President’s Message from Nathaniel J. Soper, M.D.
Greetings and best wishes for the season! SSAT leadership continues to work on tactics supporting our recent strategic update.
Nathaniel J. Soper, MD
The three primary initiatives are as follows:
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
Nathaniel J. Soper, MD