|By Terry C. Hicks, MD
The new ASCRS year begins with a bright horizon, after the very successful Annual Scientific Meeting in Hollywood, Florida—a beautiful venue for us in many ways. Regretfully, the Society has now outgrown the Hollywood facilities and won’t be able to return for some time to come. ASCRS registered 1,592 physicians in Florida, one of our best turnouts. Outgoing President Dr. Michael Stamos and his team, led by Annual Meeting Program Chair Dr. Bradley Champagne and Co-Chair Dr. Joseph Carmichael, should be congratulated. Bravo!
The Executive Council has plunged into planning for what will be a very busy year. First on the agenda is selection of committee chairs, who lead the day by day, week by week work of the nation’s leading organization for colorectal surgeons.
We are working closely with the ASCRS Research Foundation to garner funds for scientific studies that will assure the viability of our Society and our specialty in the next generation and beyond. Please let us know if you have thoughts on potential supporters we may have overlooked. Also, consider applying for one of the grants detailed in the Foundation section of our website, www.fascrs.org. The Website Committee, under direction of Dr. David Margolin, recently contracted for an exciting update and redevelopment of the site (see article in this newsletter).
We are already looking forward to next year’s Annual Scientific Meeting in Boston, MA, set for May 30-June 3, 2015. Annual Meeting Chair Dr. Margolin and Co-Chair Dr. David Vargas promise to put together an involving and interesting program. We look forward to our return to Boston, site of many great past meetings, at a time of year when we’re sure to find Paul Revere’s hometown looking its best.
On another front, the Healthcare Economics Committee (formerly called Socioeconomic Committee), under the leadership of Dr. Stephen Sentovich, is working diligently with Council to assure that our interests are fully represented on important socioeconomic issues, such as Medicare Physician Payment/SGR. We are very fortunate to have a solid partnership with the Washington office of the American College of Surgeons to help us keep up with a parade of changes and challenges that affect our practices almost every day. Few of us may be able to take the time needed to address these issues, so we rely on the Society’s team to keep us up to date.
Another milestone will come in September, when the Colorectal Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills (COSATS) will be administered to all first-time takers of the oral examination of the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery. The simulation-based exam will test eight technical skills essential to the practice of colon and rectal surgery. It was developed by the ASCRS Operative Competency Evaluation Committee, chaired by Society Treasurer Dr. Patricia Roberts.
We are also thankful for the continuing leadership of Dr. Steven Wexner, who is now Regent of the American College of Surgeons Advisory Council for Colon and Rectal Surgery. He is also Chair of the ASCRS Rectal Cancer Coordinating Committee and has succeeded Dr. Anthony Senagore as President of the ASCRS Research Foundation.
It was especially rewarding for me to participate in the presentation of the first Stella Zedalis Award for Dedicated Service to Irene Babcock, longtime Executive Assistant for the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery. The award is given annually (or at the discretion of the Executive Council) to honor a health care professional or lay person for providing consistent and outstanding services to the Society.
It is with a sense of gratitude and awe for the achievements of those who preceded me that I accept the mantle of President of the ASCRS. I appreciate the confidence you have placed in me and will do my very best to be worthy of it.