Richard J. Barth, Jr., MD
As I write this message, five days before the deadline for abstracts for our Annual Meeting, I hope that most of you are more disciplined than me. No matter how hard I try to get the results analyzed and conclusions arrived at well in advance, it always seems like I am working with my residents to get that abstract together a few days before it is due….I certainly hope that many of you are planning to submit some groundbreaking, controversial, or at least thought-provoking studies for our Program Committee to consider at our May meeting.
I am certain that our 100th meeting, in Montreal, will be a memorable one that you will not want to miss. Matt Conway, the Program Chair, and I have decided to try something new this year. Instead of a panel discussion on Saturday morning, we plan to have three debates. The whole membership will be involved: you get to vote on a controversial topic before and after it gets debated by surgical experts. Plus, you will get a chance to challenge the debaters. I will keep you in suspense about the topics, but can tell you that Tom Tracy, our former President, and Dave Mooney will be squaring off (be careful Tom, Mooney recently finished training for a black belt in karate). Gerry Doherty and Meredith-I refuse to be intimidated-Sorensen will be battling it out in the second round with a topic that I know Blake Cady wishes he could be debating. Blake’s trainer, however, decided that it was unwise for him to get his heart rate up too high. Finally, I will be taking on a heavy-hitter from Michigan, Jenn Walljee in the third debate. We are also eagerly anticipating what I am sure will be an illuminating discourse on Sunday from Monica Bertagnolli, our Samuel J. Mixter lecturer.
I send my best wishes to all and look forward to seeing many of you at the Surgery Resident and Fellow Research Presentation Day, Tuesday, May 7, and at our Annual Meeting in September.
Richard J. Barth, Jr., MD
Thomas J. Miner, MD
I would like to take this opportunity to follow up on an important message we heard Dr. Touloukian emphasize many times during his presidency: a call to promote full participation in NESS by all possible members. The promise of diversity and inclusion not only meets an obligation to membership, our profession, our patients and our respective communities, it better positions our society to flourish as we fully leverage the skills and talents of our membership.
The importance of diversity and inclusion in surgery is much more than simply “doing the right thing.” Diversity in Medicine and Surgery is probably best represented by those individuals who have overcome long-standing norms and allies who have recognized and advocated for the inclusion of all individuals. Despite a long and proud history of surgical champions who challenged standard dogma with new ideas, the number of individuals who have been given the chance to express such diversity of thought has been limited. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, race, socioeconomic background, gender, sexuality, and/or religion. When people are excluded, opportunity is lost not only for the individual but for our profession and patients as well. In the business sector, companies who intentionally create a more diverse workforce are more innovative, able to better navigate potential obstacles and improve financial return by 15-35%. For Surgery to reap such rewards, all members must be included fully. Brene Brown appropriately stated, “Belonging is being somewhere where you want to be, and they want you. Fitting in is being somewhere where you want to be, but they don’t care one way or the other.” To fully prosper, we must ensure that all surgeons “belong.”
To promote inclusion as a Society, we should: listen to all members with an open mind regardless of background; be mindful of language and intentional about the choice of pronouns, humor, and mannerisms; when discrimination is recognized, members should speak up to promote respect for our colleagues and support them as they advocate for themselves; and, members and leadership should advocate and ally fully with all of our peers to promote advancement within the organization.
At the suggestion of several fellow members, I have included the following links on the subject:
Thomas J. Miner MD
James Whiting, MD
Greetings from Portland! Spring up here, as in much of Northern New England means lengthening days, (slightly) warmer temperatures, unrealistic expectations of what April and May will be like and, of course, lots of mud. It also means Match day and the end of recruitment season. As many of you know, I am not only your secretary, but the Residency Program Director here in Maine.
For those of you either not involved, or only peripherally involved in residency recruiting and this annual rite of spring, there are a number of facts worth noting. First, the popularity of surgery as a career has never been higher. Every spot in the country filled this year, most programs are seeing something in the range of 200-300 applicants per categorical position, the average USMLE scores of students matched to surgery continues to rise, and when you meet these young men and women in person, it’s impossible not to be incredibly impressed with their talent, enthusiasm and idealism. Whether lucky or good (or both), we are doing something right.
That’s not to say that everything is rosy all over. The system used to find and select these young surgeons is badly broken and poorly serving the needs of both applicants and programs. The burgeoning popularity of our specialty and the ease of electronic submissions have created a virtual arms race of applications. Deans are routinely recommending even strong candidates to apply to forty programs, candidates with less than stellar USMLE scores are applying to 60 or 70 and I ran into a few couple’s matching candidates who applied to over 100 programs! Applicants report spending as much as $10,000 on the process. Programs inundated with applications can now no longer read every application and end up overly dependent on computer filtering of candidates by board scores. Even the most gifted medical student who is absolutely born to be a surgeon will struggle mightily to find a spot if their board scores are below average. There is evidence to be presented at Program Directors meeting this spring that the reliance on USMLE filters may be especially harmful to qualified applicants who are underrepresented minorities. Lastly, the stresses caused by this system have been associated with disturbing breakdowns in simple courtesy (read professionalism) by applicants and programs alike. Applicants cancel interviews at the last minute, leaving programs unable to fill their spots. At the same time, applicants report that the majority of programs don’t acknowledge receipt of applications or provide any information as to when they have filled all interview slots, thus leaving the students to twist and wonder what’s happening, while preventing them from blocking geographically related interviews together.
So what to do about all this? It’s a big complex problem that involves behemoths like the AAMC where it will take time to address. But we can do something at the local level and we can start with the low hanging fruit of professionalism. Most of us would agree that professionalism is a competency that benefits by modeling and clarity. So let’s provide that in New England. Let’s provide a code of expectations for applicants and programs alike and hold each other and our applicants responsible. Let’s also provide some transparency to the process. There is no downside to clearly stating our criteria for applicants, along with our timetables. If you are faculty and not involved in residency administration, you can still help. Volunteer to interview and read (and abide by) the match agreement ahead of time. Put some time and thought into helping your program select the best candidates through the questions you ask. It’s in all of our best interests.
James Whiting, MD
Kari Rosenkranz, MD
Following a great Annual Meeting in Portland, ME in 2018, NESS members submitted 41 manuscripts to JACS with 14 being accepted for publication. Many of you have contributed as authors, mentors, reviewers and critique writers. All this good work promotes the academic mission of our society and it is very much appreciated.
We have our Resident and Fellow Research day in May and the 2019 Annual Meeting in Montreal, is just around the corner. In the upcoming year, we will work with our Publications Committee so all authors will benefit from pre-submission reviews by content experts within the society. We are hopeful we can continue to increase the manuscript publication rate in this way.
In Montreal, 2019, we will be inducting many new members—including candidate members—into NESS. Sadly, each year we also mourn the passing of members. If you are aware of a death in our NESS community, please let us know so we can properly memorialize our own.
Hope to see some of you in Waltham, MA, May 7th and many more of you in Montreal. Au revoir.
Kari Rosenkranz, MD
Matthew A. Conway, MD
Program Chair’s Message
Winter is fading and with the Spring comes the promise of renewal and growth. Usually by this point the crocuses are pushing through the snow and the water is beginning to flow fast and furious in our creeks and rivers. Here in Vermont, this year, we have had an ‘old fashioned’ winter. For us, that has meant more and consistent snow coverage and cold. Having said that, the days are getting longer and the sun has been shining stronger and brighter. The coming of Spring for me means preparation for what has become a yearly surgical mission to Central America. As I consider what to bring and what equipment I might need, I am comforted in the knowledge that I’ll be working with a team I have worked with yearly and who understands our mission and our goals. Simply put, that goal is to provide as much care in the time we have with what resources we have brought. In many ways, this represents a rather simple reduction of the same goals we strive for in our daily work.
As Program Chair, this year and a member of the Program Committee the past 6 years, I have been impressed with how much our yearly meeting accomplishes. It is a testament to the commitment of our members and the quality of their work. As your Program Committee, we strive to ensure that this year will not be an exception to that expectation. We encourage submission of your work and look forward to learning of the work of our members. As always we will host a Resident’s Day presentation on May 7th. A great opportunity for residents to present their work amongst their peers, it yearly highlights the high quality of research performed in our New England training programs.
This year’s Fall meeting, interestingly, will be held outside New England. While seemingly a rather an unusual choice for a ‘New England’ surgical society meeting, Montreal is a location in which we have held meetings in the past and have been well received. As a northern neighbor for those of us in Vermont, it is an easy and fun place to escape to the ‘big’ city with much to see and do. I look forward to seeing you the weekend of September 13th to the 15th to continue our tradition of fellowship and scholarship.
Matthew A. Conway, MD
NESS Program Chair
The 2019 Annual Meeting of the NESS will take place September 13-15, 2019 at the Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Save the date now for what is sure to be an exciting meeting in historic Montreal, and visit the NESS Meetings webpage for continuous updates.
The 26th Annual Surgical Resident and Fellow Research Presentation Day will take place Tuesday, May 7, 2019, 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.
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 2019 program and co-authoring an abstract!
The purpose of the New England Surgical Scholars Foundation is to provide educational and research support for the NESS. During the past year, Dr. Catherine A. Schneider was appointed as the Vermont representative on the Board of Directors, while Dr. Artlet G. Kurkchubasche was re-appointed as President and Dr. David McAneny was elected as Secretary-Treasurer.
During fiscal year 2018, members contributed $23,125 to the Foundation, which includes $550 to the unrestricted Centennial Fund that was established to honor the NESS’ 100th Anniversary. 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 continues to fund 2 concurrent Scholars Research grants—one a first-year grant ($10,000), and the other a second-year grant ($10,000)—which are meant to advance innovative surgical research via multiyear support. Applications for the 2019-2021 Scholars Research Grant are now being accepted through the deadline of May 31, 2019.
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.
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.
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.
The 2018 Annual Business Meeting was held on Sunday, September 23rd, in the Grand Ballroom of the Westin Portland Harborview in Portland, Maine.
Report of the Secretary
Dr. Touloukian 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 website. 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 Active, Senior, and Affiliate 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 of the criteria for Affiliate Membership. If a member wishes to sponsor an Affiliate Membership applicant, such person must:
Dr. Clark further mentioned that applicants for Candidate membership may be sponsored at any time, as such applicants are vetted through the GME & Candidate Membership Committee on an as-needed basis throughout the year. This process permits for both more expeditious advancement of a trainee’s membership and a potential for longer periods of membership at the Candidate level and its requisite benefits.
- 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 2018 the Executive Committee of the Society met on January 9th via conference call, May 8th in Waltham, Massachusetts, and again on Friday, September 21st, in Portland, Maine, with the following being action and informational items from those meetings:
- Formed a Task Force on Diversity in Surgical Leadership, which will perform a critical analysis of where the NESS is and how it can improve.
- Decided, given the space limitations at the Portland venue, to incorporate ePosters into the 2018 Annual Meeting, which allows the Society to accommodate more poster presentations.
- Voted to eliminate any dues requirements for Candidate members.
- Recognizing that the Society does not rely on its investment portfolio performance for day-to-day operations, voted to shift the Society’s investment portfolio to a less conservative asset allocation, and to transfer additional monies into the portfolio.
- Decided to hold the 26th Annual Surgical Resident and Fellow Research Presentation Day again at Waltham Woods Conference Center, within the headquarters of the Massachusetts Medical Society in Waltham, Massachusetts.
- Agreed that the 2021 Annual Meeting should be held in Connecticut, should a suitable venue be identified.
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 10, 2017:
Frederick Ackroyd, MD, Palo Alto, CA
John W. Braasch, MD, Lincoln, MA
Allan E. Dumont, MD, Orono, ME
Martin E. Felder, MD, Somerset, MA
Eugene W. Grabowski, MD, Bennington, VT
Martin Koplewitz, MD, Shelburne, VT
Jack S. Parker, MD, Westwood, MA
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, 2016. Total year-end Receipts as of December 31, 2017, were $219,574. These consisted of: $107,890 in Dues & Assessments; $4,500 in contributions toward the 2017 Research Day; $50 in Publications revenue related to the Centennial History Book; $106,787 in receipts for the 2017 Annual Meeting; and $347 in General and Administrative receipts, which includes revenue from membership mailing list rental, job board commissions, and non-investment-portfolio interest income.
Total year-end Disbursements of $208,113 which consisted of: $87,735 in total General and Administrative expenses; $1,620 in total Publications expenses; $6,012 in expenses toward the NESS Research Day; $101,220 in Meetings and Education disbursements for the 2017 Annual Meeting and a $5,000 deposit for the 2019 Annual Meeting hotel; and $6,526 in Officers and Committees expenses.
Dr. Sutton also noted the following details on last year’s Annual Meeting in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire:
- Receipts from attendee registration, education grant support, and exhibitors were all below budget. Total receipts were $28,676 (21.4%) below budget.
- Expenses came in $21,525 under budget. With lower registration came lower-than-budgeted function costs.
- The Annual Meeting deficit was $16,031; a deficit of $8,880 had been budgeted.
Report of the Audit Committee
Dr. Touloukian called upon Dr. Drs. Andrew J. Duffy, who, along with Dr. Ian R. Neilson, had served on the Audit Committee. He reported that the Audit Committee met Saturday morning with staff and affirmed that the Fiscal Year 2017 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 Scholars Foundation
Through the use of slides, Dr. Charles H. Salem, NESS Scholars Foundation Secretary-Treasurer, presented a financial report for the year-end as of December 31, 2017. Total Assets as of December 31st were $241,595 which included $16,083 in the Checking and Money Market Accounts, and $225,512 in the investment portfolio. The Reconciliation portion indicates beginning cash on January 1, 2017, of $230,834 with a year-end Centennial Fund balance of $422 and an operating surplus of $10,339, resulting in the total assets of $241,595.
Total year-end receipts of $40,696 consisted of: $20,850 in contributions; including $500 in donations to the Centennial Fund; $3,100 in initiation fees; and $16,746 in investment revenue. Total year-end Disbursements were $30,357, which consisted of: $7,250 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; $10,000 for a single year of Scholars Research Grant funding; $4,000 for the joint ACS/NESS Health Policy and Management Scholarship; $3,982 in General & Administrative costs, including $1,149 in investment management fees; a $1,928 transfer from the Foundation’s Centennial Fund to the NESS; and $197 in Foundation Board expenses.
Dr. Salem 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.
Dr. Salem notified the members that Dr. Dr. Khashayar Vakili, of Boston Children’s Hospital received the 2018-2019 scholars grant for his project, “Personalized Cell Therapy Using Gene-Edited Liver Progenitor Cells for the Treatment of Inborn Errors of Metabolism”.
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 2018 Scholarship was awarded to Dr. John R. Romanelli of Baystate Medical Center. Dr. Romanelli then presented his report.
Dr. Salem further mentioned that the Foundation supports:
Dr. Salem 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.
- The Spring Resident and Fellow Research Presentation Day, all four winners of which presented posters at this 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.
Report of the Program Committee
Dr. Kari Rosenkranz, 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 Archives Committee
Dr. Thomas A. Colacchio, Chair of the Archives Committee, provided a report on the committee’s plans and activities.
Report of the Task Force on Diversity in Surgical Leadership
Dr. Anne C. Larkin, delivered a report of the Task Force on Diversity in Surgical Leadership’s activities. Opportunities to serve on this committee was discussed.
Report of the Representatives
Dr. Touloukian 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. Touloukian called upon Dr. David L. Berger, to present the Report of the Nominating Committee.
Dr. Berger noted that the Committee consisted of Drs. Bruce J. Leavitt and Michael J. Zinner, and himself as Chair. The Committee submitted the slate in the following order:
|Recorder||Kari Rosenkranz., MD|
|Treasurer||Peter J. Mazzaglia, MD|
|Secretary||James Whiting, MD|
|Vice President||David E. Clark, MD|
|President-Elect||Walter E. Longo, MD|
Introduction of New President-Elect
Dr. Walter E. Longo was then escorted to the podium and the Membership congratulated him on his election. Dr. Longo thanked the Society and remarked how he was looking forward to leading the organization.
Introduction of Incoming President
Dr. Touloukian called Dr. Richard J. Barth to the podium to assume the Presidency of the Society. Dr. Touloukian presented Dr. Barth with the Society’s ceremonial gavel.
On behalf of the Society, Dr. Barth expressed appreciation to Dr. Touloukian 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. Touloukian expressed his gratitude for the privilege of serving the NESS and thanked the Executive Committee and the Membership.
Dr. Barth took a few moments to discuss the 2019 Annual Meeting in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and encouraged all to attend.
New England Surgical Society Office
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