One of my favorite questions I get asked by current and potential members in the AAS is “How can I get involved in this society?”
I love this question.
I love it especially because in the past ten years that I have been working with the AAS, nine of which as its Executive Director, I have seen freshly new faculty members grow, network and become president of a national society, with over 3000 members, all before the age of 45.
AAS has a great pathway and ladder to the “top,” which is unique to other national surgical societies, and I’m honored to present some advice on how to get there.
- No, not every council member is from one of the “Big” Institutions
Yes, some of the greatest leaders of this society practice at University of Michigan, Northwestern, and Wisconsin, to name a few, but the institutional diversity spans much farther than the Big 10. Check out the governance page on the AAS web site to see the wide range of demographics. And, if you are still concerned your institution is not well represented, then apply to be an Institutional Representative and actively recruit and retain your colleagues! To apply, click HERE.
- Democracy is the norm at the AAS
How many surgical societies are you a member of where there is not only an election for officer positions, but for class council positions and committees? The AAS has integrated a comprehensive, fair and equal self nomination and election process. It involves several email notifications, an opportunity to demonstrate your interest and service to the society, and an appropriate amount of time to cast a vote. There are no back room deals or best friend appointments and each year the process is evaluated and streamlined so that it works to serve our members in the most effective way.
- More than one or two ways to get involved
Running for a councilor position or committee member, with an opportunity to be a chair, are two clear ways to get involved and serve on Council. Yes, the councilor self-nomination process is currently open for the classes of 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015, and in the fall, we will open committee elections. However, there are other relevant and extremely important ways you can make your mark in the AAS.
- Enjoy writing and have something on your mind? Write a blog post. Posts do not have to be long and span a variety of topics. Submit a post to [email protected].
- Have a keen eye for editing? Submit a self nomination for the publications committee. This process will open by the end of the year and is responsible for reviewing articles for our journal, the Journal of Surgical Research (JSR).
- Know how to spot the best research and are you an expert on presentations? Submit a self nomination for the program committee. This committee is intimately involved in the program during the Academic Surgical Congress (ASC) and it scores the over 1000 abstracts that are submitted to the meeting. Self nominations will also be accepted later this year. Better yet, make sure to submit your best work to the ASC through the abstract process. The abstract season is almost upon us and the AAS has numerous awards that are given, including the Best Overall Abstract, which includes a paid trip to the Surgical Research Society of Australasia (SRS) meeting, held in the fall of each year in either Australia or New Zealand!
- Are you social media savvy? The AAS has a very active Twitter team, with impressions in the millions during this last ASC. Make sure to follow @AcademicSurgery and tweet about the 2017 ASC when the program is finalized.
- Do you regularly attend your sub specialty society’s annual meeting? If so, spread the word about the AAS, Fall Courses and ASC. A recent survey was conducted among another well known surgical society and 29% of respondents stated that they attend meetings when they see their colleague, friend or mentor is attending. Make sure to include a slide about the AAS during Grand Rounds, take some membership brochures with you to annual meetings, or just talk about the AAS during a cocktail reception. Your opinion really does make a difference!
- AAS has the best resources (people)
One of our most incredibly popular programs is our mentorship program, where you can have direct contact and interaction with leaders in your field. A mentee is paired with a mentor with a similar research or specialty interest. We are always looking for both mentors and mentees and please email [email protected] if you are interested.
- You don’t have to be a faculty member to serve in leadership
Did you know that there are at least two spots on every committee solely reserved for candidate members? Gone are the days when those still in their training have to wait to make a difference in a surgical society. The AAS values input from those we know will be the future leaders!
I hope some of this information is helpful to you, especially if you have felt a little lost on how to get involved. If you want to be a part of society leadership, start now. There is no reason to wait. For more information on how to be more involved in the AAS or any other suggestions you have about the process and society, please feel free to contact me directly at [email protected].
Thank you for your membership in the AAS!