Message from the President – April 2011

Steven Schwaitzberg, MD SAGES President 2011-2012

Like many of you I recently returned from the SAGES annual meeting in San Antonio marking our 30th anniversary. More than 2000 surgeons and allied health professionals registered for this year’s meeting. I would like to personally congratulate Brian Dunkin, this year’s program chair and his whole team for an extraordinarily engaging series of post graduate courses and scientific sessions. Many sessions were packed and a few were standing room only. There was so much great information it was like trying to drink from a fire-hose – you could not possibly take it all in! It was exciting to follow the SAGES Twits, our own version of the digerati who sent Tweets via the SAGES Meeting Twitter application alerting attendees to what was hot and where to find it in real time. If you could not make to the meeting, all is not lost. You can catch many parts of the meeting as well as more than 700 other videos on SAGES TV – check it out.

Despite all of the technologic advances the virtual meeting, is not (yet) ready to replace the real thing. Clearly our HD televisions provide the most granular view of any sporting event you can imagine, yet stadiums, arenas, and parks are still packed for the “big game.” Nothing beats being there. If you want to feel the energy of the crowd, you still have to go there in person. I will admit to being biased, but in general surgery, the SAGES annual meeting is one of the few “big games”. You just have to be there. Whether it was training time in the Learning Center, a hands-on course, a trip through the exhibit hall, rooting for your favorite Top Gun contestant, watching us sing, catching up with an old friend, or a chance to debate the presenter in person, the live meeting is still a singular experience. Moreover, as I sat with more than a thousand people during Jo Buyske’s Presidential address “Those to Whom Much is Given, Much is Required” you could actually feel the power of inspiration moving through the room. When coupled with the Marks Lecture that followed delivered by Cameron Wright” describing the nature of service rendered by the American military surgeon, we left the room thunderstruck.

If you are a regular attendee, you know what I mean. Dan Jones and Danny Scott, the program chairs for the 2012 meeting have given me a sneak peak of what’s in store for 2012. I can assure you there will be unique opportunities unseen before in a surgical meeting. If you have never been or have not been recently, it might be time to plan a trip to San Diego for the annual meeting March 7-10, 2012. There is nothing like a SAGES meeting.

If you want to find out how to participate or have comments, questions, concerns, or ideas how SAGES might continue to improve patient care or surgical education, please write me at president@SAGES.org.

Steve Schwaitzberg