Message from the 2019 President - Annual Meeting Recap

Dear ICS Colleague,

Earlier this month, the United States Section held its 81st Annual Surgical Update at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania where we were extremely pleased to have a top-notch scientific program for our annual gathering in a spectacular venue. The designated theme of the meeting was “The Art and Science of Surgery: Repair, Rejuvenate, Renew” featuring many sessions that included content focused on the latest updates related to cutting edge surgical procedures in a variety of specialties such as Transplantation, Urology, Surgical Oncology and Trauma Surgery. 

The sessions were well attended and based on a preliminary review of the submitted evaluation forms as well as individual discussions with attendees, everyone rated the educational program very positively. During the meeting we were privileged to have several very distinguished guests who gave extremely interesting and informative presentations. To review the final program, please visit  and peruse the app that was created for meeting attendees. Following is a short review of who contributed to our meeting to make it special and what you missed if you were unable to join us at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.

On Thursday, May 2nd, we started the day with business meetings that included important discussions by the CME Committee, the Executive Committee, the Board of Regents and Membership Committee, the Executive Council and of course the House of Delegates where Dr. Thav Thambi-Pillai was elected President Elect for the term beginning January 1, 2020. Other business included ongoing discussions about our property and how best to utilize this asset, as well as the US Section’s relationship with our ICS World Body Leadership. Many positive actions were taken to hopefully advance and improve the US Section both financially as well as programmatically.

During the Opening Session, which followed the business meetings, a special symposium was presented entitled, “Surgical Consortia - A Practical Resource Building Strategy?” However; before this, three special lectures were presented. First one of our brightest young members, Dr. Joshua Mammen from the University of Kansas presented, “Update from the American Board of Surgery” and told us about upcoming changes to MOC requirements and the new Continuous Certification Program.

Following Dr. Mammen, Professor Lloyd Ratner from Columbia University presented, “24 Years of Laparoscopic Donor Nephrectomy: A Pivotal Advance in Transplantation,” as the recipient of the Dr. Andre Crotti Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession of Surgery.  After his presentation, Dr. Ratner was also awarded Honorary Fellowship in the International College of Surgeons. A quick review of his biography (posted on FICS Online) demonstrates exactly why he received the Crotti Award as well as an Honorary Fellowship.

The Crotti Lecture was followed by the annual Dr. Arno A. Roscher Endowed Lecture, which was presented by Dr. Ara Tilkian. His presentation entitled, “How to Slow, Stop or Reverse the Aging Process” certainly fit well into our meeting theme. Dr. Roscher never disappoints with his speaker selections and he has already secured his orator for next year. We know that the 2020 presentation will be even better and the US Section extends its sincere appreciation to Dr. Roscher for his generous initial as well as ongoing donations to support and expand this important named lecture.

During the Global Surgery Symposium which followed, a special presentation by Dr. Mark Perlmutter, a member of the ICSUS Executive Committee, told us about the launch of the SOTA Registry. Supported by a grant from the G4 Alliance, the US Section has developed an open source registry of human and material resources to efficiently coordinate medical support for low/middle income countries. Dr. Perlmutter informed members of the audience that the registry is now on-line and encouraged everyone to visit the website and sign up ( FICS Online and scroll down on the home page to the SOTA Registry link).

On Friday we were honored to have the ICS World President, Prof. Giorgios Tsoulfas from Greece, participate in the HPB & Oncologic Surgery session.  We were honored that he was able to join us in Pennsylvania and provide a most enlightening presentation entitled, “The Role of 3D Printing in Hepatic Surgery.” Also included in that session was Dr. Joji Sekine from Nagasaki, Japan who captured our imaginations with his presentation entitled, “A New Conception of Oral Potentially Malignant Disorders (PMDs) and Surgical Management of PMDs.”

Following the HPB session was “Advances in Transplantation Surgery,” which is certainly of significant interest to me as a Transplant Surgeon. My colleague from Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, Dr. Irene Kim, developed this program that not only included our Honorary Fellow, Prof. Ratner, but also top transplant specialists from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Baylor University and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. My personal thanks are extended to not only Prof. Ratner and Dr. Kim, but also Drs. Abhinav Humar, Gregory J. McKenna, Amit Tevar and Kenneth D. Chavin for their significant contributions to our scientific program.

Because of the unique nature of our host venue for the meeting I wanted to provide attendees an opportunity to have some time off during daylight hours to experience Nemacolin. As such, we ceased CME programming at noon on Friday for 4 hours so participants could enjoy the resort without feeling like they missed any CME opportunities. This worked out well as many enjoyed activities like zip lines, golf, the Spa and the Nemacolin Shooting Academy where a group of more than 20 participants tested their shooting skills. When the free-time ended the CME sessions resumed with 2 sessions focused on the future.  The Emerging Surgeons Forum and our Annual Research Scholarship competition provided the opportunity for a number of Residents and Medical Students to share their research and training experiences with the audience. During the Research Scholarship Competition participants 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 winner was identified. It is my pleasure to congratulate Dr. Amanda Fazzalari from Connecticut who won the Grand Prize for her paper entitled, “Treatment of Appendicitis: Do Medicaid and Non-Medicaid Enrolled Patients Receive the Same Care?”  Visit FICS Online to see all the winners’ abstracts presented at the meeting.

Saturday afternoon also included a superb Trauma and Acute Care Surgery Forum as well as our Annual Ethics Forum. This year’s forum included Dr. Vinita Singh from Emory, who presented, “Current State of Acute and Chronic Pain Management: Identifying the Non-Opioid Alternatives!”.  Our own Dr. Frank Bongiorno presented, “Opium and Opioid History: Moving Beyond Opioids.” These two presentations stimulated quite an exchange during a panel discussion where the audience was thoroughly engaged for the final session of the meeting. Special thanks are extended to Dr. Bongiorno for developing a stimulating session. If you wish to review Dr. Singh’s PowerPoint presentation to see what you missed, Visit FICS Online and hover over the CME navigation link at the top of the home page.

The remaining sessions of the meeting were of course also very educational and included programming produced with the support and cooperation of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons. Special thanks are extended to the Academy’s Chair of the Board, Dr. Mark Perlmutter, for his leadership as well as the Academy’s Scientific Organizing Committee who assisted with the development of these excellent sessions. Visit the Academy website at to read about their sessions and speakers, including their keynote lecturer, Dr. Greg Laurence, who provided extremely interesting overview of the use of stem cells to treat a variety of conditions. 

Of course the entire meeting was not just about CME. On Saturday, the Honors Luncheon recognized New Fellows and acknowledged several other individuals. Included was the installation of my successor, Dr. Demetrius Litwin, who will officially take over on January 1, 2020 as the US Section’s next President. Demetrius has already started working on his meeting which promises to be exceptional. Keep an eye on your inbox for more information in the coming weeks about the 82nd Annual Surgical Update at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island. We wrapped things up on Saturday night with a banquet that featured a little bit of fun with a trivia contest that challenged participants’ knowledge of not only general information, but also our own professional organizations. Does anyone know when the US Section of ICS was incorporated? 1947! The evening was closed out when our pianist, Lee Alverson, transformed into Elton John and delighted everyone with a marvelous tribute show.

Visit our Facebook page to see pictures taken during the meeting and be sure to check back in the coming weeks for more posts as they become available. If you have any photos you wish to share, please contact Maggie Kearney in Chicago.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to all those who made this meeting a success – the members of the planning committee, the speakers, my colleagues, our families, the US Section staff from Chicago, and my wife Julia. I especially wish to thank all the speakers for their dynamic contributions and their fellowship. The presentations and active participation by these colleagues made this a truly amazing meeting for us all.

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 is important to our success. Your efforts can and do make a difference!

Andrew Klein, MD, MBA, FICS
President, United States Section
International College of Surgeons






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