Fall 2015  

President’s Message
Committees and Volunteerism Are Our Lifeblood

Dr. Charles LittlejohnBy Charles Littlejohn, MD

The 2015 calendar year has been one of the most successful years in recent memory for the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS), and as I reflect on our accomplishments, I have to acknowledge and congratulate the members of our 29 active committees who work hard year round to realize the goals of the Society. More than 725 members – nearly 25% of the membership – participate in committee activities. I’m pleased to report that more than 230 physicians volunteered to serve on committees for the 2015-2016 year, and many were assigned to one of their requested committees.

Although having more committee applicants than spots available is a good problem to have, I apologize to those of you who were not assigned to a committee and encourage you to reapply next year. The task of reviewing committee membership is a herculean one. I want to express my gratitude to Drs. Patricia Roberts and Guy Orangio for organizing and reviewing the assignments, and to Carla Baker, MBA, CAE, and her staff for providing administrative support.

Our committees are the lifeblood of this organization, and as such we will be devoting more space in forthcoming newsletters to sharing their updates. Below are just a few of their recent successes.

Expansion of online educational opportunities
With the increasing diversity in our society it is important to communicate effectively with our audience. Through the efforts of the Website Committee led by Dr. David Margolin, our redesigned website went live earlier this year and is an invaluable tool for communication and the delivery of educational programs.

Online learning center highlights include CARSEP IX, thanks to the hard work of Drs. Matthew Mutch and Charles Friel and the Self-Assessment Committee, and CREST, overseen by the leadership of Dr. Scott Steele and the CREST Committee. I applaud Dr. Steele and the CREST Committee for their masterful implementation of the CREST program, which is available at no cost to members. Their work continues: Program directors should watch for communication coming soon regarding the upcoming release of CREST for Program Directors.

You may have noticed an impressive number of video and images offered in the Resource Library; these are managed by the Video-Based Education Committee chaired by Dr. Slawomir Marecik. Those seeking patient education materials may purchase patient education brochures or direct them to the patient section on our website. Half of the brochures have been revised and redesigned, and the remaining half will be available near the start of the year, thanks to the hard work and perseverance of the Public Relations Committee, chaired by Dr. Roberta Muldoon.

Record number of guidelines published
Similar to many of our committees, the Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee never rests. The committee had an impressively productive 2015, as six new guidelines were published in Diseases of the Colon and Rectum under the leadership of Dr. Janice Rafferty, who has turned the reins over to Dr. Steele. Dr. Rafferty is to be congratulated by all of us for her leadership on these important practice guidelines.

Abstracts reflect diversity
At nearly 90 members strong, our largest committee is the Program Committee, led by Drs. Kirsten Wilkins, Joshua Bleier, and Scott Steele. The committee is well into the throes of reviewing and scoring more than 730 abstracts submitted from an impressive 34 countries. In fact, nearly two-thirds of submitted abstracts are from outside of the United States. A subcommittee of the Program Committee will meet this month to select those abstracts that will be presented at the 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting.

The best is yet to come
The 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting, held in Los Angeles for the first time since 1958, promises to be both educational and entertaining. Most of the workshops will be held at the convention center, freeing up more time for you to spend with family and colleagues. Several members are exploring exciting entertainment options for the Dinner Dance, so plan to stay the entire meeting and join in the fun.

You can read more about the meeting’s highlights in the report from Drs. Wilkins, Bleier, and Steele. I look forward to an exciting time ahead.

 
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