Patricia L. Roberts

2016 to 2017

Members and guests, friends, and family:

It has been a great honor to have been your president in the last year and I thank you for the privilege of being able to address you today. I have been a member of this organization for almost 30 years and I can think of no other surgical society with the expertise, collegiality and camaraderie of this special group.

As I started my surgical journey upon graduation from Boston University Medical School in 1981, I never would have thought that 36 years later I would be standing here giving this address. You see, most of us don’t start off with an interest in colon and rectal surgery; I did not, and as you heard, my initial interests were in orthopedics. But, life takes interesting twists. Convinced that I would pursue a career in orthopedic oncology, I applied for an orthopedic residency program. I was rejected from my first and second choices and told, “I was a bit young” and was encouraged to re-apply when I had more “surgical seasoning.” I clearly needed to look elsewhere. Fortunately, before I developed that “seasoning,” I had the opportunity to spend six months at the Lahey Clinic on the colorectal service in 1984-- where they were doing a new operation for ulcerative colitis-- the ileoanal pouch procedure. This early experience solidified my interest in colon and rectal surgery (much to the chagrin of my mother who to this day regrets that I am not a plastic surgeon) and the rest is history.

My address today will be in two parts-- the joys of a surgical career and the state of our society with a focus on the last year.