It has been an honor and a privilege serving as AAS President, and I will be sad to see the year come to an end. However, the forward momentum, the initiatives, and the growth of the society are exciting to watch, and I cannot wait to see the directions the society takes in the next several years!
In the time I have been an AAS member, I have seen positive changes including but not limited to the diversification of research being presented at the annual meeting, the explosion of academic global surgery research and international outreach, the expansion of AAS initiatives to support the development of academic surgeons across the spectrum from medical student to junior faculty member, and the incorporation of social media to better disseminate information and to broaden the reach of our society.
This blog is only one of the new developments in the AAS this past year. Other initiatives that reflect the hard work of committee and task force members, councilors, representatives, and AAS members include:
- Expansion of membership and inclusivity: The AAS will be putting forth a motion at the next business meeting to expand membership opportunities to non-MD candidates who are engaged in surgical research. In addition, the AAS will be reaching out to other surgical societies to encourage subspecialty surgeons to join and present their research at our meetings.
- Development of resources for aspiring academic surgeons: The AAS has published a series of books on Success in Academic Surgery including editions on Basic Science, Clinical Trials, and Developing a Career in Surgical Education. A Health Services Research edition is in press, and Academic Global Surgery and Leadership in Surgery editions are in preparation. These books are intended to supplement the AAS Fall Courses. Future planned resources include tools to assist with academic promotion and job negotiation for surgeons.
- Expansion of award opportunities: AAS and the Society of University Surgeons (SUS) are now offering additional awards at the Academic Surgical Congress (ASC) for the best abstracts in 10 categories as well as 5 awards for international visitors from low income countries who have limited means to travel to the meeting.
- Innovation in communication: The AAS is working to not only expand its use of social media but also to use technology to allow access to international (and national) members who are unable to attend meetings due to financial and other constraints, to increase the pool of mentors for those at institutions with limited resources, to accelerate the sharing of ideas and to promote collaboration, and to adapt to the way that young learners seek and gain knowledge.
In addition, the AAS has continued to work to support trainees and junior faculty in their pursuit of academic surgical careers in terms of awards through the AAS Foundation (3 resident, 1 faculty, and multiple student awards), courses (Fall Courses and grant-writing course with the SUS), mentoring (Fall Courses and student mentorship programs), and networking (meet the leadership session). These endeavors have been highly successful, largely due to the immense work of the leadership and members involved, but the challenge remains in ensuring that the content of our courses, the delivery format, and the message remain relevant and useful in today’s changing healthcare landscape.
Thank you again for the privilege and honor of serving as your president. See you all in San Diego!