As we approach the upcoming holiday season, I’d like to take this moment to reflect on the amazing initiatives our society is working on and share my gratitude for the passionate and engaging leadership who strive to make sure the AAS remains the premier academic society for young surgeons.
Over the summer, the Executive Council met during its annual leadership retreat and reviewed and updated our three-year strategic plan. After a deep analysis and fine-tuning, the Executive Council reviewed the plan at our fall meeting and now the work of implementing the plan has begun. It was comforting to know that the mission statement we developed five years ago still remains relevant, “Inspiring and developing young academic surgeons.” We did, however, slightly change our core values and committed to the following:
We felt that these values truly represent what the AAS is while supporting the mission statement. We developed goals, objectives and strategic initiatives that were aligned with these values and assigned various leaders to take the lead on specific areas and to be accountable for making sure they are accomplished within a reasonable timeframe. This is going to require a considerable amount of work over the next 2-3 years.
In addition to thoroughly reviewing our governance, including processes and transparency, our plan addresses key elements that will work to help expand career development opportunities for our membership, augment our mentoring program, explore increased ways to connect us all, enhance our annual meeting and fall courses, and identify disparities and help promote diversity. One of the initiatives I am most excited about is the creation of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. Dr. Callisia Clarke has agreed to chair the task force, and they are already formulating ideas on increasing diversity in all areas of our society. We seek to have balance in all corners of our organization from the Executive Council to committee membership to session moderators and course speakers.
None of our strategic initiatives would be sustainable without a strong and well balanced financial plan, and the finance committee is tasked with ensuring the financial stability and growth of our society. They will look at current and potential revenue streams and create a business plan that will support our activities and provide safeguards for the future.
I believe this strategic plan will provide a well-structured roadmap for the next few years and once again, in this season of thanks, I would like to thank everyone who contributed for their valuable input. I continue to be honored to serve as the AAS President and please let us know what more the AAS can do to support its members. I hope everyone enjoys the holiday season, and I look forward to seeing you all in Orlando in February at the ASC!
Karl Bilimoria, MD
President, Association for Academic Surgery