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Direct from San Antonio: SGS Fellow Scholar reports from society’s 2017 annual meeting

Dr. Stewart reports for OBG Management. Tune in this week for more exciting coverage from the meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons.

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3/28/17. DAY 3 AT SGS

Exciting presentations continue, society groups provide updates

The team from Mayo Clinic was still riding high this morning after winning last night’s armadillo race, which was part of the Texas hoedown fundraiser for SHARE.

The seventh scientific session started with a nice presentation by Cara Grimes, MD, entitled, “Evaluating ureteral patency in the post-indigo carmine era: a randomized controlled trial.” Several quality presentations followed before Ike Rahn, MD, updated the society on the work of the Fellows Pelvic Research Network, a group currently celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Drs. Star Hampton and Peter Jeppson then took the stage to share the progress of the SGS Pelvic Anatomy Group as they undertake the daunting task of a systematic review of anatomic terms used in the medical literature.

Leadership transition

Surely the moment that SGS President Vivian Sung, MD, had been waiting for all week was the passing of the gavel to incoming president John Gebhart, MD. On acceptance of his role as the incoming president, Dr. Gebhart’s remarks focused on the honor of serving in that role, and he stated that Dr. Sung, in her usual fashion, set the bar for performance very high.

After the midmorning break, where attendants usually say their temporary goodbyes to friends and mentors, old and new, the eighth and final scientific session began.

Come to next year’s meeting!

If you consider yourself a gynecologic surgeon (and if you’re reading this you probably do), please consider adding attendance at the next SGS meeting to your list of “things to do” in 2018. This family-friendly meeting is filled with opportunities for surgical teaching, learning, rest, relaxation, networking, and reconnecting. Most of all, it is a place where mentoring relationships begin and are nurtured, recognized, and appreciated.

See you in Orlando!

3/28/17. DAY 2 AT SGS

Morning highlights: Prize-winning paper, presidential address

Scholarly activity continued this morning at the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons Annual Scientific meeting at the La Cantera Resort in San Antonio, Texas. After early morning reviews and coffee with good friends, the scientific program began with a comparison of barbed and nonbarbed sutures, after which Eric Jelovsek, MD, presented the prize-winning paper for the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network, “A Randomized Trial of Uterosacral Ligament Suspension or Sacrospinous Ligament Fixation for Apical Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Five-year Outcomes.”

The highlight of the morning was almost certainly the presidential address in which Dr. Vivian Sung shared with the audience the recipe for the “secret sauce” that makes SGS a special organization:

  1. Be everyday leaders and mentors. Do the little things to teach, coach, and encourage others in the field.
  2. Maintain a safe environment. Allow others to be brave, be creative, and make mistakes. It will make them more effective.
  3. Consider the “WHY.” Focus on why SGS exists and continue to strive for that mission.

Stimulating scientific sessions

After the fifth scientific session, where we learned that prophylactic salpingectomy at the time of vaginal hysterectomy not only is feasible but also cost-effective, participants were treated to the TeLinde Lecture. Dr. Richard Reznick, Dean of Health Sciences and Professor in the Department of Surgery at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, shared exciting and intriguing data regarding competency-based learning in surgical training. The lecture, entitled “Great Expectations: The Promise of Competency-based Education,” sparked questions and conversation that could have gone on for hours. Alas, program director Rob Gutman, MD, kept the program on track and, after a brief break for lunch, the sixth scientific session was underway.

In the sixth session, Dr. Gutman moderated a lively panel discussion that set out to answer the question, “How can we increase the percentage and quality of minimally invasive hysterectomy for benign disease among low/intermediate volume gynecologic surgeons?” Panelists shared thoughts and information—from organizations and institutions around the country—outlining the data on current hysterectomy rates, trends in policymaking, learning through simulation, incremental quality improvement planning, and surgical pathways.

Afternoon fun and a Texas hoedown

The scientific meeting was then adjourned, making way for the SGS business meeting and then an afternoon of well-deserved fun in the Texas sun.

Evening events included an old-fashioned Texas hoedown—a time for two-stepping, armadillo racing, and camaraderie to raise money for SHARE. My money’s on the armadillo from the University of New Mexico!

3/27/17. DAY 1 AT SGS

Debate, postgrad courses, videos galore

The Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons, held in San Antonio, Texas, opened to an energetic crowd when SGS President, Vivan Sung, MD, welcomed participants from 10 countries before introducing the society’s 10 newest members. The first scientific session then quickly got underway with oral presentations and videos covering a variety of topics.

Janet Bickel, MS, a national leader in mentorship and faculty development, reinforced the meeting’s theme with her keynote lecture, “Hard Work and Talent Aren’t Enough: Mentoring and Finding Mentors across Career Stages.” She shared with attendees the keys to mentoring women and minorities before outlining the characteristics associated with both effective mentors and mentees. It turns out that many of her key points had been on display just a day earlier during the postgraduate courses in which physicians from around the country were coached by experts on surgical complications, pelvic anatomy and computer modeling, surgical teaching, and enhanced surgical recovery.

After a brief break for lunch at the beautiful La Cantera Resort, attendees returned for a lively debate between Kim Kenton, MD and Geoff Cundiff, MD entitled “Should we separate the O from the G in Obstetrics and Gynecology?” Dee Fenner, MD acted as moderator and referee as both sides passionately shared their convincing arguments. In the end, both parties agreed that this century-old debate would continue as we constantly evaluate the best approach to caring for the female patient.

Promises of popcorn brought attendees back to the meeting hall for the afternoon videofest where 13 videos were presented on a variety of surgical topics.

Specialists learn from each other

Meanwhile, the Fellows Pelvic Research Network had the pleasure a special lecture and Q&A session with Linda Brubaker, MD. Among the many pearls of wisdom she shared was an evergreen piece of advice, “Enthusiasm is good. Focus is better.” The fellows then turned their focus to the review of current projects and evaluation of proposals for new research.

Eight academic roundtables hosted by experts from across the country provided an opportunity for attendees to discuss best practices in various areas of pelvic surgery including bladder pain syndrome, chronic pelvic pain, transgender care, billing and coding, social media, and more.

The day ended with a delightful awards ceremony in which Dr. Sung recognized outstanding scholarly and service activity in the gynecologic surgery community. Notably, Dr. Peter Jeppson was presented with the 2017 Distinguished Service Award. Members then joined meeting sponsors and staff in the exhibit hall for an evening reception—a fitting ending to a phenomenal first day.

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For more details about the scientific presentations and to read abstracts of presentations, videos, and posters, see the March 2017 supplemental issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

For an up-to-the minute report of the week’s events, follow the #SGS2017 hashtag on Twitter. Be sure to follow @obgmanagement, @gynsurg, and @stuboo as well.

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