No longer a monolith
Although the College has always valued its young members and has been receptive to our input, the ACS and
its leadership have occasionally been criticized for
appearing to be monolithic and dominated by senior
academic surgeons who may not be well attuned to
the issues facing the typical surgeon. If there was any
truth to that sentiment in the past, it certainly is not
reflective of my experience.
In the last decade there has been a marked increase
in the productivity of RAS and the YFA, which has
been augmented by the support of the College’s leadership. I have seen firsthand how the investment
of the College in resident and young surgeons has
grown. Without question, these changes have led
to a surge in enthusiasm and participation among
young surgeons worldwide and will contribute to the
College’s bright future as the premier organization
representing surgeons around the world.
Clinical Congress 2015 was nothing short of revolu-
tionary. Under the combined leadership of Patricia L.
Turner, MD, FACS, Director, ACS Division of Member
Services; Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS, FRCSC, Direc-
tor, ACS Division of Education; and David B. Hoyt,
MD, FACS, ACS Executive Director, several major ini-
tiatives and new programs were launched. These were
all meant to inject a sense of fun into the meeting,
promote collegiality, and encourage young surgeon
interaction with senior surgeons and College lead-
ers. Programs like the Selfie Scavenger Hunt, which
resulted in more than 500 selfies with senior College
leaders posted to Twitter; recognition badges for long-
standing ACS Fellows; early morning yoga and Zumba
sessions; giant comment boards that provided attend-
ees a public platform to express their views regarding
the meeting; and light-hearted photographs of the
Board of Regents made for a much more spirited event
while maintaining the scientific rigor for which the
Clinical Congress is known. Importantly, these pro-
grams underscored the fact that the College leadership
is accessible, responsive, and invested in its members.
A program that deserves specific mention is the
YFA- and RAS-sponsored speed-mentoring session.
Promoted by Rebecca C. Britt, MD, FACS, a YFA
Member and President of the Virginia Chapter of the
ACS, this was a tremendously successful event where
medical students and residents were matched with
potential mentors, ranging from RAS and YFA leaders
to senior surgeons. A total of 12 groups, each with five
mentors and five mentees, were created, based upon
shared interests. In the span of an hour, each mentee
had the rare opportunity to have five private conversations with College leaders to discuss their goals.
In total, 300 encounters occurred during this innovative session, and the feedback from mentors and
mentees was universally positive. As a participant, I
can attest that the session was highly invigorating and
inspiring. Hopefully, several of the pairings that were
created during this session will evolve into long-lasting
and mutually beneficial relationships.
2014–2015 YFA Governing Council at Clinical Congress 2015. Front row (left to right, all MD, FACS):
Dr. Alseidi, Dr. Britt, Dr. Sutherland, Dr. Moalem, Joshua Broghammer, Joseph DuBose, and Ashley Vergis.
Back row: Daniel Klaristenfeld, Joseph Scharpf, David Cooke, Shoaib Sheikh, Cynthia Downard,
Robert Winfield, Joshua Mammen, Paula Ferrada, James Suliburk, and Gerald Fortuna.
Not pictured: John Elfar and Joseph Sakran.