Thank you for the privilege of guiding the Society’s vital work during the year ahead
New President Dr. Steven Wexner presents outgoing President Dr. David Beck with a plaque of appreciation for his service.
By Dr. Steven D. Wexner
Before turning to discussion of ASCRS activities and plans, I wish to express my profound appreciation to each member and fellow of the ASCRS for having afforded me the privilege of serving as your president. Furthermore, I owe a debt of gratitude to the past presidents of our society whose friendship, counsel and mentorship have illuminated a very bright path for me to follow. I will endeavor to exercise my best efforts to fulfill the challenges of this honorable position and build upon the solid foundation they have created.
I must also thank my immediate predecessor and close friend, Dr. David Beck, along with his program chair and cochair Drs. Charles Whitlow and Alan Herline, for having successfully organized and executed a record setting meeting in Vancouver. The level of scientific exchange and the comprehensive nature of the program were virtually unparalleled.
I am writing this message while en route home from another one of their collaborative efforts, the Tripartite meeting in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. More than 1,000 delegates assembled for five days of superlative academics and camaraderie, again in large measure due to the contributions of this same team. To add an exciting closing touch to an excellent scientific meeting, the ASCRS colorectal tripartite jeopardy team beat the CSSANZ and the ACPGBI/RSM.
The bar has indeed been again raised. My program chair and cochair Drs. Dana Sands and David Maron and I are working to create what we are confident will be a meeting everyone will want to attend, June 2-6, 2012, in San Antonio, Texas.
Between now and our next annual meeting, the Society’s work will continue. The ever- increasing size of the membership allows for more committees and for more active committees to help achieve the Society’s goals and objectives. Some newer efforts such as the Operative Competency and Evaluation Committee chaired by Dr. Patricia Roberts, have been busily developing validated metrics for our specialty. Drs. Helen MacRae and Sandra deMontbrun were in charge of the technical skills, hands-on validation lab performed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in early June. The results of this lab were outstanding and a testament to the vision and leadership of this committee.
The Quality Assessment and Safety Committee, under the direction of its Co-Chairs, Drs. Nancy Baxter and Arden Morris, assure ASCRS is in the forefront of quality efforts. The committee has representation on the AMA Consortium for Physician Improvement, the National Quality Forum, and the ACS Surgical Quality Forum (SQF). The expertise of our representatives has ensured that measures reflect the high standards of our specialty. The committee is now working on the ACS Case Log system and MOC requirements.
In addition, the CREST Committee, chaired by Dr. Elisa Birnbaum, and the Public Relations Committee, chaired by Dr. Harry Papaconstantinou, have produced laudable tangible results and will continue to do so during the coming years. The Socioeconomic Committee, chaired by Dr. James Merlino, has met several challenges and represented our needs quite well. The Self Assessment Committee, chaired by Dr. Matthew Mutch, and the Standards Committee, chaired by Dr. Donald Buie, have continued to bring their projects forward.
Each committee chair has been invited to present their 2011-2012 goals and objectives to the Executive Council during our conference calls and to present in person at our October 2011 and June 2012 meetings. Although space does not permit me to list each one by name, I wish to thank every committee chair, cochair, and member for their efforts and energy on behalf of our Society.
Several new committees have been created in response to the requests of our members: Dr. Anthony Senagore will chair the Industry Relations Committee to help ensure a continuous compliant dialogue with the corporations with whom the ASCRS and its members work. Dr. Tonia Young-Fadok will chair the Video-based Education Committee, so that we can add more high quality video-based educational tools to all facets of our educational portfolio. Lastly, the Rectal Cancer Coordinating Committee will explore methods of assessing and treating rectal cancer as teams, rather than as individual surgeons. These new committees will interface with many other committees and help to weave together numerous components and initiatives of our Society.
One of my other major initiatives will be to recognize the global contributions that have strengthened the ASCRS. Many of our colleagues from around the world have lent their creativity to our Society, which has, in turn, directly benefited our members and fellows. More importantly, the ideas and methods shared by our international associates have directly improved outcomes for our patients. I would be remiss not to recognize our friends and coworkers from areas outside of the U.S. and Canada, who have helped us and our patients.
It is my goal as the new work year progresses to keep you informed of the plans and activities of Council, but more importantly, always to be available to listen and respond to your needs. I look forward to working with you to ensure that your Society not only meets but exceeds your expectations. Thank you again for allowing me this humbling opportunity.