation in the ACS YFA, a local ACS chapter, another ACS committee, or activity or attendance at the ACS Leadership Summit.
  • Follow-up phone conversations on a bimonthly basis.
  • An exit interview by Dr. Britt of the mentor/mentee pairs in September 2015 .

We look forward to what we believe will be a beneficial program for all participants. Please contact me if you have any additional questions.

Rebecca C. Britt, MD, FACS
Director, YFA Mentorship Program
Norfolk, VA

Leadership Advice: Robert Bahnson, MD, FACS

Leadership skills are best obtained through practice and experience. I have earned most of my experiential learning from mistakes and the pain that accompanies them.
My advice to younger colleagues consists primarily of dos and don'ts. What follows are representative of the lessons I have tried to absorb.

Above all else, it is imperative that you always be truthful. If you are not truthful, someone will discover it. Your duplicity is often exposed because you can't remember a fabrication you used to dodge an uncomfortable question. Your probity will seldom be celebrated, but its absence will be rapidly shared and hugely detrimental. People who work with you will admire and respect your ability to be direct and candid as long as you listen to them carefully. If you cannot answer truthfully, you can demur. It is always reasonable to ask for time for reflection.

It is essential that you do not overcommit to work assignments. It is much better to honestly admit that you cannot accept an assignment or a project rather than miss the deadline. Similarly, choose your battles carefully and defend your position vigorously and gracefully when it is of great importance. You should not involve yourself in peripheral issues that are of questionable significance to your mission.

I have found that it is useful to identify and emulate a person in an advanced position of leadership. This person can also serve as a mentor and give useful advice when you find yourself in difficult situations. That leader’s experience and emotional detachment from a conflict may often provide insight and a better solution.

Try to develop a strong sense of emotional intelligence. Learn to recognize how colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates perceive your activity and behavior and know that it casts a giant shadow. Try to avoid sharing your innermost confidences with anyone other than your spouse or your attorney. Your communication with them is protected by statute. And never forget: e-mails are forever.

I have found that it is very useful to have a defined moral compass. For me, I have always asked: If this were to appear on the front page of the newspaper, would it in any way embarrass me or my organization? It's also useful to engage and involve your spouse or close confidante in difficult decisions. They often have valuable insight and a different perspective.

Remember that as a leader, it is every bit as important to be a good citizen away from work. The professionalism you bring to your occupation must accompany you in all walks of life. Leadership puts you in the spotlight and the illumination never stops. Put simply, be professional in ALL things.

Robert R. Bahnson, MD, FACS
ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC Chairman
Professor and chairman, department of urology, The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

2014 YFA Essay Contest Winners Announced

We have announced the winners of our 2014 YFA Essay Contest.

Walter T. Lee, MD, FACS, an otolaryngology-head and neck surgeon at Duke University Medical Center and Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, NC; and associate professor, Duke University School of Medicine, wrote the winning essay, “The Promise of a Profession Lies Within Us.” Dr. Lee’s essay will be published in the October 2014 issue of the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons.

Sreekumar Subramanian, MD, FACS, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of Arizona Medical Center, Southern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System, and Tucson Medical Center; and assistant professor, University of Arizona College of Medicine, received second place for his submission, “The Promise of a Profession: The Transformation of Surgery and Surgeons into the Next Decade.” Dr. Subramanian’s essay will be published in an upcoming issue of the YFA e-News.

The Review Committee, which evaluated seven submissions for the annual contest, based their decisions on technical use of grammar, language, and vocabulary; writing style; and topic adherence. For more information on the contest, please contact me.

Ellen Farrokhi, MD, MPH, FACS
YFA Governing Council
Seattle, WA

Our Stories: 2014 YFA Video Project

How many times have you been asked to give a talk on work-life balance and family dynamics as a young surgeon? Who better to speak on this topic than our families? YFA is announcing a call for young surgeons to participate in a self-made video documentary interviewing the families of surgeons. Submissions may be edited for presentation at the ACS Clinical Congress or for use on the ACS website.

To participate in the video documentary, you should:

  • Download and print a sample of possible questions.
  • Use an iPhone, iPad, or other handheld device for video recording.
  • Choose a date, time, and location where you can be uninterrupted for 10–15 minutes. (Tips for success include using natural light and avoiding noisy areas where the audio recording will be distorted.)
  • Choose your interviewees. We encourage you to consider interviewing your children, your spouse, your significant other, your parents, or even your pets.
  • All video clips will be submitted to Dr. Britt for editing. They may be submitted in any format, including video recorded on your phone.

Samples of possible questions to ask are included below, and please feel free to add any additional questions you see fit.

  • What does your mom or dad do for work?
  • Do you think you’d like to be a surgeon, too?
  • What do you think your parents actually do at work?
  • Is your parent able to attend things like your games and meets?
  • Who puts you to bed at night?
  • Have you ever gotten to go to work with your surgeon-parent?
  • What is the coolest part about having a surgeon-parent?
  • Do your friends get to do things you don’t because your parent is a surgeon? For example, climb to the top of the tree, ride their bike without a helmet, stop sitting in a car seat at the age of 10? What is the worst part of having a surgeon-parent?
  • What are the good and bad aspects of having a surgeon as a significant other?

Please e-mail me for submission instructions.

Rebecca C. Britt, MD, FACS
YFA Governing Council
Norfolk, VA

Get Involved in an ACS Regional Committee on Trauma

For those in the trauma care field who would like to become involved at the local level, please consider applying for membership on your local ACS Regional Committee on Trauma (RCOT). RCOT members work to advance trauma care issues in three main categories—education, quality, and advocacy. RCOTs provide faculty for Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS®) and other COT educational courses and symposia. RCOT members address quality improvement issues in areas such as trauma centers, trauma systems, emergency medical services, disaster and mass casualty planning, and injury prevention. RCOT members also track and promote local trauma legislation.

Membership is by appointment only. RCOT Chairs assess the needs of their committee and appoint new members accordingly. Please contact Bridget Blackwood in the ACS Trauma Programs Office at for more information about the ACS RCOTs or if you would like to be contacted by your local ACS RCOT Chair.

ACS Palliative Care Committee Seeking Young Fellows

The ACS Palliative Care Committee has recently undergone an organizational restructuring and is seeking interested Young Fellows to fill committee positions. The committee is now composed of four subcommittees—education, research, quality and patient outcomes, and advocacy and policy. If you are interested in learning more about the Palliative Care Committee or would like to join one of the subcommittees, please contact Kim Echert at

Anne Mosenthal, MD, FACS
Chair, ACS Palliative Care Committee
Newark, NJ

Young Fellows Leadership Circle

In honor of the College’s centennial celebration, the ACS Foundation launched a new donor recognition program exclusively for Young Fellows of the College—the Young Fellows Leadership Circle. This program gives Young Fellows the opportunity to be a part of the College’s philanthropic programs with a lower threshold of giving—your loyalty in supporting the College is more important than the size of your gift. Charitable gifts to the College are critical to mission fulfillment because:

  • Dues account for less than 25 percent of the College’s budget
  • Contributions support nonrevenue programs, including scholarships, fellowships, research, patient education, and Operation Giving Back

Benefits of the Young Fellows Leadership Circle include:

  • Recognition in the Foundation Annual Report, Foundation website, and donor newsletter
  • Access to the Foundation’s Clinical Congress Hospitality Suite and networking opportunities with ACS leadership
  • Development of a giving record for membership in the Fellows Leadership Society, the major gift recognition program of the Foundation
  • Pride in giving back to the surgical profession

Membership giving levels are:

  • First five (5) years as a Young Fellows Leadership Circle member: minimum $200 annual gift
  • Year six (6) until YFA exit: minimum $400 annual gift

We have made it easy for you to give:

  • Donate securely online
  • By phone at 312-202-5338
  • By mail, send a check, payable to ACS Foundation, to 633 N. St. Clair, Chicago, IL 60611-3211
  • On your dues statement, just check the contribution box when paying your dues

If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Klein at 312-202-5384 or

Camp ACS: Childcare Solutions at Clinical Congress

ACS is once again partnering with ACCENT on Children’s Arrangements, Inc., to provide an on-site children’s program during Clinical Congress in San Francisco, CA. The program will provide a number of fun-filled activities, including arts and crafts and active games designed to entertain your children while you are attending meetings and sessions. The camp, which is offered to all children ages 6 months through 17 years, will be held at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel, conveniently located across the street from the Moscone Center. Visit the Clinical Congress website for more information on Camp ACS.

About the YFA

YFA e-News is brought to you by the Communications Work Group of the Young Fellows Association of the American College of Surgeons.

Learn more about the Young Fellows Association (YFA) and volunteer opportunities.

Comments, questions, and advice can be sent to

View the current YFA roster.