The 2020 Annual Business Meeting was held virtually on Saturday, October 24, 2020
Report of the Secretary
Dr. Longo referred the Membership to Dr. James Whiting's formal report in the online Annual Meeting Program Book.
Dr. Whiting presented during the live stream virtual meeting, additional information for the Secretary's report. Dr. Whiting reminded those present that all applicants for Active, Senior, and Affiliate membership categories, only those proposed during Caucus meetings are to be submitted, and all applicant data should be submitted as soon as possible, prior to December. In addition, by mid-November the list of all potential Active, Senior, and Affiliate applicants will be sent to the current membership for comment and feedback. This will ensure adequate review by the State Representatives before the winter interim meeting of the Executive Committee in January, when the final ballot is set.
Attendee were reminded of the eligibility criteria, for Affiliate Membership applicant where the applicant 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. Whiting also reminded attendees that they may sponsor an applicant for Candidate membership 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. So please consider sponsoring a new Candidate membership applicant via the online membership module on the New England Surgical Society website. Candidate members represent a pipeline of future Active members. Dr. Alia Aunchman of Burlington, Vermont was then acknowledged for being the Society's first Candidate member who applied for and was elected this past May to Active membership,
Dr. Whiting reported that the Executive Committee of the Society met via conference call on January 15th, and via videoconference on May 12th, June 8th, July 20th, and yesterday, October 23rd. The following are action and informational items from these meetings:
- Canceled the May 2020 Resident and Fellow Research Day due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Agreed to begin publishing pieces of the Annual Meeting program book online instead of in print, thereby reducing both the size of the program book and layout and printing costs, with the intention of eventually transitioning to a meeting app.
- Voted unanimously to: 1) cancel the in-person 2020 Annual Meeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic and instead conduct the meeting virtually; 2) re-contract with the 2020 venue, the Gurneys, Newport, Rhode Island, for the 2023 Annual Meeting; and 3) move forward with a slate of new nominees rather than freezing the Executive Committee in place through September 2021.
- With the cancellation of Research Day resulting in fewer opportunities to participate this year, the Executive Committee agreed to extend an extra year to those members who were unable to meet the Society's requirement of some level of participation at least once every three years.
- Dr. Whiting reported that the State Caucuses were scheduled outside of the dates of the virtual Annual Meeting, and, that the caucuses would be taking, October 27th through the 29th. Members were reminded that the State Caucuses are an integral to the operation of the NESS. The Society strongly encouraged all members to participate in their state's meeting, during the following will be discussed:
- Active membership proposals, with it recommended that each Active membership applicant have at least one of their sponsors present at the Caucus to advocate and vouch for them;
- Appointments to State Representative positions that may be open on the Executive, Program, New Members, GME & Candidate Membership, and Archives Committees, as well as on the Scholars Foundation Board; and
- Other state-specific issues.
- Members who have not already registered for their State Caucus meeting was encouraged to do so in the coming days; as registration is complimentary.
- The Executive Committee also agreed, after the conclusion of the virtual Annual Meeting, to make its Poster presentations available online for additional, post-meeting CME.
- It was decided to defer President Longo's selections for the Nathan Smith Award and the Mixter Lecture until the 2021 Annual Meeting.
- It was also agreed to investigate the feasibility of collecting members' CVs for future memorial statements.
- The Executive Committee voted to approve a series of recommendations from the Task Force on Diversity & Inclusivity.
- It was also voted to begin negotiations with the Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain in Vermont for the 2024 Annual Meeting venue.
Report of the Recorder
Dr. Kari Rosenkranz 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 15, 2019:
|Menelaos A. Aliapoulios, MD, Weston, MA
Peter B. Baute, MD, Block Island, RI
Raymond K. Bopp, MD, Mansfield Center, CT
John M. Cahill, MD, Cohasset, MA
Carmine J. Capalbo, MD?, Greenville, RI
Michael M. Deren, MD, New London, CT
Stanley J. Dudrick MD, Waterbury, CT
Richard R. Dyer, MD, Warwick, RI
Donald S. Gann, MD, Lutherville, MD
|H. Alan Hume, MD, Sidney, ME
John A. Mannick, MD, Weston, MA
Isaac O. Mehrez, MD, Belmont, MA
Russell J. Nauta, MD, Cambridge, MA
Prof. Barry O'Donnell, Dublin, Ireland
H. Gordon Page, MD, South Burlington, VT
Grant V. Rodkey, MD, West Roxbury, MA
Allan L. Toole, MD, Wellington, FL
The Membership observed a moment of silence in remembrance of these distinguished colleagues.
Report of the Treasurer
Through the use of slides, Dr. Peter J. Mazzaglia, Treasurer, presented a financial report for the year-end as of December 31, 2019. The year 2019 ended with Total Net Assets of $359,980—$5,722 less than year-end 2018.
Total year-end 2019 Receipts were $208,594. These consisted of: $108,627 in Dues & Assessments; $4,500 in contributions toward the 2019 Research Day; $93,835 in receipts for the 2019 Annual Meeting; and $1,633 in General and Administrative receipts—which for 2019 included job board revenue in addition to non-investment-portfolio interest income. The second column displayed on the screen represented activities of those line items as of prior year-end 2018, with the third column indicating the 2019 budget. The variances were as follows:
- General and Administrative receipts were over budget because there was $1,511 in unexpected revenue from the Society Job Board; and
- 2019 Annual Meeting receipts were below budget because all registration categories underperformed, with fewer attendees traveling to Montreal than anticipated.
Total year-end Disbursements of $237,991 consisted of: $91,112 in total General and Administrative expenses; $1,791 in total Publications expenses; $10,261 in expenses toward the NESS Research Day; $127,107 in Meetings and Education disbursements, broken down as $103,617 for the 2019 Annual Meeting, and $3,520 in future meeting expenses and $20,000 in unanticipated future meeting deposits; and $7,721 in Officers and Committees expenses. The second column displayed represented activities of these line items as of year-end 2018, with the third column indicating the 2019 budget.
Regarding investment, the NESS gained $24,950 in 2019, inclusive of investment manager fees of $920.
Additional details on last year's Annual Meeting in Montreal include:
- As aforementioned, receipts from attendee registration were below budget, resulting in total 2019 Annual Meeting receipts coming in $17,390 (15.6%) below budget.
- Total 2019 Annual Meeting expenses—paid both in fiscal year 2019 and in prior years—were $108,617, under budget by $16,288 (13.0%).
- Up until last week, the 2019 Annual Meeting deficit was $14,782, whereas a deficit of $13,680 had been budgeted.
- However, the Society's claim of the Foreign Convention and Tour Incentive Program rebate of Canadian taxes that were levied on the 2019 Annual Meeting just came through this week, amounting to approximately $3,700, and thus reducing the meeting deficit to $11,000.
Although the Treasurer's Report is meant to detail the prior year's financials, Dr. Mazzaglia updated the membership on how the cancellation of the in-person 2020 Annual Meeting and the transition to the virtual format affected the Society.
- When the decision to transition to a virtual format was made, $7,969 had already been spent on the Annual Meeting. Only $2,392 of this amount represents sunk costs for services specific to an in-person meeting. Otherwise, the Society incurred no penalty fees for cancelling the in-person meeting—not from the hotel, nor from any vendors.
- The in-person Annual Meeting had been budgeted with a deficit of $22,400, which included the cost of in-person committee meetings and a Past President dinner. The Virtual Annual Meeting is now budgeted to nearly break-even, and may in fact, realize a modest surplus.
In addition, when the Society decided to cancel the May 2020 Research Day, only $1,366 in sunk costs had been spent; that event had been budgeted with a deficit of $8,625.
Report of the Audit Committee
Dr. Longo called upon Dr. Alan K. Meinke and Meredith J. Sorensen who had served on the Audit Committee. They reported that the Audit Committee met with staff on October 16th and affirmed that the Fiscal Year 2019 balance sheet and tax forms are accurate and complete.
VOTED to approve the Report of the Audit Committee.
Report of the NESS Scholars Foundation
Through the use of slides, Dr. Rocco Orlando, Scholars Foundation Secretary and Treasurer, to provide a report on the Foundation's Fiscal Year 2019 receipts and disbursements. Total year-end assets as of December 31, 2019, were $236,348 and included $4,128 in the Checking and Money Market Accounts, $230,238 in the investment portfolio, and $1,982 in men's logo neckwear.
The Reconciliation portion indicates beginning cash of $222,549 for the year with a year-end Centennial Fund balance of $2,322 and an operating surplus of $11,477, resulting in the total assets of $236,348. The surplus is largely attributable to the gains in the portfolio.
Total year-end Disbursements were $37,521, which consisted of: $20,425 in contributions, including $1,300 in donations to the Centennial Fund; $1,800 in initiation fees; $500 in neckwear sales; and $26,273 in investment gains, including $1,180 in investment manager fees. The second column represents activities of these line items as of prior year-end 2018, with the third column indicating the 2019 budget. The largest variance is in investment revenue, due to gains in the equities market in 2019.
Total year-end Disbursements were $37,521, which consisted of: $7,500 in Annual Meeting Honoraria and Awards, including expenses for the Mixter Lecture, Nathan Smith Award, and Podium, Brief Report, New Member, and Poster Presentation Prizes; the $3,000 annual contribution toward the NESS Research Day; $20,000 for two Scholars Research Grants; $4,000 for the joint ACS/NESS Health Policy and Management Scholarship; $2,846 in General & Administrative costs; $117 in the value of neckwear sold; and $58 in Foundation Board expenses. Again, the second column represents activities of these line items as of prior year-end 2018, with the third column indicating the 2019 budget.
Dr. David McAneny, Scholars Foundation President, 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 2018-2020 Scholars Research Grant Recipient was Dr. Khashayar Vakili; Dr. Vakili then presented his final report.
Dr. McAneny notified the members that Dr. John W. Kunstman, of Yale School of Medicine, received the 2020 scholars grant for his project for his project, “Development of an Organoid-Based Model System for Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasia of the Pancreas.”
Dr. McAneny further mentioned that the Foundation 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. Unfortunately, there was no program and thus no scholarship in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Spring Resident and Fellow Research Presentation Day, the 2020 edition of which was cancelled at the start of the pandemic;
- The Annual Samuel Jason Mixter Lecture and the Nathan Smith Award, both of which will resume at next year's live meeting; and
- The Podium, Brief Report, and Best Poster Prizes as well as the New Member Award at the Annual Meeting.
Dr. McAneny reminded each member that his/her Contribution Level is cumulative, determined by the sum total of all their donations over time. He then thanked all those NESS members who have contributed to the Foundation in the past year; those members are recognized on the Society website, where the cumulative donor listing can also be found.
Each member was asked to consider a donation to the Scholars Foundation. Members were instructed to make donations online by credit card via the Members Only Area on the Society's website.
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.
Report of the Program Committee
Dr. Michael P. Vezeridis, 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 Task Force on Diversity and Inclusivity
Dr. Anne C. Larkin, Chair of the Task Force on Diversity and Inclusivity, provided a report summarizing the task force's upcoming plans and activities.
Report of the Archives Committee
Dr. James Hebert, Chair of the Archives Committee, provided a report summarizing the committee's activities and future initiatives.
Report of the Representatives
Dr. Longo referred to the reports contained in the Online 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. Longo called upon Dr. Bruce J. Leavitt, to present the Report of the Nominating Committee.
Dr. Leavitt noted that the Committee consisted of himself, together with Drs. Richard J. Barth and Robert J. Touloukian. The Committee submitted the slate in the following order:
||Kari Rosenkranz, MD
||Peter J. Mazzaglia, MD
||Thomas J. Miner, MD
||Edward C. Borrazzo, MD
||James Whiting, MD
Introduction of New President-Elect
Dr. James Whiting was then congratulated on his election. Dr. Whiting thanked the Society and remarked how he was looking forward to leading the organization.
Introduction of Incoming President
Dr. Longo called upon Dr. Larkin to assume the Presidency of the Society. On behalf of the Society, Dr. Larkin expressed appreciation to Dr. Longo for his years of leadership work in the NESS and his invaluable service as President, especially in a difficult year.
Dr. Longo expressed his gratitude for the privilege of serving the NESS and thanked the Executive Committee and the Membership.
Dr. Larkin took a few moments to discuss the 2021 Annual Meeting in Foxwoods, CT and encouraged all to attend.