|By Bradley J. Champagne, MD, Program Chair
Only two and a half months remain before the 2014 ASCRS Annual Meeting, May 17-21 in Hollywood, FL, and for those of us who have been deeply involved in the planning, the excitement is starting to build! I want to take this opportunity to review some of the anticipated highlights of the meeting and also review what has been accomplished over the last few months.
Let me first thank the Program Committee and the new “Super Selection Committee” for the hours they spent both individually and as groups reviewing this year’s abstract submissions. We had over 800 submissions, and the new process, scoring system, and organization was laborious for all of those involved. However, we feel confident that the abstracts ultimately selected for the meeting are of great quality and offer the necessary diversity to optimize our educational goals.
For the first time, the ASCRS meeting will be featuring E-Posters! Every author who had a poster accepted will have a 5-minute presentation time. These presentations will occur during the mid-day breaks and lunch. We strongly encourage you to attend and participate by asking questions. To facilitate turnover, each station will be moderated by members of the Program Committee. The 20 E-Poster stations will be in the Exhibit Hall and will be open for viewing throughout the meeting during non-presentation times.
This year’s meeting also features over 20 symposia. The directors of these sessions have done an incredible job at faculty selection and creating topics that will stimulate discussion. Each day will end with unique “town hall” style debates on various topics. All surgical specialties have certain topics/diseases that contain controversy. Understanding the optimal treatment plan for patients often depends on a physician’s ability to see clarity in these lines of gray. We hope that the debates are interactive, educational and create a fun environment for all surgeons who attend!
We focus the meeting on the topics important to the members, with pragmatic advice that can be taken home, including a new “Take Me to Your OR” symposium, with videos to enhance learning from experts. These sessions will help surgeons understand the intricate details and pearls for specific operative procedures that are difficult, new, or performed less frequently than in the past. ASCRS President Dr. Michael J. Stamos, Orange, CA, directs the symposium, assisted by Dr. Brian R. Kann, Philadelphia, PA. Topics include Episioproctotomy with Reconstruction (Dr. Tracy L. Hull, Cleveland, OH), Ligation of Intersphincteric Fistula Tract (Dr. Sarah A. Vogler, Edina, MN), Altemeier Procedure (Dr. Slawomir J. Marecik, Park Ridge, IL), Laparoscopic Proctectomy with Low Stapled Anastomosis (Dr. Conor P. Delaney, Cleveland, OH), and Handsewn Colo-Anal Anastomosis and Perineal APR Dissection (Dr. John H. Marks, Wynnewood, PA).
Another highlight will be a mock trial courtroom session entitled, “A Courtroom Primer: How to Survive a Lawsuit.” Plan to wear your white hat and cheer on President-Elect Dr. Terry C. Hicks, New Orleans, LA, as he takes on one of the toughest plaintiff lawyers in the country! Learn from an expert defense attorney in “Mounting Your Defense: How to Avoid Lawsuits and What to do When they Happen.” Dr. Charles B. Whitlow, New Orleans, LA, will do a mock deposition. You will learn how to avoid litigation on a day-to-day basis, how to respond when being sued and what actions to take in depositions.
Other highlights include “Global Perspectives on Health Care,” in which surgeons from Canada, Asia, South America and Europe share experience and advice on their socioeconomic climates. By seeing how surgeons from other nations have handled national health care programs, U.S. surgeons will receive practical insights into how our evolving system may impact practice.
The program will also feature a laparoscopic colectomy symposium and workshop, a symposium on technical advancements that attempt to reduce incision size that asks, “Is there a Limit to ‘Minimal’ in Minimally Invasive Colorectal Surgery?”; current advances in the management of fecal incontinence, including sacral nerve stimulation; health care economics; and “Geriatrics and Surgery: Decision-Making in the Elderly.”
The ever-increasing volume of the Program and desire to make the last day relevant led to our decision to have the Dinner/Dance on Wednesday evening. This year’s casual event will feature an eight-person Salsa/Merengue band offering a diversity of music selections, professional dancers, and margaritas. The dress code is “NY Night Club”.
Lastly, I would like to recognize the staff for handling all of the administrative responsibilities for the meeting and their tireless efforts to complete the program!