Inspiring and developing
young academic surgeons

Committee and Task Force Projects/Updates

Education Committee
Bethany Sacks, MD
Wei Zhou, MD

The Education Committee focused most of its efforts last year on the 22nd annual AAS Fundamentals of Surgical Research Course. In conjunction with the Career Development course, there was record attendance and we received excellent feedback from the attendees. We look forward to an even better course this year in Chicago, to be held immediately prior to the American College of Surgeons meeting on Friday, September 28th. This coming year, the AAS Education Committee will work with the SUS Committee on Surgical Education in planning the Education Session for the February 2013 Academic Surgical Congress to be held in New Orleans. We are looking forward to what promises to be an informative panel on “Integrated Programs”, which will include the perspectives from Vascular, Plastic and Cardiac Surgery, as well as the ACGME and ABS. We welcome any suggestions from the membership.

Indian Course Task Force
Sanjay Krishnaswami, MD

The AAS Indian Course Task Force is excited to hold the first AAS Fundamentals of Research and Academic Career Development Course at the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Medical Institute (SGPMI) in Lucknow, India this upcoming November. In conjunction with the Global Health Advocate Program (a registered non-profit in the state of Oregon), SGPGI will assist in sponsorship of United States AAS members as speakers. Additionally, there will be Indian scientists and surgeons participating in the conduct of this course. Pending final results of a current needs assessment survey, a draft course outline below.

The Association for Academic Surgery Tentative Course schedule Fundamentals of Research and Career Development Course, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Medical Institute Lucknow, India 2012

Day 1  

7:30 - 8:00 AM
8:00 - 8:30 AM
8:30 - 8:50 AM
8:50 - 9:20 AM
9:20 - 9:40 AM
9:40 - 10:10 AM
10:10 - 10:30 AM
10:30 - 11:00 AM
11:00 - 12:30 PM
12:30 - 1:15 PM
1:15 - 1:35 PM
1:35 - 2:15 PM
2:15 - 2:35 PM
2:35 - 2:55 PM
2:55 - 3:15AM
3:15 - 3:30 PM
3:30 - 5:00 PM

Registration/Continental Breakfast
Welcome and Introduction
Reading the Literature & Developing a Hypothesis
Clinical Study Designs
Informed Consent and Ethics
Statistics I
Panel Discussion
Research Presentations I
Abstract Writing
Statistics II
Submitting and Revising Your Manuscript
Giving Effective Research Presentations
Panel Discussion
Basic Science Research/Health Services Research Breakout session
Day 2  

7:30 - 8:00 AM
8:00 - 8:20 AM
8:20 - 8:50 AM
8:50 - 9:10 AM
9:10 - 9:30 AM
9:30 - 9:50 AM
9:50 - 10:10 AM
10:10 - 10:30 AM
10:30 - 10:45 AM
10:45 – 12:30 AM
12:30 - 1:15 PM
1:15 – 1:35 PM
1:35 - 2:15 PM
2:15 – 2:35 PM
2:35 – 2:55 PM
2:55 – 3:15 PM
3:15 – 3:35 PM
3:45 – 4:15 PM

Continental Breakfast
Planning a Research Career
Education Research
Introduction to Clinical Trials
Survey Instruments
Effective Strategy for Getting Promoted
Choosing and Becoming a Mentor
Panel Discussion
Research Presentations II
Identifying Priority Areas for Funding
How to Develop and Evaluate a Fundable Idea
Fundamentals of a Grant Application
Fatal Flaws and How to Avoid Them
How to Write for Reviewers
Panel Discussion
Evaluation/Post Test

Information & Technology Committee
Allan Tsung, MD

The Information and Technology committee has recently revamped the content of the AAS website to ensure the most dynamic, up-to-date, and exciting info for our constituents, members, and anyone viewing the website. The AAS website has been updated with a fresh new look consistent with our branding campaign including the new logo, color scheme, and an enhanced interface which highlights more dynamic content. For example, our IT committee members continually interface with the various AAS Committees and Task forces to provide viewers with current descriptions of current and future projects that they may be interested in getting involved with.  Some of our upcoming projects include:

  • Academic Surgical Calendar
    The Academic Surgical Calendar is a searchable, sortable list of the major academic surgical societies along with info about each group, website URL, meeting dates/sites, and abstract submission deadlines. We hope this webpage will be a valuable educational resource and a “go to” page for academic surgeons, trainees, and students looking for information about surgical societies and upcoming meetings.

    We hope to soon add information about grants/grant agencies and deadlines, as well as information about the various surgical journals and their impact factor.

  • Social Networking
    The IT committee is dedicated to improving all facets of the AAS through use of technology.  We welcome feedback and suggestions from all AAS members in order to enhance our contributions to the AAS. 
AAS on Facebook          AAS on twitter

Issues Committee
Greg Kennedy,MD
Julie A. Margenthaler, MD

The recent Issues Committee Session, “Maintaining and Expanding Your Academic Surgical Career” was a huge success at the recent Academic Surgical Congress. The keynote speaker, Lily Marks, provided a framework for the financial structure and funds flow in academic medicine. Our panel was composed of surgeon-scientists with various areas of expertise (NIH-funded basic scientist, funded clinical scientist, educator), offering insight into how they achieved their current success.  The session recognized the many challenges of an academic surgical career and provided a framework for creating solutions that will increase each surgeon’s value within their respective departments.

One of the most interesting aspects of the session was the psentation of our recent survey of AAS and SUS members.  This survey was conducted to understand the current state of our membership with regards to clinical, research, teaching, mentoring, education, and administrative roles and responsibilities.  Some of the most intriguing data points include:

  1. Approximately 5% of those surveyed spent >80% of effort on research

  2. 33% of the research effort of those surveyed was not funded by any source
  3. Approximately 15% of those surveyed were either “somewhat dissatisfied” or “dissatisfied” with their current position
  4. Nearly 20% of those surveyed felt that their current workload was “not sustainable and overwhelming”

  5. Nearly 30% of those surveyed had considered leaving academic surgery within the past year
  6. Nearly 50% of those surveyed reported that they did NOT have a mentor currently

These data are currently being developed into a white paper for publication. Based on the responses from the survey, the AAS and SUS Issues Committees will be working together again this year to develop an Issues Session for the 2013 Academic Surgical Congress that will address these concerns. We look forward to planning a session that will not only educate but propose solutions for our membership!

Italian Course Task Force
Marcovalerio Melis, MD

The AAS Italian task force is planning to hold the first AAS Fundamentals of Research and Academic Career Development Course in Cernobbio, Italy this upcoming November. The AAS Course will be hosted during the National Health Research Conference (NHRC), sponsored by the Italian NIH. The NHRC will assist in sponsoring 6 United States AAS members as speakers. Besides the US AAS invited guests there will be Italian scientists and surgeons and final plans are being coordinated for this exciting first AAS course in Italy. For a draft of the agenda, please click here.

Leadership Committee
Daniel Anaya, MD
Jon Gould, MD

The Leadership Committee is currently engaged in planning the eighth annual Career Development course. This course is designed to share and convey knowledge and ideas pertinent to achieving a successful academic surgical career. Additionally, the course will provide participants with an opportunity to interact with colleagues, to inquire about careers in academic surgery, and overall to strengthen their affiliation with the AAS. We hope to build upon pvious successes and make this year’s CDC the best yet. The course this year will be held on Saturday September 29th prior to the Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons in Chicago. We are also actively engaged in planning this year’s AAS Meet the Leadership activity which will take place immediately following the Career Development course.

Membership Committee
September 2012

The AAS Membership Committee has been hard at work trying to improve the Society and broaden and expand our membership.

The AAS Membership roster stands at an all-time high of over 3500 academic surgeons, trainees, and medical students. We have already accepted over 200 new members in 2012 alone.  Over the past few years, we are particularly proud of our growth among candidate members (residents and fellows), with a doubling in these ranks since 2009. In the same time period, medical student membership has tripled. In times of constricting academic budgets, these numbers serve as a testament to the value provided by our organization to our members, particularly the most junior members who represent the future of academic surgery.

Over the summer and the fall, we are working tirelessly to revitalize the institutional representative (IR) program. IRs will serve as our ambassadors to each surgical department, residency and fellowship training program, and medical student clerkship. If you or anyone you know would like to become and IR for your institution, please contact me directly at

In addition, for the 2013 Academic Surgical Congress, we will be instituting a medical student mentorship program. This exciting initiative will pair medical students attending the ASC one-on-one with a senior academic surgeon to meet during the conference to discuss residency preparation, career choice, research, and work-life balance.

While the AAS serves as the foremost society for young academic surgeons, another strong constituency which the AAS is fortunate to claim is our senior members.  These are members who have exceeded 10 years in academic surgery. They form a vital link to our past and provide leadership, guidance, and mentorship for the next generation of academic surgeons and surgical leaders. We are harnessing the experience and power of this group by increasing the involvement of senior members at all levels in the Society. In particular, we will be creating a Senior Member Task Force to help engage them and help guide their role in the Society.

The Membership Committee is dedicated to improving all facets of the AAS through our strongest asset – our membership. We welcome feedback and suggestions from all AAS members in order to enhance our Society. Please contact me at

Outcomes Research Committee
Sandra Wong, MD

The Outcomes Research Committee is committed to promoting scientific interchange, providing networking opportunities, and developing future leaders in outcomes research. We are actively involved in planning the outcomes research symposium and new interactive sessions for the 8th Annual Academic Surgical Congress in New Orleans. The outcomes-focused interactive breakout sessions will target career development themes and highlight research in progress by leading researchers. In addition, members of the Committee will work closely with the AAS Recorder and Program Committee to review outcomes research abstract submissions for the ASC. We expect a record number of high quality abstracts for this year’s meeting! The Committee also continues to work closely with the Surgical Outcomes Club on bimonthly virtual didactic sessions to expand knowledge in our field. These webinars are open to all AAS members and provides a unique platform for sharing ideas on a year-round basis.

Program Committee
Julie Ann Sosa, MD
Peter R. Nelson, MD

The AAS Program Committee is committed to designing and implementing the best possible Academic Surgical Congress each year.  In collaboration with our sister SUS Committee, the scientific content, the flow and organization, and the specialty sessions are all carefully constructed to assemble the ultimate surgical science meeting of the year.  Committee members work tirelessly to review and rank ~1000 abstract submissions across at least 10 disciplines in just two weeks.  The best abstracts are then assigned to Plenary Sessions and the remaining spread across Specialty Sessions and Quick-shot Programs.  Special attention is directed toward abstracts submitted by medial students and new AAS members and specific programs are in place to showcase these important new presenters.  This is all done to create an unparalleled environment for scientific exchange, collaboration, mentorship, and friendship for academic surgeons across the country and internationally. 

We look forward to this coming year’s 2013 ASC at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans.  Login now to for more information, to make your meeting reservations, and most importantly, to submit your abstract by August 10, 2012 deadline.  See you there!

Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Course Task Force
Lillian S. Kao, MD, MS

Current Projects:

The 2012 Developing a Career in Academic Surgery (DACS) course in Malaysia was a great success. Sessions included starting and planning your research career, presenting your work to progress your career, early academic careers, career pathway development, grant writing, and planning a sustainable career. There were 132 registrants (up from 119 in 2011) with outstanding feedback on the evaluation forms (median 4 or higher, out of 5, on all questions). Faculty included the Younger Fellows Leadership Exchange Visitor (Allan Tsung), Lillian Kao (co-chair DCAS course), Melina Kibbe (president), Tim Pawlik (treasurer), Greg Kennedy, Daniel Anaya, and Malcolm Brock funded by the Academic section. Drs. Pawlik and Brock were invited additionally on behalf of the RACS Upper GI and HPB section along with Dr. Diane Simeone (AAS senior member and SUS past president). Dr. Scott Lemaire was invited by the RACS Cardiothoracic Section. All together, the faculty participated in 48 different activities/presentations.

Future Projects:

Planning is underway for the 2013 DCAS which will be in Auckland, New Zealand. After initially stepping down, Dr. Andrew Hill has agreed to stay on as the DCAS co-chair from the Australasian side. Julie Ann Sosa (AAS DCAS co-chair) and Tim Pawlik (treasurer) have already committed to attending. The task force co-chairs discussed the importance of having at least one executive leadership member attend several years in a row as relationships continue to be formed and strengthened. Suggestions for changes include: (1) having a 3-year rotating program so as not to repeat talks every year and (2) identifying potential opportunities for AAS attendees to collaborate with and/or telementor trainees (with a co-mentor from Australasia). Julie Ann will become the AAS DACS chair for the 2014 DCAS.

West African Course Task Force
Peter Ekeh, MD
Jonathan Laryea, MD

The West African Course Task Force has been active over the last 5 years in organizing and conducting the AAS Fundamentals of Research and Career Development course in West Africa. The most recent iteration of the course occurred in Monrovia, Liberia in February 2012 during the annual West African College of Surgeons meeting. The courses have typically been held in conjunction with various other activities including laparoscopic teaching courses, medical student mentoring activities an surgical outreach. Currently we are working towards possibly holding another course in March 2013 in Lome, Togo. More details on this will emerge over the next few months.

A collaboration between the AAS and the West African College of Surgeons has led to the creation of an annual exchange program which will facilitate one Fellow from the West African College to attend the Academic Surgical Congress and reciprocally, a member of the AAS to attend the West African College meeting - with the expenses being covered by the respective organizations. Specific details on this program will also follow over the next few months Please direct any questions to the co-chairs of the West African Task Force - Jonathan Laryea or Peter Ekeh.

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