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

From the Director’s Desk—Freshen the Fabric

Heidi Nelson, MD, FACSHeidi Nelson, MD, FACS
Medical Director, ACS Cancer Programs

Welcome to the new Cancer Programs News. Although the transition from The Brief to this new newsletter may not seem like a giant leap, it does open the door for inclusion of more diverse content and for the targeting of content distribution. Indeed, we will soon introduce you to representatives from each of the programs who have graciously agreed to become part of the news team and report on updates from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Cancer Programs as well as on high-impact scientific and clinical cancer breakthroughs. As we expand the news content, we will also be working with Cori Ashford, the new Director of the ACS Division of Integrated Communications, to employ electronic publishing techniques that will allow us to match content distribution with reader interest. These are just two examples of how we are working to “freshen the fabric” while preserving our programs’ values and primary mission.

The concept of freshening the fabric is borrowed from Dr. Louis Buie, whose Minnesota State Medical Association presidential address, “For Manners Are Not Idle,” described 1947 as a time of stress, fatigue, and impatience as well as an age of science (“an age of dangerous science… which is about to strip all other activities,” according to Dr. Buie). Borrowing from Tennyson, “For manners are not idle, but the fruit of loyal nature and of noble mind,” Buie encouraged morality, manners, proper human relationships, and knowledge creation as the antidote to strife and discourse. Buie declared that it was our duty as physicians “to freshen the fabric of our knowledge.” Acknowledging and believing that knowledge is the product of great labor and sacrifice and that it builds a better world, Dr. Buie wove principles, affection, and morality together as elements essential for the rebirth of community soul and national conscience. The imagery of fabric brings to mind how the weaving of many threads of human expression, protection, and comfort supports our human existence. Indeed, freshening the fabric captures just a bit of the complexity and humanity of the decades-long journey of the thousands of professional men and women of the Cancer Programs who gave selflessly of their time, energy, and inspiration to make a difference in cancer care. Each generation labored and left their legacy by generating knowledge, improving practices, and providing comfort to patients with cancer. As the Cancer Programs move strategically forward, we will continue to exercise our humanity as we build new knowledge, give of ourselves, and freshen the fabric to leave it better.