Message from the 2017 President - Annual Meeting Recap

Sent via email 7/3/2017
Dear ICS Colleague,

Last month, the United States Section held its 79th Annual Surgical Update in Seattle, Washington where contrary to historical norms we experienced quite a bit of sunshine in this popular Pacific Northwest locale. The designated theme of the meeting was “Surgical Access for All” and many sessions included content that focused on this theme. 

All the scientific sessions were extremely well attended and based on a preliminary review of the submitted evaluation forms; the educational program was rated positively by attendees. During the meeting we were privileged to have several very special guests who made extremely interesting and informative presentations. Following is a short review of who contributed to our meeting to make it special and what you missed if you weren’t able to join us.

On Thursday, June 15th during the Opening Session, a special program was presented entitled, “Addressing Trauma Care in Low/Middle Income Countries (LMIC) Through Research & Outreach.” This session was developed by a rising star of our organization, Dr. Heena Santry from UMass. Dr. Santry along with several colleagues including the US Section’s Secretary, Dr. Demetrius Litwin (Chair of the Dept. of Surgery at UMass) presented information about several projects to LMICs that were sponsored by Academic institutions. Feedback from two Residents (Abraham Jaffe and Marissa Boeck) who participated in these projects was extremely enlightening. We learned that while the work that is being done in LMICs seems to be doing some good for the local population, there is much more that is required if things are expected to change in the future. 

Included in the Opening Session was a special unscheduled presentation by Dr. Mark Perlmutter, a member of the ICSUS Executive Council. Recently, Dr. Perlmutter submitted a grant proposal to the G4 Alliance to develop a single open source registry of available human and material resources to efficiently coordinate organizational efforts between high income countries and low/middle income countries. This grant proposal competed against several others and was submitted by Dr. Perlmutter on behalf of ICSUS in collaboration with a number of other G4 member organizations. The ICSUS is able to participate in the G4 Alliance by virtue of its National Section status within the International College of Surgeons, which is a founding member of the G4 Alliance. Included in Dr. Perlmutter’s presentation was the announcement that ICSUS has been awarded the $40,000 prize offered by the grant and will begin development of the database shortly. Congratulations to Dr. Perlmutter and all those who will be working on this important project. 

The final featured speaker of the day, Dr. Charles Mock from the University of Washington was unable to join us on Thursday afternoon due to an unexpected last-minute family emergency, but he was able to swing by on Saturday and present, “Strengthening the Prevention and Treatment of Injuries Globally.” Dr. Mock is well-known in the world of global surgery and his presentation conveyed quite clearly why the assistance from countries like the USA is imperative for those living in LMICs.

Friday and Saturday included several sessions that were focused on a variety of surgical specialties and included not only members of the US Section and local invited speakers from Seattle, but also several colleagues from around the world. On Friday we were honored to have Prof. Rajesh Shah from India present, “Robotic Surgery in India” as well as Prof. Munemasa Ryu from Japan present, “New Liver Anatomy Based on the Portal Segmentation and the Drainage Vein Reconstructed by CT Generated 3-D Image.” Then on Saturday morning Dr. Frank Schulze from Germany presented, “Surgical Access for All - The European Approach.” The participation and friendship of all three of these International College of Surgeons Fellows from abroad is greatly appreciated.

Backing up just a bit it is necessary to also acknowledge our benefactor, Dr. Arno Roscher from California, who once again identified an outstanding speaker for his Endowed Lecture. On Friday morning the annual Dr. Arno A. Roscher Endowed Lecture was presented by Daniel Rader, MD from the Perlman School of Medicine in Philadelphia. His presentation entitled, “Genomic Medicine: Its Time Has Arrived” was truly thought provoking and provided important information on a cutting edge topic that was a highlight of the meeting. Dr. Roscher has already secured his speaker for next year and we know that the presentation will once again be awesome. The US Section extends its sincere appreciation to Dr. Roscher for his generous donation to establish this important named lecture.

Also on Friday morning a Cardiothoracic Surgery Symposium was presented focusing primarily on robotic surgery. As part of the Symposium, Prof. Edward Verrier from UW presented, “Competent vs Expert: How We View Ourselves as Surgeons, How Others View Us.” His presentation sparked quite a lively discussion that continued beyond the end of the session and well into the lunch hour.

Friday afternoon included a wonderful Practice Management Workshop as well as our Annual Ethics Forum. This year’s forum discussed, Healthcare Disparities Close to Home, specifically identifying the Challenges to Healthcare Delivery in the Most Underserved Nation on Earth.... Within the United States. Invited panelists discussed the situation of the Navaho Nation in particular, but brought to light the situation of Native Americans right here in our own backyard. Special thanks are extended to Drs. Frank Bongiorno and Mark Perlmutter for developing a stimulating session that certainly requires additional consideration by all.

On Saturday, this year’s recipient of the Dr. Andre Crotti Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession of Surgery made a special lunchtime presentation entitled, “Global Surgery - Challenges, Disparities, Initiatives, and Prospects - an Interim Report from a Sub-Saharan Perspective.” The Crotti award was presented to Dr. John Tarpley from Vanderbilt University in Nashville who in addition to his extensive work training Residents during a long and productive career now lives almost exclusively in Africa providing care to the underserved. He traveled from Rawanda to be with us in Seattle and we greatly appreciate everything he has done as a surgeon as well as a human being.

Later on Saturday, following Dr. Tarpley’s lecture was our Annual Research Scholarship competition where four residents orally presented their research that was previously evaluated by the Scholarship Committee. After all scores were tabulated (for both written and oral presentation of the data) the winners were identified. It is my pleasure to congratulate Dr. Scott Moradian from Florida who won the Grand Prize for his paper entitled, “New Technique: Minced Edge Transposition Graft.” Also of note is the runner up from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Dr. Tessa Cartwright. Her presentation of “Esophageal Stents: a Single-Center Retrospective Review of Surgical Experience” was certainly deserving of the Honorable Mention award. Special thanks and congratulations are also extended to the other competitors for a job well-done.

The remainder of the meeting was of course also very educational and included sessions for Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons on Friday and Saturday morning. These sessions were produced with the support and cooperation of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons and the members of their Scientific Organizing Committee, most of which are also ICS Fellows. Special thanks are extended to the Academy’s Chair of the Board, Dr. Craig Clark, for his leadership as well as Drs. Maxime Coles and Lucia Zamorano the Academy’s Scientific Organizing Committee Co-Chairs who lead the development of these excellent sessions. Both are ICS Fellows and I appreciate their participation and hard work. Visit the Academy website at to read about their sessions, speakers and activities in Seattle, including their keynote by Dr. Richard Ellenbogen who presented, “The 10 Things You Need to Know About Concussion.” 

Of course the entire meeting was not just about CME. On Friday the Honors Luncheon recognized New Fellows and acknowledged several other individuals. Included was the installation of my successor, Dr. Francis Podbielski, who will officially take over on January 1, 2018 as the US Section’s next President. Frank has already started working on his meeting in Chicago and based on what he has told us thus far the meeting promises to be extraordinary. We wrapped things up on Saturday night with a banquet that featured a well-known local string quartet, “Sonic Strings” that helped us celebrate a successful conference with classical and pop melodies enjoyed by all. 

Visit our Facebook page to see pictures taken by various members of the College. If you have any photos you wish to share please contact Maggie Kearney in Chicago.

I wish to express my sincere thanks to all those who made this meeting a success – the members of the planning committee, the speakers, our families and of course the US Section staff from Chicago. I especially wish to thank all the local speakers for actively participating in our entire program. The presentations by these colleagues from the University of Washington made this a truly amazing meeting for all who were fortunate enough to be with us.

In closing, I encourage you to be as active in ICS as you can. We are all working to make our College better and every member’s input and assistance is important for us to be a success. Your efforts can make a difference!

Chand Ramaiah, MD, FICS

President, United States Section
International College of Surgeons






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