Daniel J. Scott, MD, FACS, President, SAGES
When assuming the SAGES presidency 11 months ago, I could not imagine what the year would entail and how fast the time would go by. Indeed, I now find myself drafting my annual meeting presidential address and this, my last message to the full SAGES membership. Thank you for the opportunity to lead and guide SAGES in the past year – this has been a fantastic honor and I am extremely proud of the great people we have in our organization.
We have indeed had a busy year with countless conference calls and meetings. Much to my delight, we have made significant progress in many areas and our organization remains quite strong. We have been fortunate enough to invest in several new initiatives over the past few years, over and above our annual budget. To balance that innovation and fiscal responsibility, the Executive Committee and Board agreed this year would be budget neutral. We have requested greater involvement from committee chairs in budget oversight, in addition to the standard staff, Finance & Executive Committee oversight. In addition, we asked our Development committee to embark upon an Alternative Funding Solutions initiative.
Over the past several years, the size, scope and number of SAGES educational initiatives has increased substantially. All of these are exciting and innovative projects, and all will advance innovation and patient care. We have been grateful for the generous support of our industry partners over the years, and we anticipate that they will continue to support SAGES educational initiatives, including our upcoming annual meeting. In addition, the SAGES Foundation continues to be a major supporter of many of our initiatives, especially in their early stages of development. However, as much as we appreciate the support of our industry partners and the Foundation, we cannot continue to rely solely on them to fund an ever-increasing list of activities. At the same time, SAGES cannot continue to move educational initiatives forward without funds to support them. To that end, SAGES has begun a focused initiative to explore, research, and obtain funding from alternative sources, including government agencies, such as NIH and AHRQ, and private foundations. This alternative funding solution initiative is multi-pronged, and includes identifying current funding opportunities for existing projects, while simultaneously developing forward-thinking plans and proposals to obtain grants for long-term educational initiatives, research, and programs. Success in this new arena will provide exciting new opportunities for SAGES, and enable us to take our organization to the next level in the advancement of education, innovation, and patient care.
Another major initiative we undertook this year was to launch a long overdue exploration of the fellowships affiliated with SAGES. The first step was to formally transition the former Resident Education Committee into the Resident and Fellowship Training (RAFT) Committee. By commissioning RAFT to take a lead role in fellowship curriculum development, SAGES is capitalizing on an opportunity to redefine MIS Fellowships at a time when surgical education is evolving at all levels. Working in partnership with the Fellowship Council, this initiative will ultimately revamp the curricula for GI surgery fellowships, standardize and enhance training by incorporating Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) as a competency metric, and align with the impending changes in General Surgery residency. As important, the process will better define and underscore the value of maintaining the MIS name in these fellowships, a move overwhelmingly supported by the SAGES Board at our Spring 2016 meeting.
I hosted an executive committee retreat last August, in an effort for us to spend time critically thinking about several aspects of our organization. We surveyed our board members, committee chairs, and numerous past presidents prior to this meeting to identify areas that needed to be addressed. This meeting was fruitful, and solidified our action plans to optimize our organizational infrastructure, including efforts to streamline our governance processes and enhance communication between committees. Arguably, as a result, we had one of our best fall board meetings, which fostered in-depth discussions about substantial and relevant issues. We also established plans to explore alternative funding pathways, opportunities to enhance science in our field, and increase our value to members and the public.
Our Curriculum Task Force has made tremendous strides towards the realization of our SAGES University Masters Program. When the program is fully launched next year, SAGES members will be able to choose clear pathways of coursework that progress from a Competency Curriculum to Proficiency to Mastery in eight areas of focus (Acute Care, Bariatric, Biliary, Colon, Flexible Endoscopy, Foregut, Hernia, and Robotics). The Masters Program will not only leverage the wealth of existing SAGES educational resources, but in keeping with the philosophy of our Society, we will capitalize on technological advancements to improve the process. We’re exploring a new software platform to house all SAGES educational offerings, and the program will take advantage of social media to drive further engagement and skills assessment. You can start your foray into the Masters Program at SAGES 2017 by taking one of our Masters Series Courses and by looking for the launch announcement of our eight Masters Program Facebook Collaborative Groups.
The FES team has been working closely with the American Board of Surgery to ensure SAGES and residency program directors are prepared for the ABS mandate and that all members of the 2018 graduating surgical residency class pass the FES exam prior to sitting for their surgical boards.
Many FES test centers are operational, and the majority of general surgery residents are within 50 miles of one. Testing is also available during the SAGES & ACS conferences.
A wealth of innovative educational and scientific updates await you at the SAGES 2017 annual meeting, March 22-25 in Houston.
New features unique to 2017 include:
- “Your Sessions”, with lecture topics selected by you, SAGES membership
- SAGES “Video Face-Off” featuring pre-recorded video sessions from experts showing different approaches to procedures
- “Let’s Do Lunch” provides an open forum to discuss specific topics of interest with your peers
- Keynote lectures by Brian Jacob, MD, Dave Kerpen and Jaap Bonjer, MD
- SAGES Gala at the Space Center
- And much more!
Register now at sages2017.org
Without experimentation, it is impossible to innovate. SAGES has grown to 36 committees and task forces, each with a unique mandate and goals. Our committee chairs work tirelessly on a weekly, sometimes daily basis, in addition to their busy surgical practices. 618 members serve on one or more committees to further the work of the Society. SAGES Board of Governors and Executive Committee not only meet in person, but electronically and by conference call throughout the year to ensure the Society is reaching its goals, approving committee initiatives and continuing to lead in the world of surgery. To each of these leaders, and to the more than 6300 SAGES members across the globe, I am grateful. It has been an honor and pleasure to serve as your President.
Daniel J. Scott, MD, FACS, SAGES President
Click https://www.sages.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/SCOPE-2017-winter.pdf to return to SCOPE Winter 2017.