Message from the President – May 2011

Steven Schwaitzberg, MD SAGES President 2011-2012

This month I am writing to all current SAGES members and those of you in the general surgical community thinking about “how many societies do I need to belong to?” In this day and age of declining reimbursements and dramatic economic “belt-tightening”, this becomes an ever increasingly important question. In my mind a professional society has to be a good value proposition for its members. Clearly this can be achieved in a number of ways. Access to educational materials, Surgical Endoscopy subscription, terrific annual meetings, committee participation, networking with friends and colleagues are but a few. However, I would like to focus on what I hope you will find beginning this summer to be a key benefit of membership and a real plus to the value proposition of belonging to SAGES.

As many of you know the process of maintaining certification by the American Board of Surgery has evolved from a one-time exam, through an every 10 year examination process, to what we have today:  the Maintenance of Certification Program (MOC). Part 2 of this MOC program is: Lifelong learning and self-assessment, which is achieved through practice relevant continuing education and periodic self-assessment.

This summer SAGES will be launching its newest educational program, SAGES University. This program will enable participants to receive Part 2 MOC credits as an included benefit of SAGES membership. There will be no additional charge for participating in this program. SAGES members could earn all of their MOC credits without additional expense in the SAGES University program.

This program was developed by SAGES’ Continuing Education Committee which is chaired by Dr. Danny Scott and co-chaired by Drs. Tim M. Farrell and Simon Bergman. SAGES University will offer SAGES members online educational materials packaged with methods for self assessment. The educational content is incremental, with activities ranging from 15 minutes to 1 hour. All activities are linked not only to CME credit, but also to Self Assessment (SA) credit, which is required by the ABS for MOC Part II.

SAGES University will use an electronic learning management system (LMS) which will include a “My CME/My MOC” page to track all activities. These credits will be tracked according to specific disease-based content areas, such as hernia or bariatrics and by key designated areas including ethics, patient safety, etc. These activities will be directly downloadable to the ABS database for MOC purposes.

SAGES University will roll out with 2 programs: Journal Club and the Online Self Assessment Program (OSAP). Surgical Endoscopy articles (free to SAGES members) will be selected by the Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Mark Talamini. The articles will be accessible through SAGES University website or other online access through SpringerLink and identified as “SAGES University – CME/SA Credits offered”. Four multiple choice questions with a 75% minimum passing score is required to receive credit. 1.0 hr CME/SA credit per article. SAGES Journal Club has been coordinated by Dr. Don Selzer along with task force members: Rose Chan, David Crawford, Rajesh Aggarwal, Steven Bowers, Teodor Grantcharov, Niazy Selim, and Kent R. Van Sickle.

The Online Self Assessment Program (OSAP) is based on existing online SAGES content. This can be accessed via SAGES University or via random access during review of online content (Flagged with link for “SAGES University – CME/SA Credits offered”). The initial content will be based on 30 videos featured on SAGES TV. The will be a 15 minute content review and 1 multiple choice question per .25 credit. New content will be added every six months. OSAP is coordinated by Danny Scott along with taskforce members: John Sweeney, Nicole Fearing, Limaris Barrios, Paul Hansen, Elisabeth McLemore, Michael Cahalane, and Marina Kurian.

SAGES University began from ideas generated at the 2008 leadership retreat. Lead by the Continuing Education Committee and supported with internal investments authorized by the SAGES Board of Governors for the development of the Learning Management System, SAGES University represents a commitment to SAGES members to provide CME/MOC for recertification in general surgery as a value benefit of SAGES membership. In addition, all CME earned at the SAGES annual meeting from 2011 onward will also qualify for Part 2 MOC if the surgeon replies to the self assessment questions that will be emailed after the meeting.

If you are wondering where you are in the MOC cycle (like I was recently), go to http://home.absurgery.org/. Log in to your account and examine your MOC timeline listed in the MOC section. You might discover (like I did) that you have some Part 2 MOC to earn and a form to fill out. Fortunately you will be able to use SAGES University to meet those Part 2 needs right from your desk.

I would like to congratulate the entire Continuing Education Committee and the SAGES University team along with the SAGES staffers like Yumi Hori, Erin Schwarz and Vanessa Cheung who have worked hard to bring this project online. Their efforts are just one of the many reasons why more than 6,500 general surgeons are SAGES members. If you are not member, there has never been a better time to join. If you are already member, check out SAGES University when the doors open this summer.

See you in class!

If you have ideas how together we might make SAGES an even stronger value proposition for membership, or if you have concerns, please write me at president@sages.org .

Steve Schwaitzberg, MD