News From the College

Revitalized leadership conference motivates members to redefine roles and responsibilities


"The goal of this portion of the meeting is to renew our pledge to each other as leaders," said David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, Executive Director of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) in his opening remarks at the second annual Leadership Conference, April 13-14, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, DC.

The 2013 Leadership Conference—held in conjunction with the Advocacy Summit—drew 308 attendees from all levels of ACS leadership, including Regents, Governors, Advisory Council members, and Chapter leaders.

ACS Young Fellows and ACS staff attended the 2013 Leadership Conference.

A "recommitment to ACS leadership goals" was a central message of this year’s conference, according to Patricia L. Turner, MD, FACS, Director, ACS Division of Member Services. Part of this re-energized focus included the unveiling of a new and expanded list of ACS Board of Governors (B/G) duties presented by Lena M. Napolitano, MD, FACS, Chair of the B/G. These new expectations, including mandatory attendance at future Leadership Conference and Advocacy Summit meetings, are intended to enhance "bi-directional communication between the Board of Governors and their constituents," explained Dr. Napolitano.

A new interactive component of the meeting fostered relationship-building among colleagues, as participants convened by geographic location to identify areas for synergy and unity in addressing common challenges. A representative from each breakout session presented the findings to the group-at-large. Common themes to emerge from these breakout sessions included a need for increased communication among chapter members, enhanced member engagement, and a desire for professional development training.

Roles and responsibilities

Other conference sessions covered a spectrum of topics tethered to the meeting’s leadership theme. A session on Roles and Responsibilities focused on the functions of ACS Regents, Governors, Chapters, and Advisory Council Chairs.

Julie A. Freischlag, MD, FACS, Chair of the Board of Regents, outlined the "Top 10 Things a Regent Should Do," including "attend Regents’ meetings, prepare for and talk at Regent meetings, and communicate to your group about the ACS."

Dr. Napolitano summarized the enhanced duties of the B/G. "The Governors act as a liaison between the Board of Regents and the Fellows and as a clearinghouse for the Regents on general assigned subjects and on local problems," she said, quoting the College Bylaws.

"Our mission is to bring the voice of the Fellows forward so that the Regents can make important decisions," explained Dr. Napolitano.

John P. Rioux, MD, FACS, Chair of the Board of Governors National Chapter Workgroup, outlined the key duties of the Chapter Officers, and underscored the importance of developing a strategic plan. "Develop an operational plan, assign tasks with established timelines, and develop measures of success necessary to fully implement the strategic plan," he advised.

Finally, E. Christopher Ellison, MD, FACS, Chair, Advisory Council for General Surgery, and Chair, Advisory Council Chairs presented an overview of the ACS Advisory Councils for the Surgical Specialties. "Since the founding of the College, surgical specialties have been closely integrated into all College activities," observed Dr. Ellison, noting that ACS Advisory Councils for Surgical Specialties:

• Serve as a liaison between the surgical societies and the Regents

• Advise the Regents on policy matters relating to their specialties

• Nominate Fellows from the surgical specialties to serve on College committees

• Provide specialty input on the development of general and specialty sessions for the Clinical Congress

Review of ACS Infrastructure

The Leadership Conference’s second block of meetings featured presentations by ACS staff members and others on key areas of the College. "This next section of the agenda is a review of the infrastructure of the American College of Surgeons and highlights the offerings of each division," explained Dr. Turner.

Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS, FRCSC, Director, ACS Division of Education, underscored the division’s "special focus on the two ends of residency training—the transition from medical school to surgery residency and the transition from training to independent surgical practice." The College publication titled Successfully Navigating the First Year of Surgical Residency lists the critical cognitive, clinical, and technical skills needed for the first year of residency training.

In an effort to assist residents who are concerned about moving into independent surgical practice, the Division of Education has introduced the new ACS Transition to Practice Program in General Surgery initiative.

The program is taking place in several underserved regions and is designed to help residents:

Obtain more autonomous experience in general surgery, increase their clinical competence, learn about practice management, connect with mentors, and participate in experiential learning.

Dr. Sachdeva also unveiled the ACS Division of Education’s new tagline, "Blended Surgical Education and Training for Life," which describes the department’s ongoing mission of promoting "excellence and expertise in surgery through innovative education, training, verification, validation, and accreditation."

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