Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract
SSAT Year-End Newsletter

President’s Message from Nathaniel J. Soper, M.D.
Nathaniel J. Soper, MD, SSAT President
Nathaniel J. Soper, MD
SSAT President

Greetings and best wishes for the season! SSAT leadership continues to work on tactics supporting our recent strategic update. The three primary initiatives are as follows:

  1. Develop a comprehensive curriculum for training in advanced gastrointestinal surgery. Although initially organized by an SSAT task force, this effort has been broadened into an inter-societal committee with members from SSAT, SAGES, AHBPA, ASMBS, ASCRS, ABS, Fellowship Council, and RRC. The co-chairs of this committee are Matt Hutter and Aurora Pryor. Considerable thought has been put into this initiative and a white paper outlining the underlying concepts will be published shortly in JOGS.

  2. Plan and run an inaugural stand-alone winter meeting geared toward the practicing GI surgeon. This first course was organized along the lines of our accustomed 3-track subject material, with foregut/bariatric, HPB and colorectal sessions. This meeting was held Dec. 2-3 in Miami, FL with attendees from Europe, the Middle East, Central America, and the U.S. Initial feedback from the participants was very enthusiastic, and the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to move forward with plans for a second winter meeting in 2017.

  3. Enhancing the global impact of the SSAT and increasing international involvement and membership in our society. The International Program session at last year’s SSAT meeting was well received and will be repeated at the upcoming meeting. We have entered into preliminary discussions with the Japanese Society of GI Surgery, the Indian Association of GI Surgery, and FELAC, the umbrella organization of surgical societies of Latin America, and have had modest success with attracting new members.
We welcome self-nominations for committee membership to get more SSAT members involved in the work of the organization. The standing committees can be found at ssat.com, where you may also donate to the SSAT Foundation. A new unrestricted research and education fund has been set up to honor Dr. Frank G. Moody, one of the giants of GI surgery and past-president of the SSAT, who passed away last fall.

This is also the time of year that we begin planning the upcoming SSAT meeting in earnest. The 58th annual meeting will be held in conjunction with Digestive Disease Week May 6-9, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois. We have received nearly 400 abstract submissions and are currently scoring them to make decisions on which will be presented to the society in oral, poster, video format. This year’s Cameron orator will be Dr. Dorry Segev from Johns Hopkins University. We encourage all active SSAT members to take a few days off from the routine of work and join us for what is sure to be an interesting meeting with great social interactions and networking opportunities—the perfect antidote to burnout! I look forward to seeing you in Chicago!

Respectfully yours,

Nathaniel J. Soper, MD
President, SSAT


SSAT 58h Annual Meeting at Digestive Disease Week 2017

The SSAT Annual Meeting is held in conjunction with Digestive Disease Week (DDW). DDW is the world’s largest gathering of physicians and researchers in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. The SSAT Annual Meeting will take place in Chicago, IL from May 6-9, 2017.

SSAT member registration and housing for the 2017 Annual Meeting opens at the DDW Website, www.ddw.org, on January 11, 2017. Register before the Early Bird deadline of March 22, 2017, and registration is only 170 USD (and complimentary for Candidate and Medical Student SSAT members); after March 22nd, registration fees will increase by an additional 80 USD.

Tickets will also be available for SSAT Hands-On Sessions, and SSAT Breakfasts with the Experts and Meet-the Professor Luncheons, including the two-part SSAT Writers Workshop. Visit www.ddw.org after January 11, 2017, to learn more about these exciting programs!


Frank G. Moody Memorial Fund for Research and Education in Digestive Surgery

The Board of Trustees of the SSAT Foundation is pleased to announce the establishment of the Frank G. Moody Memorial Fund for Research and Education in Digestive Surgery. The purpose of the unrestricted Moody Memorial Fund is to further his lifelong passion in developing the next generation of GI surgeons, by helping the SSAT achieve its ongoing mission of research and education through the advancement of the science and practice of surgery in the treatment of digestive disease.

Frank G. Moody, MD, was a giant in the field of digestive surgery. Dr. Moody helped establish GI surgery as a recognized specialty and was a vocal advocate throughout his long career. Born in Franklin, New Hampshire, in 1928, Dr. Moody attended Dartmouth College, Dartmouth Medical School, and Cornell Medical School. He did his surgical residency under Frank Glenn at Cornell, then went to University of California, San Francisco for three years as an instructor in biliary surgery with Dr. Bert Dunphy. He served as the Chief of Digestive Surgery at the University of Alabama before chairing the departments of surgery at the University of Utah from 1971-82 and the University of Texas at Houston from 1983-94. He was involved in cutting-edge research, mentored many surgical trainees who went on to leadership positions, and served as President of the SSAT from 1981-1982. He attended surgical meetings until the time of his death and is honored by the yearly Frank and Maja Moody State-of-the-Art Lectureship at the SSAT Annual Meeting. Click here to view the Memorial published in the November 2016 issue of Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery (JOGS).

The Foundation Board is asking the Society membership to consider a generous donation to the Frank G. Moody Memorial Fund for Research and Education in Digestive Surgery at this time. The Foundation welcomes secure online donations via credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express), as well as gifts of checks and securities. You may donate online by credit card via the Members Only Area or you donate by credit card via secure fax or by check by downloading the Contribution Form.


SSAT Award, Fellowship, and Scholarship Deadlines

Complete award, fellowship, and scholarship details including criteria, application instructions, and required supporting materials are available on the SSAT website at www.ssat.com/awards.

SSAT Traveling Fellowship for Surgeons in Developing Nations
The SSAT established this Fellowship to provide an opportunity to promote interaction among surgeons working in developing countries and members of the SSAT as well as to provide learning opportunities that surgeons in developing countries might not have otherwise. Two surgeons working in developing countries will each be awarded a Traveling Fellowship so s/he can attend DDW and also visit one or two institutions in the United States or Canada, hosted by an SSAT member over a two-week period.
Deadline: January 6, 2017

2017 Andrew L. Warshaw Master Educator Award
The SSAT Foundation established the Warshaw Master Educator Award in 2011 to recognize an outstanding surgical educator and mentor. The award will be presented annually to a member of the SSAT who exemplifies excellence as a mentor, teacher, and educator. Nominations are encouraged from the SSAT membership; Past Presidents, previous Founders Medal Recipients, and current members of the SSAT Executive Committee are not eligible for this recognition.
Deadline: January 13, 2017

2017 Layton F. Rikkers Master Clinician Award
The SSAT Foundation established the Rikkers Master Clinician Award in 2013 to recognize an outstanding clinical surgeon. The award will be presented annually to a member of the SSAT who exemplifies excellence in clinical surgery. Nominations are encouraged from the SSAT membership; Past Presidents, previous Founders Medal Recipients, and current members of the SSAT Executive Committee are not eligible for this recognition.
Deadline: January 13, 2017

SSAT Career Development Award
This award for young faculty members (50,000 USD per year for two years) assists in the establishment of investigators, basic or clinical, in digestive diseases.
Deadline: January 13, 2017

Karen and Josef E. Fischer International Traveling Fellowship for Surgeons in Academic Practice
The goal of this traveling fellowship is to promote interaction and learning among junior academic surgeons in the SSAT with surgical units overseas. One awardee each year will be funded to visit International GI Surgery units and an International Meeting. A stipend of up to 5,000 USD will be provided to the Traveling Fellow to defray reasonable costs for travel, lodging, and meals.
Deadline: January 27, 2017

ACS/SSAT Health Policy and Management Scholarship
The American College of Surgeons and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract are offering an annual scholarship to subsidize attendance and participation in the Executive Leadership Program in Health Policy and Management at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. The award is in the amount of 8,000 USD, to be used toward the cost of tuition, travel, housing, and subsistence during the period of the course.
Deadline: February 1, 2017

SSAT Career Development Award for Clinical/Outcomes/Education Research
This award for young investigators (20,000 USD per year for two years) assists in the establishment of investigators in clinical, outcomes, and/or educational research in digestive diseases.
Deadline: February 10, 2017

SSAT Writers Workshop Scholarship
The SSAT established the Writers Workshop Scholarships in 2014 to provide further education to SSAT Members on the writing and revising of journal manuscripts as well as the submission process. Preference will be given to residents and fellows as well as surgeons within their first five years of practice, but all SSAT members are encouraged to apply.
Deadline: February 17, 2017

SSAT and Research Foundation of the ASCRS Joint Research
This new award is designed to assist in the development of young faculty members of the SSAT and American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) who want to develop an active research program in colorectal diseases. Specifically, this is designed to support research that is focused on diseases of the lower intestinal tract, including but not limited to, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, or benign conditions of the lower GI tract. The goal of this project is to foster stronger fellowship between these two Societies through greater scientific collaboration and more comprehensive young faculty mentorship.
Deadline: February 17, 2017

SSAT Health Care Disparities Research Award
The SSAT established the Health Care Disparities Research Award in 2015 to assist in the development of young faculty members engaged in disparities research in digestive diseases. The SSAT award of 20,000 USD per year for two years is meant to support health disparities/diversity investigators within 10 years of faculty appointment. The supported research should be focused on health care disparities research. This includes, but is not limited to, investigating the effect on race/ethnicity, access to healthcare, socio-economic status, gender, age, disability, geographic location, or sexual orientation on health care outcomes and developing methodology to decrease these disparities.
Deadline: February 24, 2017

DDW Basic Science Travel Awards
These awards for young investigators who co-author basic science abstracts selected for presentation at DDW 2017 provide 1000 USD travel grants to defray the cost of attending Digestive Disease Week. Please note: These travel grants are administered by DDW and are open to co-authors of basic science abstracts submitted to and accepted by any of the four DDW societies.
Deadline: February 27, 2017

Carol and Tom R. DeMeester Traveling Fellowship for Surgeons within the U.S. or Canada
The goal of this traveling fellowship is to promote interaction and learning among SSAT members within the United States or Canada. The travelling fellow will visit a University-affiliated or academic practice of his/her choosing, within the United States or Canada, for a period of 6 to 10 days, under the sponsorship of a Society member at the hosting institution. A stipend of up to 3,500 USD will be provided to the Traveling Fellow, to defray reasonable costs for travel, lodging and meals.
Deadline: March 3, 2017

SSAT Mentored Research Award
The SSAT Foundation established this award in 2015 to support the second or third year of research being conducted by a resident or fellow in the research program of an SSAT member. Applications from individuals who have spent at least six months working as a full time research fellow will be judged based on quality of the research proposal, applicant, research environment, and preliminary accomplishments in the period to date in the lab. Up to two awards will be provided annually in the amount of 25,000 USD each to help defray support costs, such as salary, direct expense, etc. Research programs in clinical and translational research, outcome and health services research, and basic science investigation are eligible for consideration.
Deadline: March 10, 2017


JOGS Online CME Offerings

The following nine articles are currently available in the JOGS Online CME Program:

  1. “Current Status of Management of Malignant Disease: What Are The Options for Premalignant Lesions of the Esophagus and Stomach?”

  2. “Perforations of the Esophagus and Stomach: What Should I Do?”

  3. “Current Status of Management of Malignant Disease: Current Management of Gastric Cancer”

  4. “Current Status of Management of Malignant Disease: Current Management of Esophageal Cancer”

  5. “Fecal Incontinence: Etiology, Diagnosis and Management”

  6. “Clostridium Difficile Infection From A Surgical Perspective”

  7. "What is the Learning Curve for Laparoscopic Major Hepatectomy?"

  8. "Current Evidence in Image-Guided Liver Surgery"

  9. "Development of Minimally Invasive Pancreatic Surgery: An Evidence-Based Systematic Review of Laparoscopic Versus Robotic Approaches"
Log into the SSAT Members Only area to learn more.

In accordance with ACCME standards, the JOGS Online CME Program provides a minimum of four (4) questions for each article. A score of 75% is required to receive CME credit with self-assessment (1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ per completed article).


New Enduring Material Online CME Offerings

The SSAT now offers CME credits through the following online enduring materials, which are meant to educate participants on minimally invasive techniques of gastrointestinal surgery:

  1. Minimally Invasive Approaches to Pancreatic and Hepatobiliary Surgeries

  2. Minimally Invasive Colorectal Surgery
The SSAT designates these enduring material activities for a maximum of 5.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits, of which 5.25 credits meet the requirement for self-assessment. The Enduring Materials Online CME Program is a benefit for SSAT Members who are in good standing.

Log into the SSAT Members Only area to learn more.


SSAT Program Committee Report
The 2016 SSAT meeting was a great success. This was the second year of implementing the "track" system of the program into foregut, HPB and colorectal tracks. This was our second year of the hands-on course and the first in which we had three tracks. The hands-on course were well attended. This was the first year of our international program, including a session on surgical training in other countries. We also started a diversity symposium, which was well attended. We coupled the Resident and Fellows Research Conference with the 3rd Annual Surgical Fellowship Fair and that was a success. Next year's program is well underway and we anticipate increased abstract submissions and an excellent meeting.

Thoughts from the Research Committee
We are honored to represent the SSAT and its mission to promote GI surgery research. Over the last year our committee has taken on several new initiatives. We have worked very closely with the Research Foundation of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgery to support a joint award. Through this collaboration we have doubled the amount of money we will give to an investigator for research into diseases of the lower GI tract. We are very excited for this new grant; apply for the SSAT and Research Foundation of the ASCRS Joint Research Award by February 17, 2017. In addition, we have worked very closely with Dr. Orlando Kirton, the immediate Past President of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons (SBAS), to develop the SSAT/SBAS Resident/Fellow Research Award, to be given to a resident member of the SBAS in support of research to be done in the laboratory of a member of the SSAT. The inaugural requests for proposals for both of these awards went out this year, and we are looking forward to awarding them to outstanding applicants. It is an honor to work for the SSAT and we look forward to the next round of research proposals.

Diversity and Inclusion Liaison Committee Report

The Diversity and Inclusion Liaison Committee is a new committee for the SSAT and the entire membership should be proud that the Society seeks to expand inclusion on multiple levels. The charge of the committee is expansive with a broad mandate to expand a diverse membership now and in future generations of surgeons, increase the input of diverse members through leadership positions, and advocate for diverse patient populations requiring treatment and surgery for gastrointestinal diseases. The membership has already participated in the initial aspects of the process by responding to the membership survey. This is an exciting committee for Society members looking to make a difference, and the open nomination process allows for interested members to join.

The current initiative is to develop a strategic plan for the Society to achieve the goals outlined in the White Paper on Diversity published in JOGS. The major themes of the strategic plan include development of diverse leadership, inclusive membership, cultural competency training, and patient advocacy. All of these areas will take time to develop, but input from the membership on these areas is strongly encouraged, and direct input can be given to any committee member or the committee chair, Matthew Walsh, MD. Soon members will be highlighted on the Society website to showcase our diverse membership with varied interests that currently reside in our great organization.


Try the free iOS and Android App for the SSAT’s official journal, the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery (JOGS)
JOGS app features:
  • View the most recent articles right when they are posted (including Online First™ articles);
  • Use the advanced search and refine your searches by entering keywords and author/editor names, and choosing from a list of subjects and copyright years;
  • Create personalized saved searches and be notified when new articles publish in your areas of interest; and
  • Share articles with your colleagues, collaborators, and students!
Download the new JOGS app for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) and Android (phones and tablets) for free! Click here for more information on the JOGS App.

Member Upgrade

Attention SSAT Members: Have you become Board Certified? Have you just retired from medical practice?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes then it is time for you to upgrade your SSAT Membership!

Candidate status is limited to residents who are currently in a surgical training program within the United States or Canada or be a post-residency trainee in a GI Fellowship. Candidate members must upgrade to Active membership upon being certified by a board that is a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, or by an equivalent body.

Dues-Exempt Senior status is granted to Active members upon completion of surgical practice, retirement, and/or disability.

To upgrade your SSAT Membership email membership@ssat.com with your membership upgrade request.


Sponsor a new SSAT Member Today

The SSAT was founded in 1960 to bring together the best and brightest gastrointestinal surgeons from around the world. Drawing from the leading medical schools and hospitals in the United States and abroad, the SSAT membership is composed of many of today’s leading practitioners, teachers, and young surgeons. Help make the SSAT a stronger society by sponsoring a new or potential SSAT Member.

There are two easy ways to sponsor a new member:

  1. Log into the SSAT Members Only area and initiate an application for a new member by completing the "Sponsor a New Membership Candidate" section. You will automatically be selected as the candidate’s sponsor, and will be notified to upload your letter of support once the candidate completes and submits his/her online membership application.

  2. Encourage your colleagues, residents, and students to join the SSAT by starting the application process themselves at join.ssat.com/.
With your help the SSAT can continue to grow and thrive as the leading society for GI surgery!


Support the SSAT Foundation

The SSAT Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract. The Foundation was established in 2000 to help the Society achieve its ongoing mission to advance the science and practice of surgery in the treatment of digestive disease. Research and education remain the cornerstone of fulfilling that mission, and the Foundation seeks to support the SSAT’s current initiatives including: the Career Development Award for young faculty members; the Residents and Fellows Research Conference held at the time of Digestive Disease Week; the Doris and John L. Cameron Guest Oration; the Maja and Frank Moody State-of-the-Art Lecture; the Kelly and Carlos Pellegrini SSAT/SAGES Joint Symposium; the Carol and Tom R. DeMeester Traveling Fellowship for Surgeons within the U.S. or Canada; the Karen and Josef E. Fischer International Traveling Fellowship Award for Surgeons in Academic Practice; the Andrew L. Warshaw Master Educator Award; the Layton F. Rikkers Master Clinician Award; and the Mentored Research Awards. Visit www.ssat.com to donate by check or—for members only—via credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express) through the Members Only area of the SSAT Website.

To learn more about the SSAT Foundation visit www.ssat.com/foundation.




Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract Office
500 Cummings Center, Suite 4400
Beverly, MA 01915
Tel. (978) 927-8330 | Fax: (978) 524-0498
www.ssat.com