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Summary of the 2021 Annual Business Meeting
The 2021 Annual Business Meeting was held on Sunday, September 26, 2021.
Report of the Secretary
Dr. Larkin referred the Membership to Dr. Thomas Miner’s formal report as part of the online Annual Meeting Program Book and the mobile app.
Dr. Miner 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:
The Secretary 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.
- 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. Miner reported that the Executive Committee of the Society met on January 12th and on May 11th, and again on Friday, September 24th. The following are action and informational items from these meetings:
Report of the Recorder
- Agreed to hold the 2021 Surgical Resident and Fellow Research Presentation Day virtually, after it was cancelled outright the previous year.
- Approved the Task Force on Diversity & Inclusivity’s plan to add demographic questions to the profile page of the NESS website’s Members Only Area, so that the Society can define its diversity baseline then chart how it improves each year. All members will receive a reminder to complete these questions following the adjournment of the 2021 Annual Meeting. It should be noted that the Task Force has also formulated: its Mission Statement; a Statement of Expectations for participants in the New England Surgical Society; and a Diversity and Inclusion Statement to reiterate the commitment of the Society to DEI goals. Additionally, the Task Force will be appointing separate ombudspeople to the Program and Publications Committees; a call for self-nominations will be issued in the coming months.
- Launched the NESS Surgeons Well-Being Project, the aim of which is to improve professional well-being for surgeons at all stages of their lives and careers. While preliminary data was presented yesterday, the NESS still needs all members’ input. If you have not already participated, please log into the NESS Members Only Area and click the survey link.
- Appointed a Financial Task Force to develop strategies that will help the NESS avoid annual deficits—including examining ways to improve the Society’s relationship with industry that will garner more industry support and sustain exhibitor loyalty.
- Having previously agreed to publish 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 as well as beginning a transition to a meeting app—decided to reduce touch-points at the 2021 meeting and immediately adopt a mobile meeting app in lieu of any printed program book.
- Endorsed the New Members Committee’s plans for an annual, virtual New Member Orientation for both Active and Candidate recently elected members; the successful and well-attended inaugural June event presented information on: the benefits of NESS membership; the expectations of NESS participation; the importance of participating in the State Caucus meetings; the process of submitting an abstract to the Annual Meeting; the maximizing of participation at the Annual Meeting; the initiation of membership applications; the virtues of participation in Research Day; the promotion of NESS Candidate membership; and the identification of leadership NESS opportunities. This Committee also collected personal profiles of the new members elected this year, which are available in the mobile meeting app.
- Allowed the Committee on Graduate Medical Education and Candidate Membership to change the Candidate membership application process, replacing the previous requirement for a recommendation letter with a standardized, electronic recommendation that can be completed more easily by a Program Director and that provides more targeted information for the Committee. In addition, this Committee will track the career progression of Candidate members and promoting Active and/or Affiliate membership to those who become eligible.
- Noting that the 2020 virtual caucuses saw increased member attendance and engagement, voted to conduct the 2021 State Caucuses virtually, prior to the Annual Meeting; the time usually reserved for on-site Caucuses became state-specific pre-receptions before the full Welcome Reception. Moreover, given the efficiency of this year’s virtual caucuses, agreed to continue the practice of conducting the State Caucuses virtually.
- Clarified that the Paper of the Year recognized at the Annual Meeting represents the most impactful paper published five years prior to the meeting with an actively participating NESS member as the first or last author—and, further, that each such author must have been an actively participating member at the time of publication and still be an actively participating member at the time of the Paper of the Year presentation.
- And, finally, endorsed the plans of Dr. Jennifer LaFemina, the new Newsletter Editor, to add features highlighting Candidate members, non-university-based members, DEI issues, and more.
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 the 2020 Annual Meeting:
Carmine J. Capalbo, MD, Greenville RI
J. Richard Chabot, MD, Enfield, CT
George N. Cooper, Jr. MD, Warwick, RI
Richard R. Dyer, MD, Warwick, RI
Josef E. Fischer, MD, Boston, MA
Donald J. Glotzer, MD, Boston, MA
Stephen J. Healey, MD, Westwood, MA
John B. Herrmann, MD, Worcester, MA
Horace A. Laffaye, MD, Durango, CO
Ashby C. Moncure, MD, Savannah, GA*
William C. Nugent MD, Meriden, NH
Louis N. Pernokas, MD, Stephenville, TX
Melvin H. Sher, MD, Framingham, MA
Thomas J. Smith, MD, Morristown, NJ
Earle W. Wilkins, MD, Williamstown, MA*
David R. Williams, MD, Yarmouthport, MA
* Past President
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, 2020. The year 2020 ended with Total Net Assets of $381,229, which is $21,249 more than year-end 2019. Total year-end 2020 Receipts were $118,656. These consisted of: $86,730 in Dues & Assessments; $31,450 in receipts for the virtual 2020 Annual Meeting; and $476 in General and Administrative receipts—which for 2020 included job board revenue in addition to non-investment-portfolio interest income. The major Receipts variances were as follows:
Total year-end Disbursements of $115,859 consisted of: $90,578 in total General and Administrative expenses; $1,911 in total Publications expenses; $1,366 in expenses toward the NESS Research Day; $21,533 in Meetings and Education disbursements, which included expenses not just for the virtual 2020 meeting but for other years’ meetings as well; and $471 in Officers and Committees expenses. The major Disbursement variances were again related to the pandemic:
- Dues payments were below budget, impacted by the pandemic;
- The 2020 Research Day was cancelled, and thus no support was received for that event; and
- 2020 Annual Meeting receipts were below budget—the meeting was conducted virtually, with registration fees reduced and decreased industry support.
It was noted that the virtual 2020 Annual Meeting realized a surplus of $9,987.
- 2020 Research Day was cancelled, but not before some management work had already been performed;
- The virtual 2020 Annual Meeting was far less expensive than a live meeting with its social functions, on-site audio-visual staff and equipment, travel costs, etc.; and
- Committee expenses were well under budget due to the cancellation of live activities.
Report of the Audit Committee
Dr. Larkin called upon Drs. Mitchell Norotsky and Erika L. Rangel who had served on the Audit Committee. They reported that the Audit Committee met with staff on September 22nd and affirmed that the Fiscal Year 2020 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 2020 receipts and disbursements. Total year-end 2020 assets were $253,199, and included $6,023 in the Checking and Money Market Accounts, $245,195 in the investment portfolio, and $1,982 in men’s logo neckwear. The Reconciliation portion indicates beginning cash of $233,925, with a year-end Centennial Fund balance of $2,422 and an operating surplus of $16,852, resulting in the total assets of $253,199.
Total year-end Receipts were $42,424, which consisted of: $24,365 in contributions, including $200 in donations to the Centennial Fund; $3,100 in initiation fees; and $14,959 in investment gains, including $1,223 in investment manager fees. The second column represents activities of these line items as of prior year-end 2019, with the third column indicating the 2020 budget.
Total year-end Disbursements were $25,573, which consisted of: $2,500 in Annual Meeting Awards, including expenses for the Podium, Brief Report, and Poster Presentation Prizes; $20,000 for two Scholars Research Grants; and $3,073 in General & Administrative costs. Disbursement were under budget, largely attributable to the cancellation of both the 2020 Research Day and the 2020 Health Policy and Management Program at Brandeis University.
Excluding investment gains, Receipts less Disbursements resulted in a net operating surplus of $1,892. Adding in the portfolio gains of $14,959 resulted in the year-end surplus of $16,852.
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 2019-2021 Scholars Research Grant Recipient was Dr. Srinivas J. Ivatury of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Due to pandemic-related delays, his project received a no-cost extension. Dr. Robert Allen presented a progress report on behalf of the project team, which includes NESS member Dr. Matthew Wilson as mentor.
The recipient of the eighth Scholars Grant, given this summer to Dr. David Stitelman, of Yale School of Medicine, for the project titled, “In Utero Particle-Based Therapy to Improve Outcomes in Pregnancy.”
Dr. McAneny further mentioned that the Foundation supports:
Dr. McAneny reminded each member that their 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.
- 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. Due to the pandemic, this year the program was held virtually, and the scholarship was awarded to Dr. Kevin Schuster of Yale School of Medicine.
- The Spring Resident and Fellow Research Presentation Day, the 2021 edition of which was held virtually on May 5th.
- The Annual Samuel Jason Mixter Lecture;
- The Nathan Smith Award; and
- The Podium, Brief Report, and Best Poster Prizes as well as the New Member Award at the Annual Meeting.
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. Peter S. Yoo, 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 New Members Committee
Dr. Marlene Cutitar, Chair of the New Members Committee was then called to the podium to deliver the Report of the New Members Committee which highlighted the first annual new member orientation that was held virtually over the summer for all new members.
Report of the Task Force on Diversity and Inclusivity
Drs. Alisa Savetamal and Jacqueline Wu, Co-chairs of the Task Force on Diversity and Inclusivity, provided a report summarizing the task force’s upcoming plans and activities.
Report of the Representatives
Dr. Larkin 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. Larkin called upon Dr. Robert J. Touloukian, to present the Report of the Nominating Committee.
Dr. Touloukian noted that the Committee consisted of himself, together with Drs. Richard J. Barth and Walter E. Longo. The Committee submitted the slate in the following order:
|Recorder||Kari Rosenkranz, MD
|Treasurer||Peter S. Yoo, MD
|Secretary||Thomas J. Miner, MD
|Vice President||Rocco Orlando, III, MD
|President-Elect||Giles F. Whalen, MD
Introduction of New President-Elect
Dr. Giles F. Whalen was then congratulated on his election. Dr. Whalen thanked the Society and remarked how he was looking forward to leading the organization.
Introduction of Incoming President
Dr. Larkin called Dr. Whiting to the podium to assume the Presidency of the Society. On behalf of the Society, Dr. Whiting expressed appreciation to Dr. Larkin for her years of leadership work in the NESS and her invaluable service as President, especially in a difficult year.
Dr. Larkin expressed her gratitude for the privilege of serving the NESS and thanked the Executive Committee and the Membership.
Dr. Whiting took a few moments to discuss the 2022 Annual Meeting in Boston, MA and encouraged all to attend.