New England Surgical Society
New England Surgical Society

Summer 2021 Newsletter

President's Message

Anne C. Larkin, MD
Anne C. Larkin, MD

Dear Colleagues,

Spring and into summer – a time of renewal and rejuvenation. I also try to use this time of year to take a moment to reflect on the accomplishments of the previous academic year and areas for focus in the coming one. This summer, I have been focusing on mentorship.

All of us have had mentors over our years as a surgeon, be they many or few. In retrospect, my first mentor was my high school voice teacher, Ms. Gale. I relished the drive to University City from my home in Florissant, MO on Thursday afternoons. Sometimes with my mother, sometimes by myself, I would spend those 40 minutes in mental preparation for what was to come. Yes, she was an outstanding teacher, but she also provided the support and foundation that every high school girl needs to know that they can, indeed, follow their dreams.

But sometimes dreams change. And while there were many other mentors along the way in the midst of those changing dreams, the one who had the most impact on me was Paul LoGerfo, whom many of us here in NESS continue to remember fondly. An endocrine surgeon like no other, he spent his career helping young surgeons be the best that we could be. Dr. LoGerfo held his residents to high standards. He was an ear for us and a rock on which we could lean. He taught me that there was a way to begin to integrate my surgical life into all of the rest of the richness that life was. In considering the essence of what I and others were privileged to learn from him, it was to be a great surgeon, and also to be a great soul. He epitomized both, and he did so with a constant smile. "But remember," he would tell us, "perfection is the enemy of good."

This academic year, I have been asked to mentor three under-represented students here at UMass. I am immensely honored, and I can only hope that I have an ounce of the mentorship skill that the compilation of my experiences as a mentee have supplied. I hope that I can give these young students what they need to excel in their careers as physicians, and I know that I will learn enormous amounts from each of them.

I continue to be grateful to the New England Surgical Society for all of the formal and informal mentorship I have received from our members. I continue to learn from each of you, and I look forward to seeing you at Foxwoods in a few short weeks, reconnecting and rejuvenating once again!

Anne C. Larkin, MD

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Newsletter Editor's Corner
Jennifer LaFemina, MD, Editor NESS
Jennifer LaFemina, MD

As I write this piece, I reflect back on Dr. Miner’s words in the Summer 2020 Newsletter: in the middle of the first part of the unprecedented COVID surge “we do not know where this journey through such unchartered territory will land us.” As we emerge at what will hopefully be--to some extent--the end of what has been a very long and challenging road, some parts of the journey are becoming clearer; other aspects of medicine, surgery, and education remain a bit unknown: How do we reopen the world and medicine with another potential surge on the horizon? How will telemedicine integrate within our practices long-term? How can we design virtual and hybrid educational models to optimize the teaching and learning of our trainees? What we know, though, is that science and medicine won, humanity preserved, and through it, we learned a lot of lessons. As we emerge from COVID, we have created a new section for the Newsletter, (re)introducing our members and celebrating their accomplishments, with pieces from some each of the State Representatives and more to come. We hope with this issue to remind ourselves the greatness of the New England Surgical Society, its accomplishments, and most of all its people.

Jennifer LaFemina, MD

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Secretary's Message
Thomas J. Miner, MD, Secretary NESS
Thomas J. Miner, MD

As surgeons, we are accustomed to making decisions based on the assessment of risk. More and more, we must deliberately bring these professional skills to daily life. A simple act such as grocery shopping now requires deliberate decisions based on factors to include masking, assessment of personal and community vaccination status, consideration of viral infections rates, duration of interaction, density and behavior of other shoppers. Game Theory is a theoretical framework to conceive social situations among competing players and produce optimal decision-making of independent and competing actors in a strategic setting. According to Game Theory, the actions and choices of all participants affect the outcomes of each. It has a wide range of applications, including psychology, evolutionary biology, war, politics, business, medicine (to include advanced surgical decision making). Ideally when making personal, community, and population based decisions, Game Theory can help us make the complex decisions that are required. Unfortunately, Game Theory assumes that players make rational and reproducible decisions to guide their choices. I personally use this understanding to explain the frustration that I have when puzzled about their choices. Although Game Theory works on games that contain a strategic element (such as poker), it is irrelevant to games of chance which are described better by information and gambling theory represented by statistical inference and meta-analysis of probability. During these COVID times, however, are we playing roulette with our safety, when we go into stores, work, restaurants, or meetings? For all that we don’t know about COVID, it is clear to me that it is not a random or chance event. From an academic perspective, we are not gambling. We are assessing risk, mitigating it where possible, and weighing the pros and cons of our decisions.

In these times of COVID, the irony of holding our next meeting in a casino, though, is not lost on me. I respect and appreciate the thoughtful, rational and personal decisions that others make even when they differ from mine. I have considered the vaccination status of myself and my peers, considered the available science and data based recommendations on travel and gatherings, read the standards and regulations of the Foxwoods venue, and weighed the personal and professional potential benefits of attendance. I am very excited to attend and very comfortable in encouraging my friends and colleagues to participate in person.

Although I hope to win big, this decision is not a gamble; it’s a very safe bet.

Thomas J. Miner, MD
NESS Secretary

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Recorder's Message
Kari Rosenkranz, MD
Kari Rosenkranz, MD

Dear NESS Members,

I hope that everyone is enjoying a relaxing summer surrounded by friends and family from whom you were separated last year. It is amazing what the warm air, the passing time and an effective vaccine have done to guide us toward normalcy and with that, I am hopeful an increased sense of joy and contentment.

Through the pandemic, our colleagues have persevered and our society has remained strong. We had a successful virtual Resident Research Day in May. Residents and students from several institutions across New England presented novel clinical and translational projects. Congratulations to the presenters as well as their mentors for their clear, thoughtful presentations and articulate response to questions. The virtual format definitely heightened attendance. Thank you to the attendees who participated and submitted some great questions for our speakers.

We are looking forward to more great scientific discovery at our Annual Meeting at Foxwoods this September. The Program Committee has worked hard on a complete agenda with a little something for everyone. It is an energetic venue further charged by the excitement of in-person reunions of NESS friends, old and new.

My best,

Kari Rosenkranz, MD
NESS Recorder

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Program Chair's Message
Peter S. Yoo, MD
Peter S. Yoo, MD

On behalf of the entire program committee, I would like to invite all of our members to reconvene for this year's Annual Meeting, which will be held IN PERSON at Foxwoods from September 24-26, 2021. We have an outstanding program planned for this year's meeting. Building on the extraordinary success of last year’s virtual meeting, this year’s Annual Meeting will give us an opportunity learn about one another’s scientific work, attend exciting panels given by national leaders, and importantly, to reunite with friends and colleagues from around the region. I am looking forward to seeing all the familiar faces of our membership. Hope to see you there!

Looking forward to seeing you all at Foxwoods!

Peter S. Yoo, MD
NESS Program Chair

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State Representative Updates

Rhode Island State Representative Update

As we begin to emerge - albeit very cautiously from coronavirus restrictions - ever respectful of possible threats by viral variants, we find ourselves with full operating room and office hour schedules approaching pre-pandemic levels.

As the RI representative to the New England Surgical Society, the Rhode Island surgical community in particular and our RI community at large await the culmination of the merger of the two largest health systems in the Ocean State - Lifespan and Care New England - and Brown University and its Warren Alpert Medical School to create an integrated academic health system. Its impact on local surgical care and global research is anticipated to be exponential.

On an even more patient centered level I am privileged to announce that three of our outstanding surgical attendings - Drs. Marcoandrea Giorgi, Andrew Luhrs and Elizabeth Renaud - have recently become members of the NESS. These gifted surgeons represent our future.

Our past is reflected in those NESS colleagues who have passed away in the last 12 months including Drs. Carmine J. Capalbo, George N. Cooper, Jr., Richard R. Dyer, and Louis N. Pernokas. Their legacy prevails in those of us who had the privilege of learning from these great surgeons and in those residents of the Ocean State who were the beneficiaries of their dedication to patient care.

Gratefully Submitted,
Marlene Cutitar, MD
Rhode Island State Representative

Vermont Representative Update

It is my distinct privilege to assume the positon of Vermont State Representative of the NESS. I am truly appreciative of the opportunity to serve in this role and I would like to thank Dr. Ed Borrazzo, who preceded me in this position for all of his efforts in representing the state of Vermont.

Similar to the rest of the world, the practice of surgery in Vermont has been severely impacted during the past 18 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, our surgical providers have continued to adapt and excel in delivering high-value care to our patients and supporting our academic mission to educate the next generation of surgeons. At this time, I will update the NESS on some of the recent accomplishments of Vermont surgeons with the acknowledgement that this update is far from being all-inclusive, but is intended to highlight the remarkable record of accomplishments.

There is a growing concern that current surgical training provides inadequate operative experience. The number of cases performed by graduating chief residents has decreased over the past 15 years and fellowships are reporting decreased preparedness in their incoming trainees.

To address this, Dr. Carlos Marroquin has developed a novel surgical simulation approach using human organs (livers, kidneys, pancreatae, lungs, and hearts) from organ donors that were unfit to transplant. Organs that are not transplantable are diverted to our facility for use in education exercises. The organs are perfused with a pigmented solution via roller pumps to provide an approximate organ perfusion pressure, tissue perfusion, and blood supply within the organ.

UVM surgical faculty have found open surgical simulation utilizing human organs provides meaningful and realistic opportunities to practice surgical techniques before a resident is allowed to perform a highly complicated and challenging procedure on a living patient. Incorporating this simulation model into surgical training provides residents with greater opportunities to develop the necessary skills while preserving the public trust in a safe educational environment which fosters confidence and competence.

University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine Department of Surgery Faculty Highlights

Margaret A. Tandoh, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, was invested as the inaugural Richard L. Gamelli, M.D. '74 Green and Gold Professor in Surgery during a virtual ceremony held remotely on September 22, 2020.

Dev Majumdar, PhD, Assistant Professor, received notice that his manuscript describing the interactions between SARS-CoV2 virus proteins and human host cell RNAs was accepted for publication in the highly prestigious journal Cell (impact factor 38). This work provides a critical insight into how the SARS-CoV2 virus acts to evade host cell immune defenses and provides a roadmap for the development of potential therapeutics. This research was a collaborative effort with Dr. Mitch Guttman at the California Institute of Technology, and Emily Bruce and Jason Botten in the Department of Medicine who conducted key experiments for this work in UVM’s BSL3 laboratory.

Gary An, MD, Professor & Vice Chair of Research, and Chase Cockrell, PhD, Assistant Professor, of the An-Cockrell Lab at UVM Larner College of Medicine are participants of a multi-institution research team led by the University of Pittsburgh that recently secured a $22 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Bioelectronics for Tissue Regeneration (BETR) program. The project is titled: “REPAIR: Regenerative Electronic Patch through Advanced Intelligent Regulation.” The An-Cockrell lab will receive $2.8 million over the term of the award.

Faculty Granted Emeriti Status in 2021

Bruce Leavitt, MD, FACS– Professor, Division of Cardiothoracic, Department of Surgery (32 years). Upon reflecting on his retirement, Dr. Bruce Leavitt writes, “I have always felt that the friends that I have made through the New England Surgical Society have been very close to me and I treasure all of those friendships. Once one retires, a surgeon goes and looks back at his or her career. I have valued all of my interactions with my colleagues, hospital staff, surgical residents, medical students, and most important patients. However, my affiliation and participation as well as my close friendships in the New England Surgical Society has been one of the highlights of my life and for that I cannot ever forget or repay our wonderful society.”

Donna Millay, MD– Associate Professor, Division of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery (31 years).

Faculty & Resident Awards

AOA Faculty Award: Fuyuki Hirashima, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, UVMMC and Matthew Siket, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, Division of Emergency Medicine

The Harry E. Howe, MD & Theo O. Howe Outstanding Teacher of Surgery Prize: Margaret Tandoh, MD, FACS Associate Professor, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Richard L. Gamelli Green and Gold Professor in Surgery, Division of Acute Care Surgery, UVMMC
"This award recognizes and honors excellence in teaching in the Department of Surgery."

Gary An, MD, FACS, Professor of Surgery in the Division of Acute Care Surgery, was elected to membership in the Society of University Surgeons (SUS) in February 2021.

Stas Amato, MD was awarded podium presentation, ACS Excellence in Research Award, and publication in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons for the following manuscript: Amato SS, Benson JS, Murphy S, Osler TM, Hosmer D, Cook AD, Wolfson DL, Erb A, Malhotra A, An G. Geographic Coverage and Verification of Trauma Centers in a Rural State: Highlighting the Utility of Location Allocation for Trauma System Planning. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 2020 Oct 3.

1st- Cost-drivers of Elective Colon and Rectal Surgery: A retrospective cohort analysis - Stephen Ranney, MD – Chief Resident

2nd - Patient Factors Associated With High Opioid Consumption Following Common Surgical Procedures Following State Mandated Opioid Prescription Regulations - Autumn Sacklow, MD - PGY3

2nd - Examining the Impact of Covid-19 Visitor Restrictions and Communication Modalities on Family Member Satisfaction with Communication in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit - Emma Dunne - medical student

2nd - Predictors of Code Status Discussion in Adult Patients Presenting for Elective Surgical Procedures - Tessa Cattermole, MD – PGY3

Graduating Residents Fellowships
John Konen, MD - Colon & Rectal Fellowship at the University of Massachusetts
Colleen Kerrigan, MD - Breast Fellowship at the University of Toronto
Tovah Moss, MD - Critical Care Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin
Adam Paine, MD - Cardiothoracic Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital
Doug Reed, MD, 2020 chief resident who completed the Mastery of Surgery Program at UVM.
Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh

Mitchell C. Norotsky, MD
Vermont State Representative

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GME & Candidate Membership Chair's Message
Donald T. Hess, MD
Donald T. Hess, MD

This spring, the Annual Resident and Surgical Fellow Research Day was held virtually on May 5, 2021 after a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic. Typically, the day has been an in-person event at the Waltham Woods Conference Center with 26 presentations spanning a six-hour period of time. After a decision for the meeting to take place virtually, and a strategy to mitigate Zoom fatigue, we shortened the program to 20 presentations grouped together in four 50-minute blocks with a short break after each. What remained constant was the six-minute presentation limit with three minutes of questions. The four moderators, recruited from the GME Committee, were Daithi Heffernan from Brown University, Joseph Phillips from Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Wasef Abu-Jaish from University of Vermont and Jaswin Sawnhey from Maine Medical Center. The new format worked very well and the event was a success!

This year the GME Committee chose from over 80 submitted abstracts with representation from each state. The twenty accepted abstracts spanned topics from machine learning in trauma risk stratification to the gut microbiome. A link to the final program can be found here.

The highlight of the virtual day was the large number of audience participants who had the opportunity to engage the presenters. The moderators were also well prepared and helped facilitate the discussion. While the day transpired, members of the Executive Committee were acting as judges and submitting evaluations on a live grading sheet which allowed us to have immediate results. There were two winners chosen in the categories of best basic science presentation and best clinical presentation. There was an additional category of best medical student presentation that was added that day. The award recipients are listed below.

Basic Science

First Place:
Nanoparticle mediated in utero delivery of miR-200b for the treatment of pulmonary hypoplasia in congenital diaphragmatic hernia
Sarah Ullrich
Yale University

Second Place:
Modified Gut Microbiome Induced by Sleeve Gastrectomy Promotes Colitis-associated Cancer
James Luo
Brigham and Women's Hospital

Clinical Research
Tied for First:
Too Sick or Not Too Sick? Transplant Center Variability in Delisting from the Kidney Transplant Waitlist and 1-Year Mortality
Claire Sokas
Brigham and Women's Hospital

Stoma Closure and Reinforcement (SCAR) Trial: 30 Day Safety and Efficacy
Robert Shaw
Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center

Medical Student Award
NEW for 2021
Moving the Needle in Pancreatic Cancer: The Impact of Modern Treatment Paradigm on Survival
Abdimajid Mohamed
Maine Medical Center

Donald T. Hess, MD
NESS GME & Candidate Membership Chair

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Notice of 2021 Annual Meeting

Notice of 2021 Annual Meeting

The 102nd Annual Meeting of the NESS will take place in person, September 24-26, 2021 at Foxwoods, in Mashantucket, Connecticut. An exciting program has been assembled including stimulating scientific sessions, poster presentations, panel discussions, networking social events, and award presentations. Attendees will experience a memorable, rewarding, and education experience while earning CME credits.

The Preliminary Program is now available for online viewing.

Program Highlights:

  • Two Panels:
    • Surgical Innovation, Education and Industry: Making Collaboration Work
    • Building a Pipeline for New England’s Future Surgical Workforce
  • A quick-fire Posters of Distinction session, during which authors present their posters for a chance to win the Best Poster Award.
  • Six Scientific Sessions with Podium and Brief presentations.
  • Paper of the Year presented by Dr. Chandrajit P. Raut from Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Register now for what is sure to be an exciting meeting in Connecticut, and visit the NESS Meetings webpage for continuous updates. The Early Bird registration deadline was September 1, 2021; onsite/regular registration rates now apply.

The NESS headquarter hotel is at Foxwoods. Members are encouraged to reserve hotel stays before the Housing Cut-Off Date on Wednesday, September 1, 2021. For more information on rates and cancellation policies, visit our Annual Meeting website.

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New Member Committee Chair's Message
Marlene Cutitar, MD
Marlene Cutitar, MD

As Chair of the New Members Committee I am delighted to report on the success of our very first virtual New Members Orientation hosted on June 14, 2021. This event during which new and candidate members were introduced over a one hour period to the myriad benefits of NESS membership and then participated in our inaugural virtual meet-and-greet "happy" hour was well received. This format afforded a mutually beneficial opportunity for the more than thirty participants including new NESS Active and Candidate members and established NESS members including members of the Executive Committee and the New Members Orientation Committee to get to know one another well in advance of our upcoming in-person NESS Annual Meeting taking place September 24 - 26, 2021. The hope is the success of this event will culminate in this becoming an annual event.

My wish for all of you is to continue to thrive in your personal and professional endeavors with great joy, health and satisfaction.

Gratefully Submitted,
Marlene Cutitar, MD
New Member Committee Chair

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New Members Elected in 2021

Thirty-five new Active members were elected into the Society in 2021. Please welcome the following:

Reginald Alouidor, MD, Springfield, MA
Kevin G. Billingsley, MD, New Haven, CT
Alexandra Briggs, MD, Lebanon, NH
Muriel A. Cleary, MD, Worcester, MA
James Clune, MD, New Haven, CT
David E. Coletti, MD, Norwich, CT
Christos Colovos, MD, PhD, Burlington, VT
Farokh Demehri, MD, Boston, MA
Frederick T. Drake, MD, PhD, Boston, MA
Peter J. Fagenholz, MD, Boston, MA
Lisa A. Ferzoco, MD, Cambridge, MA
Sidhu P. Gangadharan, MD, Boston, MA
Marcoandrea Giorgi, MD, Providence, RI
Alok Gupta, MD, Boston, MA
Raul J. Guzman, MD, New Haven, CT
James M. Healy, MD, HMS, Hartford, CT
Belinda Hsi Dickie, MD, PhD, Boston, MA
Andrew P. Loehrer, MD, MPH, Lebanon, NH
Sarah Lomas, MD, Berlin, VT
Andrew R. Luhrs, MD, Providence, RI
Michael F. McGrath, MD, Portland, ME
Somala Mohammed, MD, Boston, MA
John Morton, MD, MPH, New Haven, CT
Conor O'Neill, MD, Burlington, VT
Kartik A. Pandya, MD, Portland, ME
Elizabeth J. Renaud, MD, Providence, RI
Richard E. Royal, MD, Portland, ME
Lucy Ruangvoravat, MD, New Haven, CT
Reuben D. Shin, MD, Beverly, MA
Ann D. Smith, MD, West Roxbury, MA
Ulises Torres, MD, MEHP, Worcester, MA
Karl Fabian L. Uy, MD, Worcester, MA
Monica G. Valero, MD, Boston, MA
Benjamin Zendejas-Mummert, MD, Boston, MA

Eleven new Candidate members were elected in 2021. Please welcome the following new Candidate members:

Brendin R. Beaulieu-Jones, MD, Boston, MA
Nathan Coppersmith, MD, New Haven, CT
Maha H Haqqani, MD, Boston, MA
James M. Healy, MD, HMS, Hartford, CT
Danielle R. Heller, MD, New Haven, CT
Anna Kobzeva-Herzog, MD, Boston, MA
Samuel M. Miller, MD, New Haven, CT
Marianna V. Papageorge, MD, New Haven, CT
Stephen E. Ranney, MD, Burlington, VT
Sarah J. Ullrich, MD, MHS, New Haven, CT
Allison R. Wilcox, MD, Lebanon, NH

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Task Force on Diversity & Inclusivity

The Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion of the New England Surgical Society has worked to find opportunities to enhance the membership and Society activities through increased engagement and diversity of our members. Our mission is to enhance the organization's established history of promoting surgery and to continue cultivating an environment of mutual respect, equity, and inclusion.

As we move forward, we have set two short-term goals:

  1. Establish the baseline demographics of the current membership body of the NESS; and
  2. Identify how the NESS might better serve its membership with an eye to the shared values of respect, equity, and inclusion.

We need your help! Please update your membership profile by answering all of the newly added demographic questions to support this critical organizational initiative to strengthen the NESS. Responses will be for internal use only and will be used exclusively to understand the composition of NESS' membership and to identify areas where further mentorship and sponsorship can be of value. All members are asked to answer the demographic questions by October 15, 2021.

NESS Task Force on Diversity & Inclusivity

Alisa Savetamal, MD
Jacqueline J. Wu, MD

Richard J. Barth, Jr, MD
Ricardo J. Bello, MD, MPH
Loreski Collado, MD
Marlene Cutitar, MD
Albert W. Dibbins, MD
Andrew J. Duffy, MD
Denise W. Gee, MD
Piyush Gupta, MD
Richard H. Koehler, MD
Anne C. Larkin, MD
Kathleen A. LaVorgna, MD
Bruce J. Leavitt, MD
Walter E. Longo, MD
Thomas J. Miner, MD
Malcolm K. Robinson, MD
Kari Rosenkranz, MD
Christopher D. Strader, MD
Margaret A. Tandoh, MD
Thomas F. Tracy, Jr., MD
Sivamainthan Vithiananthan, MD

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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.

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Committee and Representative Listing

View 2020-2021 Committees and Representatives.

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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.

New England Surgical Society Office
500 Cummings Center, Suite 4400
Beverly, MA 01915
Tel. (978) 927-8330 | Fax: (978) 524-0498