I am delighted to inform you that we had a wonderful annual meeting in Providence at the end of April. There was live CME programming presented during the 3-day meeting and an additional 6 hours of virtual educational content available to all who registered. Even though the meeting included a virtual component, it was fantastic to see everyone who was able to be there in-person. I have already extended my appreciation to everyone who joined us for the meeting in Providence, but I wish to also acknowledge their participation today. The contributions of those who helped to plan this conference, provided a lecture or registered for the meeting, is what makes ICS special.
Paid registration of in-person participants for the scientific meeting was slightly higher than last year, meaning we are heading in the right direction. Of course we are still not back to pre-COVID levels. While paid virtual participation was lower this year, there were well over 300 participants from around the world who registered for virtual access to the educational program. This group of medical students, residents and early career surgeons were primarily members of InciSioN, a large NGO that focuses on supporting and connecting new entrants to the medical field. Providing access to our annual meeting for these potential future ICS members is an excellent way for us to not only spread the word about our group, but more importantly to also achieve our primary mission of education. InciSioN has already made an impact as our pilot project partner for social media expansion. Growth in this area has been phenomenal in the very short period of time since InciSioN began helping ICSUS to improve our Twitter activity as well as establish an Instagram account.
All registrants were provided with access to a live stream of the daily lectures as well as access to additional lectures from speakers who pre-recorded their presentations in advance of the meeting for several sessions. Our entire conference is now part of our growing virtual library.
The virtual library of presentations that were included in the 83rd Annual Surgical Update in Providence can now be accessed by everyone receiving this email. Simply visit the meeting website at www.icsevent.com, then select the tab Enter Virtual at the top of the page. Enter your e-mail and the following password (case sensitive) TEXAS2023. Once you are logged in, click the yellow Replays of Live Conference link. This will take you to all the live presentations. I encourage you to check it out and see what you missed. If you still wish to register and obtain CME credit for the entire program, you may do so until the end of May (all requests for CME through submission of evaluation forms must be submitted by June 1st regardless of when you register). Click HERE to register.
While in-person participation of guests from abroad was not at the usual level, we were honored by the presence of ICS World Immediate Past President, Prof. Giorgios Tsoulfas from Greece. Prof. Tsoulfas was a wonderful addition to our educational program contributing two excellent lectures. We were also joined by Prof. Karel Novak from the Czech Republic. Prof. Novak is also a member of the ICS World Executive Council and now also a great friend of the United States Section. His lecture was very well received and we hope to strengthen our relationship with his section in the years to come.
The CME session that kicked off our conference began on Thursday afternoon and was focused on Global Surgery. This “Opening Session” featured not only our international guests, but a wide variety of presentations covering a number of topics focused on humanitarian activities. Included during the session were presentations that touched on sustainability, capacity building, residency program involvement, challenges and some success stories as well. A significant portion of this session was developed by ICSUS Past President, Demetrius Litwin and I wish to extend my thanks to him for his ongoing contributions to the section.
Another session specifically focused on an aspect of our meeting theme was held on Saturday and entitled, Rural Surgery: A Global View. The majority of this session was developed by a very new member of ICS and I wish to acknowledge Dr. Melissa Johnson for her assistance. I hope she will remain engaged in our group and increase her participation in leadership activities.
Of course there were several other sessions presented throughout the program, including sessions presented by our colleagues from the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons. In fact, this year we included a session entitled, Advances in Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgery, that did not run concurrently to ICSUS sessions. In-person participants had the opportunity to experience presentations by top people in the fields of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgery in a joint session of our two groups, allowing for an inter-disciplinary exchange that had not occurred in more than 5 years. Our two groups have now been affiliated for almost 20 years and our mutual respect for each other is what keeps us together. The members of the Academy and their leaders, many of which are also ICS Fellows, are greatly appreciated for their ongoing support and participation in our Annual Surgical Update. I look forward to seeing you all again next year.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also note several special lectures that were presented during our gathering.
First, back to Thursday as part of the Opening Session, our 2020 recipient of an Honorary Fellowship, Prof. Michel Gagner from Canada presented, Magnetic Surgery: Is It Ready for Prime Time? He was to originally give this lecture in 2020, but that meeting was cancelled due to COVID. Unfortunately, Prof. Gagner had a positive COVID test the day before he planned to travel to Providence and as such he needed to present virtually. His fascinating lecture was a great way to kick off our meeting, no matter how it was given. We hope he is doing well and thank him for his contributions to not only our meeting, but also to surgery.
Following Prof. Gagner was a special lecture presented by this year’s recipient of the Dr. Andre Crotti Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession of Surgery, Prof. Matthew Cooper. Prof. Cooper is the President of UNOS and his lecture was entitled, The Global Evolution of Kidney Paired Donation for Patients with ESRD. Dr. Cooper enjoyed his time with us in Providence so much that he has already applied to become a full active member of ICS. I certainly hope to see him again next year. Thanks so much for your wonderful oration.
On Friday, during the Honors Luncheon, Dr. Arno Roscher provided a video for all to enjoy entitled, Expanding the Limits of Human Endurance. During this video Dr. Roscher highlighted some fascinating bits of history regarding the exploration of space and how much was learned that is now used routinely in modern medicine. Unfortunately, Dr. Roscher, who celebrated his 94th birthday just days before he planned to travel to Providence, was instructed by his doctor to not travel by air and as such he could not join us. This marks the first year in decades that Dr. Roscher has not attended a US Section meeting. He was certainly missed and I wish to extend my thanks to him for his years of support of the College. I sincerely hope he will be able to join us next year.
Of course, the lectures alone do not give you a complete picture of what participation in our annual meeting is all about. The opportunity to interact with all those who are present is quite unique. It doesn’t matter who you are you will be able to speak to US Section leaders, a Past ICS World President or even the President of UNOS. ICSUS meetings are intimate and collegial. This was demonstrated throughout the week during social events and casual moments that allowed everyone present time to enjoy the camaraderie that we have all come to expect at our meetings.
In closing, I wish to thank everyone who made the Annual Surgical Update in Providence a special event. From the members of the Planning Committee and the Speakers to the Officers, our professional staff and the attendees. It was great to see everyone and I look forward to seeing you all again next year in San Antonio, Texas where I’m sure Dr. Dixon Santana will also have a great annual meeting.
Mark N. Perlmutter, MD, FICS
President, United States Section
International College of Surgeons