Message from the Incoming President

Dear Colleagues,
I am honored and privileged to serve ASCRS as your president this year. First and foremost, I want to thank Dr. Tracy Hull for her strong, selfless and principled leadership over the past year. OMG, what a year it has been! As president-elect, I had the opportunity literally on a daily basis to witness and marvel at her boundless energy, unparalleled commitment and exclusive focus on what was in the best interests of ASCRS and its members. In the midst of our transition to self-management (in and of itself an epic task), the COVID crisis hit. Tracy kept the trains running, kept the transition moving forward and worked tirelessly to assure that our members had the information and guidance they needed through the use of webinars and concise educational materials. There was no grandstanding and no empty speeches about “unprecedented times;” just a laser focus on the care of our patients and safety of our colleagues. Vintage Tracy Hull-no nonsense, let’s get it done!
And then after all of this, dealing with the disappointment of having the Annual Meeting cancelled, seeing initiatives that were meticulously planned out over months go out the window and having to work on repurposing content, she helped us grieve the loss of our immediate past president David Margolin. Tracy made sure we honored his memory the right way. Most recently, she led an inclusive process culminating in an unflinching statement expressing our steadfast commitment to racial justice. On behalf of her Executive Council, the Executive Committee, Committee members and leadership team, we salute you and could never even begin to properly acknowledge your leadership.
The good news is that her key initiatives and programmatic goals that sometimes needed to be put on the back burner, will certainly not go to waste. Many aspects of her 2020 Annual Meeting have already been incorporated into the 2021 meeting and will be shared. Key strategic priorities such as the mentoring program, leadership training and technology upgrades will be pursued with vigor. Now that we have our own management team in place under David Westman’s experienced leadership, we will strive to create a sustainable organizational structure that best takes advantage of the considerable expertise of our very capable and committed staff.
I hope to augment these efforts with a few initiatives of my own, focusing on my desire to continue to make ASCRS more of a “bottom up” organization; one that strives to understand and meet the specific needs of its members and helps enable/operationalize ideas that come from our membership. For example:
  1. Enabling members to access and participate in a broad menu of educational opportunities that have traditionally been institution specific. These could include teaching conferences, multidisciplinary consensus conferences (eg tumor boards, pelvic floor case discussions) or webinars. The goal is to help ASCRS members become more interconnected as a community of lifelong learners.
  2. Creating opportunities for groups of members to work together to catalogue and define best practices. The goal is to support ASCRS members in relentlessly evaluating and improving their outcomes.
  3. Creating a streamlined bidirectional flow of information from committees/committee chairs to their Council reps and ASCRS leadership.
  4. Moving beyond words to initiatives that can impact healthcare disparities and promote a more diverse and inclusive society.
Anyway, more to come in the months ahead. I sincerely thank you for everything you do every day to care for your patients and communities. I hope to help make that a bit easier and even more rewarding.
Neil Hyman