By Dr. Alan G. Thorson
We begin a new ASCRS year on a high note, with the overwhelming success of the San Antonio Annual Meeting. Drs. Dana Sands and David Maron and the Program Committee have again raised the bar, giving us a challenge for the 2013 Annual Meeting, to be held in Phoenix, AZ, April 27-May 1. Dr. Stephen Sentovich along with vice-chairs Drs. Jen Beaty and Scott Nelson and the Program Committee will strive to meet that challenge.
Our members, industry and regional society partners met and exceeded the challenge set for the Research Foundation’s 8th annual “Meet the Challenge” program, raising $87,795. I want to personally thank the industry partners identified in this newsletter for their support of the Research Foundation fundraising challenge and the annual meeting. It goes without saying that we could not have achieved the successes we did without their efforts. Also, we are all grateful for the inspired leadership of Research Foundation President Dr. Julio Garcia-Aguilar (2010-2012) and the Board of Trustees.
I begin my year as ASCRS President deeply grateful for the trust you have placed in me. My predecessor, Dr. Steven Wexner, deserves our thanks for a job well done. I especially admired the clarity of his vision of the Society’s purpose, ably expressed in the Presidential Address: “To provide a forum for presentation. That is why we’re here at this meeting interacting, to improve the quality of care for our patients. That’s really why we practice as physicians and why we coalesce as a society.”
Between now and our next annual meeting, the Society has many challenges to meet. We have a great roster of committees and chairs for the year ahead, as listed in another article in this newsletter. Please take time to review this list, and if you are not already active, consider which committees might most benefit from your participation.
Quality issues have received increasing priority in recent years, and ASCRS is meeting the challenge with newer efforts such as the Operative Competency and Evaluation Committee, chaired by Dr. Patricia Roberts, which is developing validated metrics for our specialty. The second pilot project of the Colorectal Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skill (COSATS) is scheduled for September 22-23 at Northwestern University, Chicago. It is the first attempt of any surgical society to develop an assessment tool to evaluate advanced technical skill.
The Quality Assessment and Safety Committee, under the direction of Drs. Arden Morris, Chair, Larissa Temple, Co-Chair, and Past Chair Nancy Baxter, (2006-2012) 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 National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP). 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.
As reported elsewhere in this newsletter by its very able Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Robert Madoff, our journal, Diseases of the Colon and Rectum (DC&R), has added a new iPad app and achieved its highest Impact Factor ever: 3.132. Congratulations, Dr. Madoff.
Some key committees have new leadership: Dr. Scott Steele will head the CREST Committee and Dr. Roberta Muldoon is now chair of the Public Relations Committee.
Dr. Janice Rafferty becomes chair of the Standards Committee, which has been developing practice parameters, a great service to the specialty. 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.
It is indeed a challenging time, not only for our specialty and for our Society, but for medicine as a whole. From adopting the complexities of the Affordable Care Act to implementation of EMR and meaningful use to incorporating new standards of education and certification, all while trying to maintain productivity and deliver quality patient care. These and many more challenges loom large on the health care horizon.
Now, more than ever, you need to actively participate, not only in our Society but in the larger health care arena; in the processes that will define the practice of medicine and our ability to deliver quality care for years to come. From serving on local, regional or national committees to leading a national organization to volunteering at local health events or simply voting in the next election, there are clear choices to be made. Our actions now, or lack thereof, will impact what our future will be.
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 for the honor of this challenging opportunity.