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

Clinical Trials and Health Services Research

High-quality surgical care requires the introduction of untested therapies or “significant innovation” through evaluation in clinical trials. Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) supports clinical trials in two ways: facilitating collaboration between Fellows and the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG) and the development, oversight, and management of research grants focusing on surgical clinical trials and health services research.

ACOSOG engages surgeons in clinical trials focusing on surgical management of patients with malignant solid tumors. ACOSOG is one of ten groups identified by the National Cancer Institute to develop multi-institutional clinical trials and is funded appropriately. The organization is headquartered at Duke University and conducts activities that range from development and management of clinical protocols to data collection and validation to study auditing. Membership is required for participation in ACOSOG sponsored trials and a recent article in the Bulletin provides information for physicians to secure membership. An additional article provides insight into three of the most recent trials offered by ACOSOG. These articles provide a good picture of the work ACOSOG is doing and are linked below.

In addition to facilitating collaboration between fellows and ACOSOG, CQI provides administrative oversight on a number of research grants. CQI staff supports new research initiatives through collaborations with both internal committees and external groups interested in conducting clinical trials or health services research topics utilizing American College of Surgeons (ACS) resources. A study titled ‘Inguinal Hernia Management: Watchful Waiting vs. Operation’ funded by AHRQ is an example of a clinical trial funded grant that the college administers and is described in greater detail below. The College would like to see more clinical trials in surgery and has dedicated resources within CQI to support that objective. Health service research refers to issues surrounding delivery of care, management of health services, assessment of health care needs, evaluation of different health services organizations, and the economic impact of health care practices and policies. CQI has provided oversight for health service grants that range from implementation of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program in the private sector to the administration of a Palliative Care Workgroup grant.

Although the American College of Surgeons is not a granting agency, it is well connected within the funding community and can serve as the primary award organization, contractor, or subcontractor. A list of current grant funded initiatives overseen by CQI is included below. Lastly, the College, thru CQI, is working to establish scholarships and fellowships for surgeons interesting in conducting clinical and health services research.

American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG)

The American College of Surgeons Oncology Group, located in Durham, North Carolina, develops and coordinates multi-institutional clinical trials. ACOSOG's primary focus is the surgical management of patients with malignant solid tumors. Originally located at the ACS headquarters, the Group moved its operations to the Duke University Medical Center in January 2001. This move allowed the group to form an association with a strong academic institution, which includes excellent faculties in biostatistics, surgery, and clinical trials research and the Duke Clinical Research Institute.

American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG)

There are currently 12 open studies on the ACOSOG Web site of which seven are ACOSOG studies, two are Cancer Trials Support Unit studies endorsed by ACOSOG, and the remaining three are Intergroup Studies. Find specific information about all of these open trials as well as recently closed trials.