New England Surgical Society
New England Surgical Society

Late Winter 2017 Newsletter

President's Message

Bruce J. Leavitt, MD, President NESS
Bruce J. Leavitt, MD

It is with a deep honor that I write my first Presidential article for our newsletter. As you know, I am used to writing newsletter articles as your previous editor. I have enjoyed a very memorable career in surgery with several awards and positions held over the years. Being nominated as your President is truly my greatest honor and I will do my best to continue to improve our most treasured society as we move into our second century. For an organization to still be so vibrant 100 years after a group of visionary New England Surgeons founded our society is a testament to our strong membership. I will strive to continue our traditions and also provide leadership this year as we continue to be a part of an ever-changing medical and technological milieu.

Abstract submission is now open for the 24th Annual Surgical Resident and Fellow Research Presentation day, which is on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at the Conference Center at Waltham Woods, within the headquarters of the Massachusetts Medical Society in Waltham. Abstract submission is now open of our 98th annual meeting September 8-10, 2017 at the Omni Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, NH. This venue is quintessential New England and has always been highly attended meeting. The program committee, chaired by Dougald MacGillivray, is already planning for our upcoming meeting. I have ideas for a Saturday afternoon activity and it does involve elevation.

I would like to acknowledge new members of some of our leadership committees. Dr. Robert Touloukian is President-Elect, Dr. Anne Larkin is Vice President, Dr. Giles Whalen is the newest state representative from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Dr. David Berger is our new representative to the ACS Board of Governors, and Dr. Ed Borrazzo is our representative to the ACS Advisory Council for General Surgery; in addition, Dr. Arlet Kurkchubasche is the President and Rhode Island Director of the Scholars Foundation.

During our most recent executive committee meeting, two projects and ideas were discussed that will be distributed to our membership this spring. The first will be a survey asking for future ideas for the direction of the society as we start our second century. We all are inundated with surveys. It would be greatly appreciated if you responded to our member needs survey. The other idea that was discussed at our executive committee meeting was the future use of social media, including the possibility of both meeting and during the year communication utilizing Twitter.

Please do not forget sponsoring your surgical resident leaders for our Candidate Membership. Dr. Larkin is the chair of that committee and she informed me that there is no official deadline for that category. The committee reviews periodically the applications that are received. Remember, those young surgeons are the seeds of our future membership.

I hope you are having a wonderful New England winter and spring. I hope to see many of you at the Spring Resident and Fellow Research Presentation Day and this fall in Bretton Woods.


Bruce J. Leavitt MD, FACS

Editor’s Corner: Are There Safe Spaces in Surgery?
Thomas J. Miner, MD, Editor NESS
Thomas J. Miner, MD

I notice that debate over “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” on college campuses intensified this fall. Initially, the term “trigger warning” was used on blog posts to warn survivors of horrific experiences, such as sexual violence, crime, or torture, of content that might upset or "trigger" them and give the option to read the material when they were better prepared to deal with it. The concept has changed over time from its intent as a warning to trauma survivors to a notion that people may need to be shielded from disturbing ideas. “Safe spaces” emerged with a similar intent to provide refuges for like-minded people, where they don't have to explain or defend their politics, beliefs or practices. Rather than being obliged to discuss potentially offensive material at a time which an outside group unilaterally decides upon, it allows for members to have a say when these “uncomfortable” discussions with outside groups happen. Like many I suspect, I often find this topic frustrating as valid points on both sides of the argument get twisted and become irrationally extreme. This discussion makes me think of my profession, though, and wonder if “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” do, or should, exist in surgery?

My initial response is an unqualified “no!” As surgeons, we pride ourselves in the ability to manage uncertainty, anxiety, and often danger. What is comfortable about managing a dying patient, an unresectable cancer, a difficult M and M conference, or a hole you accidentally made in a major vessel? We take on difficult problems; we manage complications; and, we break bad news. As a profession we excel at being uncomfortable. Every Department of Surgery, Residency Training Program, and Practice abounds with stories of its surgeons going into the unknown and helping patients. In my program, applicants and interns are told the tale of the junior resident who raced to place a chest tube to relieve a tension pneumothorax caused by a pulmonary fellow who was too “uncomfortable” to place an angiocath in the second intercostal space despite multiple subclavian sticks performed during an unsuccessful central line placement. Despite only have done a handful of chest tubes early in his training, he stepped into the personal unknown to help his patient. Graduates of our program can recite this legend, and many more, with unwavering clarity. Stories such as these serve as reminders of our professional expectations and, in a small way, may serve as guideposts in times of doubt.

But I don’t think that the answer to my question is as simple as extoling our collective resilience and grit. Whether discussing a difficult patient with a trusted peer, debating local problems in the lounge with partners, or getting out of town to present data at a meeting, most successful surgeons have places where problems and issues can be shared. In order to manage the uncertainty associated with being a surgeon, especially in the current political and economic landscape, perhaps we need to be able to reach out to like-minded individuals in order to work through the challenges we face. By seeking these opportunities, are we not in a way, making “safe spaces” that allows us learn, grow and, at times, even heal? There are probably many “safe spaces” in surgery that each of us benefits from. What I have learned from being a member of NESS, a lesson that I suspect is being lost on college students and administrators in the current debate on higher education, is that the intent of my surgical “safe space” is not to make me instantly feel better or shield me from unpleasant things, but to help me overcome the circumstances that have caused the current predicaments. It is predicated on service to the surgical patient and not to simply to me as an individual. It challenges, teaches, and inspires through the support of friends and colleagues to move beyond the status quo and reach for excellence. Colleges and Universities can only dream of reproducing what we have.

Thomas J. Miner MD

Recorders’ Message
Walter E. Longo, MD, Recorder NESS
Walter E. Longo, MD

Dear NESS Membership,

I would like to thank those who came to our Centennial Celebration and those who submitted to the Annual Meeting. It was a great meeting in Boston and we are looking forward to our next meeting in Bretton Woods.

A total of 38 papers were submitted to the Journal American College of Surgeons (JACS) from the 2016 Annual Meeting. There were 21 Podium, 6 Brief Report, and 11 Posters manuscripts submitted. Nine have been accepted of which 6 were podium and 3 were posters. One paper remains in the revision/under review process. The accepted papers are slated for the June special NESS issue of JACS. Our acceptance rate this year is in the order of 24%, which is a little lower than the 2015 meeting; however, we will continue to make efforts to communicate with JACS to improve this.

I would like to thank the members of the Publication Committee who reviewed podium papers and offered their opinions and criticisms of their content. The publication committee members will have three-year appointments and new members of the committee will be appointed as past members rotate off.

The Paper of the Year Award continues to be a staple of our Annual Meeting and the Program Committee will continue its process of selecting the recipient.

Please continue to be aware of the passing of NESS members within your individual State and report any known deaths to your state representative so his/her necrology can appear in the annual meeting book.


Walter E. Longo, MD
NESS Recorder

Notice of 2017 Annual Meeting and Call for Abstracts

2017 Annual Meeting

The 2017 Annual Meeting of the NESS will take place September 8-10, 2017, at the Omni Mount Washington in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. To submit your abstract for consideration in this program, please visit the 2017 NESS submission site.

The NESS welcomes abstract submissions from all surgical disciplines. Should the NESS receive enough abstracts from a particular specialty (or specialties), the Society will schedule a Specialty Session, the focus of which will be determined by the number and quality of abstracts submitted. Read the Author Instructions for additional information.

Notice of 2017 Resident and Fellow Research Presentation Day

2017 Research Day

The 24th Annual Surgical Resident and Fellow Research Presentation Day will take place Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at the Conference Center at Waltham Woods, within the Massachusetts Medical Society Headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts. Please visit the NESS Research Day Webpage to learn about the program, review the abstract submission guidelines, and complete your submission. Abstract submissions are welcome from all surgical disciplines from any surgical training program, including fellowship, in the New England region, as well as from Albany Medical Center.

The abstract submission deadline is Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

And remember that, per NESS By-Laws, either attendance at Research Presentation Day or inclusion as an author of an abstract submitted for consideration for presentation at Research Presentation Day meets the Society’s active participation requirement—so please consider attending the 2017 program and co-authoring an abstract!

Foundation News, including Scholars Research Grant

The purpose of the New England Surgical Scholars Foundation is to provide educational and research support for the NESS. During the past year, Dr. Ronald F. Martin was appointed as the Maine representative on the Board of Directors, while Dr. Artlet G. Kurkchubasche was appointed as President; Dr. Charles H. Salem will continue to serve as Secretary-Treasurer.

During fiscal year 2016, members contributed $29,805 to the Foundation, which includes $9,400 to the unrestricted Centennial Fund that was established to honor the NESS’ 100th Anniversary. That Centennial Fund is still open and accepting donations. The organization has a number of financial obligations that have increased over time, and ongoing donations from the NESS membership are needed. Cumulative contributions are listed in the annual meeting program booklet, and members who have contributed since last year’s meeting are further recognized by an assembly ribbon and by on-site signage.

The Foundation is now funding 2 concurrent Scholars Research grants: one a first-year grant ($10,000), and the other a second-year grant ($10,000). Further financial support is provided for the:

Members may donate by credit card via the Members Only Area; to donate by check (or to donate with credit card by mail), please download the Contribution Form.

The NESS Scholars Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 corporation organized to provide financial support to enhance the clinical and educational opportunities of the membership of NESS in their efforts to strengthen the discipline of surgery in New England.

NESS Job Board

If you are seeking a job in surgery, visit the NESS Job Board to:

  • Search for and quickly apply to great, relevant jobs;
  • Set up Job Alerts so you are immediately notified any time a job is posted that matches your skills or interests;
  • Create an anonymous job seeker profile or upload your anonymous resume so employers can find you; and
  • Access job searching tools and tips.
Job seeking is always free.

If you need to hire surgeons, visit the NESS Job Board to:

  • Place your job in front of NESS members;
  • Search our resume database of qualified candidates;
  • Manage jobs and applicant activity right on our site;
  • Limit applicants only to those who are qualified; and
  • Fill your jobs more quickly with great talent
Our hope is that this resource will make a significant difference for NESS members as they navigate their career paths.

2017 Dues Renewal

Make sure you remain a part of this vibrant Society; if you have not already done so, renew your dues online today by logging into the Members Only Area! There you also have the option to print a copy of your invoice and mail or fax it in with payment.

The NESS Executive Committee also strongly encourages Senior members to continue to pay their voluntary dues—especially those still in active practice.

Photo Highlights from 2016 Annual Meeting

View photo highlights from the 2016 Annual Meeting.

2016 Annual Meeting Presentation Awards

These following awards are sponsored by the NESS Scholars Foundation.

Clinical Science Award

Maria Carmen Mora, Baystate Medical Center
Single Incision Pediatric Endoscopic Surgery with a Glove Access Technique vs Multiport Laparoscopic Appendectomy in Children: A Retrospective Study

Basic Science Award

Maria Carmen Mora, Baystate Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Accelerates Compensatory Lung Growth by Increasing Alveolar Units

Historical Award

Andrew C.W. Baldwin, Yale School of Medicine
William W.L. Glenn: Surgeon-Scientist, Inventor, and NESS President

Best Poster Award

Trishul Kapoor, University of Vermont, College of Medicine
Analysis Of Trends Of Breast Cancer Recurrence Detection

Summary of the 2016 Annual Business Meeting

The 2016 Annual Business Meeting was held on Sunday, September 18th, in the Plaza Ballroom A/B of the Seaport Hotel, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Report of the Secretary

Dr. Zinner referred the Membership to Dr. David Clark’s formal report in the Annual Meeting Program Book.

Dr. Clark was called to the podium to present additional information for the Secretary’s report. Dr. Clark reminded those present that all candidates being proposed for new membership consideration need to be submitted via the online membership module on the NESS Web site. He added that only candidates proposed during Caucus are to be submitted and encouraged submission of data in support of those candidates before December. In addition, he informed the Membership that, by mid-November, the list of all potential candidates would be sent to the current membership for comment and feedback. These steps would ensure adequate paperwork review by the State Representatives prior to the winter interim meeting of the Executive Committee.

Dr. Clark also reminded those present that the category of Affiliate Membership is new this year. If a member wishes to sponsor an Affiliate Membership applicant, such person must:

  • Be a resident outside the New England States and within either the United States or Canada;
  • Have either Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons, fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, or certification by an ABMS surgical specialty board or Canadian equivalent; and
  • Have an unrestricted license (or an inactive license due to retirement) to practice medicine and surgery in the state or province in which s/he practices or resides.

Dr. Clark reported that in 2016 the Executive Committee of the Society met on January 13th via conference call, May 13th in Waltham, Massachusetts, and again on Friday, September 10th, in Boston, Massachusetts, with the following being action and informational items from those meetings:

  • Affirmed the policy of strongly encouraging Senior members to continue to pay dues, especially those still in practice.
  • Agreed that, given the per unit cost of $43 to publish the NESS Centennial History book, extra copies of “Surgery, Science, and Collegiality” should be sold for $50 plus mailing.
  • Appointed Dr. Thomas J. Miner at the new Editor of the Society’s Newsletter.
  • Charged an expanded New Members Committee with new strategic tasks of member retention (helping to ensure Candidate members transition to Active/Affiliate status) and member engagement.
  • Endorsed the efforts of the Committee on Graduate Medical Education and Candidate Membership to develop a position paper on resident wellness.
  • Voted to hold the 2019 Annual Meeting from September 13-15 at the Marriott Montreal Château Champlain in Montreal, Quebec.

Report of the Recorder

Dr. Walter E. Longo read the names of members who were known to have passed away and had not yet had their names read before the Membership at any previous Annual Business Meeting; thus, the following list includes members who may have died prior to September 28, 2015:

John C. Baldwin, MD, Lubbock, TX
Robert L. Berger, MD, Brookline, MA
Allan D. Callow, MD, San Francisco, CA
Berger H. Carlson, MD, Concord, NH
Joseph M. Civetta, MD, Farmington, CT
Nicholas P. Coe, MD, Springfield, MA
Lawrence H. Cohn, MD, Boston, MA
Geoffrey M. Coley, MD, Hartford, CT
John D. Constable, MD, Sherborn, MA
Nathan P. Couch, MD, Dover, MA
Andrew J. Dowd, MD, Wakefield, RI
Mitchell P. Fink, MD, Los Angeles, CA
William L. Gage, MD, Laconia, NH
Robert W. Hopkins, MD, Milton, MA
Paul G. Kuehn, MD, South Windsor, CT
John H. Seashore, MD, New Haven, CT
David M. Sensenig, MD, Lansdale, PA

The Membership stood for a moment of silence in memory of the departed members.

Report of the Treasurer

Through the use of slides, Dr. John E. Sutton, Jr., Treasurer, presented a financial report for the year-end as of December 31, 2015. Total year-end Receipts as of December 31, 2015, were $267,548. These consisted of: $115,325 in Dues & Assessments; $4,000 in contributions toward the 2015 Research Day; $147,627 in receipts for the 2015 Annual Meeting, as well as $475 in delayed receipts from the 2014 meeting; and $121 in Interest Income.

Total year-end Disbursements of $228,996 which consisted of: $82,739 in total General and Administrative expenses; $1,555 in total Publications expenses; $5,365 in expenses toward the NESS Research Day; $112,556 in Meetings and Education disbursements for the 2015 Annual Meeting; and $26,781 in Officers and Committees expenses.

Dr. Sutton also noted the following details on last year’s Annual Meeting in Newport, Rhode Island:

  • Receipts from attendee registration were lower than budgeted; however, exhibit fee were $34,600—or $24,600 above budget—resulting in total receipts being $13,227 above budget.
  • Expenses for that meeting came in $11,363 under budget, with $4,859 of that amount due to lower function expenses resulting from lower registration.
  • The 2015 Annual Meeting surplus was $32,805—or $24,590 higher than the $8,215 budgeted surplus.

Report of the Audit Committee

Dr. Zinner called upon Dr. David McAneny, who, along with Dr. Frederick H. Millham, had served on the Audit Committee. He reported that the Audit Committee met Friday afternoon with staff and affirmed that the Fiscal Year 2015 balance sheet and tax forms are accurate and complete.

VOTED to approve the Report of the Audit Committee.

Report of the New England Surgical Society Charitable Foundation

Through the use of slides, Dr. John P. Welch, NESS Charitable Foundation President, presented a financial report for the year-end as of December 31, 2015. Total Assets as of December 31st were $236,352, which included $33,370 in the Checking and Money Market Accounts, and $200,417 in the investment portfolio. Also listed in the assets are $2,564 worth of NESS Neckties currently in inventory.

Total year-end receipts of $26, 223 consisted of: $23,630 in contributions; $1,800 in initiation fees; $200 from neckwear sales; and $592 in investment revenue. Total year-end disbursements were $35,966, which consisted of: $6,740 in Annual Meeting Honoraria and Awards, including expenses for the Mixter Lecture, Nathan Smith Award, and Resident, New Member, and Poster Presentation Prizes; the $3,000 annual contribution toward the NESS Research Day; $20,000 for the Scholars Research Grants; $4,000 for the joint ACS/NESS Health Policy and Management Scholarship; $1,951 in General & Administrative costs; and $265 in Foundation Board expenses.

Dr. Welch reminded those present that the mission of Scholars Foundation is to provide financial support to enhance the clinical and educational opportunities of the membership of NESS in their efforts to strengthen the discipline of surgery in New England. Activities currently supported by the foundation include; the Scholars Research Grant, which advances innovative surgical research via multiyear support. The recipient of this grant is awarded $10,000 in the initial year; the grant can then be renewed by review of the NESS Scholars Foundation Board of Directors for a succeeding year, for up to an additional $10,000. The 2014-2016 Scholars Research Grant Recipient was Dr. Heung Bae Kim. Dr. Welch then called upon Dr. Kim’s research fellow, Dr. Eliza Lee, to present their final report.

Dr. Welch notified the members that Dr. Richard A. Perugini of the University of Massachusetts received the 2016-2017 scholars grant for his project, “Assessment of the Correlation between Gastric Morphology, Gastric Emptying, Post Prandial GLP-1 Response, and Hunger Scores following Longitudinal Sleeve Gastrectomy.”

The Foundation also supports the ACS/NESS Health Policy and Management Scholarship, which subsidizes attendance and participation in the Executive Leadership Program in Health Policy and Management at Brandeis University. The 2016 Scholarship was awarded to Dr. Christopher S. Muratore of Hasbro Children's Hospital, who was called to the podium to report on his experience.

Dr. Welch further mentioned that the Foundation supports:

  • The Spring Resident and Fellow Research Presentation Day, two of the winners of which presented podium papers at the 2016 Annual Meeting;
  • The Annual Samuel Jason Mixter Lecture;
  • The Nathan Smith Award; and
  • The New Member, Resident Essay, and Best Poster Prizes at the Annual Meeting.

Dr. Welch reminded each member that his/her Contribution Level is cumulative, determined by the sum total of all donations over time. He thanked those NESS members who had contributed to the Foundation in the past year, and he iterated that, to honor the Society’s 100th Anniversary, the Scholars Foundation had established the unrestricted Centennial Fund, the purpose of which is threefold:

  1. To provide financial support for the production of the NESS Centennial History Book;
  2. To provide financial support for other NESS Centennial activities associated with this 2016 Annual Meeting; and
  3. To provide financial support to enhance the clinical and educational opportunities of the membership of the NESS in their efforts to strengthen the discipline of surgery in New England.

Contributions are a fitting tribute to the 100th Anniversary of the New England Surgical Society, and may be made online by credit card via the Members Only Area.

Report of the Centennial Celebration Committee

Dr. Thomas A. Colacchio, Chair of the Centennial Celebration Committee, provided an update on the success of the Centennial planning, including the creation of both a commemorative documentary to premier at the 2016 Annual Meeting and a written history book.

Report of the Program Committee

Dr. Richard S. Swanson, Chair of the Program Committee, provided a report on abstract submission and selection, registration, invited speaker sessions, and other items related to the organization of the scientific programming at this year’s Annual Meeting.

Report of the Representatives

Dr. Zinner referred to the reports contained in the Program Book from the Society’s Representatives to the American Board of Surgery, American College of Surgeons Board of Governors, and American College of Surgeons Advisory Council for Surgery.

Report of the Nominating Committee and Election of Officers

Dr. Zinner called upon Dr. Neil S. Yeston, to present the Report of the Nominating Committee.

Dr. Yeston noted that the Committee consisted of himself, together with Drs. Frederick R. Radke and David L. Berger. The Committee submitted the slate in the following order:

Officer Name
Recorder Walter E. Longo., MD
Treasurer John E. Sutton, Jr., MD
Secretary David E. Clark, MD
Vice President Anne C. Larkin, MD
President-Elect Robert J. Touloukian, MD

Introduction of New President-Elect

Dr. Robert J. Touloukian was then escorted to the podium and the Membership congratulated him on his election. Dr. Touloukian thanked the Society and remarked how he was looking forward to leading the organization.

Introduction of Incoming President

Dr. Zinner called Dr. Bruce J. Leavitt to the podium to assume the Presidency of the Society. Dr. Zinner presented Dr. Leavitt with the Society’s ceremonial gavel.

On behalf of the Society, Dr. Leavitt expressed appreciation to Dr. Zinner for his years of leadership work in the NESS and provided him with a Plaque of Appreciation in recognition of his invaluable service as President.

Dr. Zinner expressed his gratitude for the privilege of serving the NESS and thanked the Executive Committee and the Membership.

Dr. Leavitt took a few moments to discuss the 2017 Annual Meeting in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire and encouraged all to attend.

New England Surgical Society Office
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