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President’s Message: 29 committees plunge into Society’s aggressive agenda for 2014-15
Dr. Terry HicksBy Terry C. Hicks, MD

The Society took only a short breather after the highly successful Hollywood, Florida, meeting before plunging into the year’s aggressive agenda. Member and chair assignments for all ASCRS committees have been completed; see the updated listing of committee chairs included in this newsletter.

To those serving and chairing these committees, my message is this: your work is the essence of what ASCRS is all about. It is in the committees that ideas are developed into effective strategies. Thank you for your service. We have an exciting year ahead.

One of the largest committees, and one that is already deep into its work for the year, is the Program Committee, headed this year by Chair Dr. David Margolin and Vice Chair Dr. David Vargas. They have been working diligently and have the program in its final stages. See the report in this newsletter.

Let me give you a quick overview of what I see are the major areas of emphasis in the program for next year’s Annual Meeting in Boston. It will be a diverse program that covers the full range of colorectal care from common anorectal disease to genetics and socioeconomic concerns. Each major symposium will include a translational scientific talk devoted to basic science. This is one way in which we hope to raise the level of quality of the meeting.

The meeting will also have a symposium on how to write quality questions that can be utilized by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery, MOC, or CARSEP. A Meet the Professor breakfast will be dedicated to the topic “How to Produce a High Quality Manuscript for Scientific Journals.” A unique session will focus on new technologies. A non-CME program will afford an opportunity for industry and individuals to bring forward products just coming out of the pipeline to raise awareness of what’s ahead.

At the Executive Council meeting during the American College of Surgeons (ACS) October meeting in San Francisco, we received a presentation on the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires disclosure of payments made by makers of drugs and medical devices to doctors. A webinar on this topic will be developed and placed on the ASCRS website to allow our colleagues to learn how this new legislation will potentially affect them and their practice.

We are very fortunate to have a solid partnership with the American College of Surgeons and leadership from Healthcare Economics Committee Chair Dr. Steve Sentovich and longtime expert and volunteer Dr. Guy Orangio to help guide us through this expanding socioeconomic maze.

During the September American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery oral examining period in Chicago, the COSATS (Colorectal Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills) exam was given to all participants. We are still working on refining the process, but we can be proud of what has been achieved with COSATS, a simulation based exam of technical skills in which candidates complete eight technical skill stations essential to the practice of colon and rectal surgery.

The Society has selected a committee of doctors to work with industry to address research and education issues. We hope to improve our position in research and education with our new industry partners through the guidance of the ASCRS Research Foundation, directed by Dr. Steven Wexner.

The Executive Council is pleased to welcome Carla Baker as the new Associate Executive Director. She comes to ASCRS after serving as Deputy Executive Director of the American College of Prosthodontists for almost nine years. Carla holds a master’s degree in business administration (MBA), and she is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), with additional training in association marketing, membership and professional development. Welcome, Carla, we look forward to working with you.

Sadly, we have reported the passing of Past President Dr. John MacKeigan. Dr. MacKeigan will be honored with a Memorial Lecture given by Dr. Martin Luchtefeld at the Boston meeting.