As I enter my fourth month as SAGES president, during continued unprecedented times in our collective lives, I am reminded that SAGES is an extraordinary organization. Although we’re not able to meet in person for the 2020 annual meeting, the work and vitality of the Society remains strong. We are pleased to debut our new monthly e-newsletter MesSAGES, replacing the prior semi-annual SCOPE. Our hope is to consolidate timely information and curtail the number of emails to your in-box.
SAGES moved rapidly in response to COVID-19, issuing ten statements between March and May, forming the Coronavirus Global Surgical Collaborative (CVGSC) with our surgical colleagues around the globe, which issued “Notes from the Battlefield” statements during the same time period, and conducting four Zoom webinars and countless Facebook webinars. All can be found at https://www.sages.org/category/covid-19/. SAGES also spearheaded the creation of International Guidelines on Safe Return to Surgical and Endoscopic Practice, a Delphi Consensus from the CVGSC, with the participation of 50 experts, patient representatives, and top policy makers from 15 countries and four continents. A rigorous process was carried and completed in a little over four weeks.
In early June, observing the unfortunate events occurring in our country, SAGES again moved quickly to issue a statement denouncing racism.
It was my honor this spring to form the Re-Imagining the Practice of Surgery (RPS) Task Force, chaired by President-Elect Dr. Liane Feldman. The RPS group met virtually in the winter and spring, conducted one of the webinars, and has the following goals:
- Take more control and promote joys in the practice of surgery
- Encourage surgeons to cultivate habits that support optimal performance
- Make institutions more vested in creating a healthier, efficient and positive work environment
- Positively disrupt work patterns that prevent innovation
- Continue being a society that attracts new generations of successful leaders
- Obtain knowledge to design solutions
Stay tuned for more from this exciting new group.
Despite quarantine and continued uncertainty in our collective lives, we found reason to celebrate. SAGES welcomed its 7,000th member! Our membership committee continues their efforts, and we rely on existing members to serve as our greatest ambassadors of membership recruitment. Please direct prospective members to https://www.sages.org/membership/.
Our Technology Council, under the leadership of Dr. Christopher Schlachta, continues to grow and thrive, with new working groups on Fluorescence led by Dr. Raul Rosenthal and Digital Surgery led by Dr. Dmitry Oleynikov. Following the “Next Big Thing” (NBT) Summit last February, we look forward to an NBT/ Disruptive Surgical Technologies Summit in February 2021. Stay tuned for more details.
We remain grateful to SAGES Foundation for their continued support of SAGES education and research endeavors and initiatives, and to Dr. Pon Satitpunwaycha for his generous contributions to SAGES OWLS (Organizational Worldwide Learning System), expected to launch in the coming months, and our ongoing technology for education efforts, including the Tech Council, NBT Summit, Video Based Assessment initiative, Artificial Intelligence and e-learning initiatives. Visit https://www.sagesfoundation.org/ to make a donation today, and obtain a copy of Dr. George Berci’s new autobiography.
SAGES enormous bandwidth is due to its Board, 42 committee and task force chairs/cochairs, and more than 800 committee members. The volunteer link is now closed for this year, but requests for next year can still be submitted via https://www.sages.org/leadership/committees/volunteer/.
Please plan to participate in the virtual SAGES 2020 Meeting on August 11-13 or access the presentations in the months that follow. CME credits are available. We still hope to meet in person in Las Vegas, April 7-10, 2021 for SAGES meeting, “Re-Imagining a Healthier World.” Thanks to Drs. Adnan Alseidi and Dana Telem who have put together an exciting program! Registration and housing details will come later this Fall.
We hope you will keep SAGES and our mission, vision and core values in mind throughout this year.
Mission: To innovate, educate and collaborate to improve patient care
Vision: Re-imagining surgical care for a healthier world
Values: Inclusivity, innovation, service, excellence, global community (and an unofficial value of FUN)
Lastly, I would like to thank SAGES Executive Committee members who work with me weekly to conduct the business of the Society: Drs. Aurora Pryor, Liane Feldman, John Mellinger, Chris Schlachta, Patricia Sylla and Brent Matthews. Thank you, too, to Sallie Matthews and her team for the invaluable support to our society.
It is not only an honor but also a fun job to serve as SAGES president, when working with such a remarkable group of people. And that is despite the crazy times we are all going through
Horacio J. Asbun, MD