Anew subspecialty of general surgery is emerging: acute care surgery, which encompasses trauma, critical care, and emergency care, with general surgery at its core. Because acute care surgery has gained
such prominence, in 2016 we surveyed the 274 members
of the B/G on the potential impact of this growing specialty on patients and health care providers.
Acute care surgery timeline
In 2003, the ACS Committee on Trauma (ACS COT), the
American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST),
the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, and
the Western Trauma Association established the Committee to Develop the Reorganized Specialty of Trauma.
This collaborative effort led the AAST to create the Acute
Care Surgery Committee in 2005, which established the
training and practice parameters for the new specialty.
Since then, acute care surgery has grown as a specialty
and now has a major presence throughout the U.S.* Jerry
Jurkovich, MD, FACS, past-president of the AAST, in a
2007 column wrote that the acute care surgeon should
“be responsible for managing acute general surgical problems, covering emergency general surgical and specialty
services, providing surgical critical care, and managing
2016 ACS Governors Survey:
Will acute care surgery change
the surgical landscape?
David J. Welsh, MD, FACS;
Editor’s note: The American College of Surgeons
(ACS) Board of Governors (B/G) has conducted an
annual survey of its members for more than 20
years. The purpose of the survey is to provide a
means of communicating the Governors’ concerns to the College leadership. The 2016 ACS
Governors Survey, conducted in August 2016, had
an 84 percent (230/274) response rate.
The following article focuses on the emerging
discipline of acute care surgery, and the Governors’ responses to questions about its impact on
patient care and general surgery practice. Additional articles on the survey’s findings will be
*Wu D. Graduate of the first acute care surgery fellowship program reflects on
the experience. Bull Am Coll Surg. 2015;100( 10): 11-16. Available at: bulletin.facs.
†Jurkovich GJ. Acute care surgery: A trauma surgeon’s perspective. Surg.