News Items

ASCRS Announces New American Medical Association House of Delegates Representatives

The Healthcare Economics Committee and ASCRS Leadership are happy to announce the appointment of new AMA House of Delegates (HOD) representatives for the upcoming 3 year cycle.
Dr. Juan "Lucas" Poggio will serve as incoming Delegate and Drs. Paul Johnson and Sachin Vaid will serve as Alternate Delegates joining Dr. Anne Mongiu in her role as a current Delegate. The ASCRS had traditionally had one Delegate and Alternate Delegate spot at the AMA HOD but has been afforded an additional Delegate and Alternate spot starting this year. 
We would like to express our sincere thanks to Dr. Ron Gagliano and Dr. Harry Papaconstantinou for their many years of service to the ASCRS as AMA HOD delegates. We appreciate their dedication, representation, and willingness to pass on their valuable knowledge to our incoming delegates. 
Members of the AMA House of Delegates (HOD) serve as an important communications, policy and membership link between the AMA and grassroots physicians. The delegates and alternate delegates are a key source of information on activities, programs and policies of the AMA. The delegates and alternate delegates are also a direct contact for the individual member to communicate with and contribute to the formulation of AMA policy positions, the identification of situations that might be addressed through policy implementation efforts and the implementation of AMA policies. Members of ASCRS AMA HOD delegation automatically become members of the ASCRS Healthcare Economics Committee.

ASCRS Joins More Than 75 Health Care Organizations in Joint Statement in Opposition to Legislative Interference

On behalf of the Executive Council, The American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons supports the joint statement by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA) in response to the recent Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The statement can be found below.
In arriving at the decision to endorse the statement, the ASCRS Executive Council discussed and carefully considered the broad implications of the Supreme Court decision on our fellow society members and patients. As Council members, we reflected on the diversity of our membership, practices, and the regions of the country where our members live and work. We are unified by the overriding principles that the integrity of the physician-patient relationship must be protected, that the freedom to safely practice and access evidence-based medicine is a fundamental right, and that each of us must have the right to make autonomous reproductive health decisions.
We welcome open dialogue and value tolerance and inclusivity as our society and the nation navigates these challenging times.
Respectfully,  The ASCRS Executive Council

The following is a statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association, joined by the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine; American Academy of Family Physicians; American Academy of Nursing; American Academy of Pediatrics; American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; American Association of Public Health Physicians; American Board of Anesthesiology; American Board of Internal Medicine; American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation; American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics; American Board of Medical Specialties; American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology; American Board of Plastic Surgery; American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology; American Board of Surgery; American College of Correctional Physicians; American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics; American College of Nurse-Midwives; American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists; American College of Physicians; American College of Preventive Medicine; American Epilepsy Society; American Geriatrics Society; American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society; American Medical Student Association; American Medical Women's Association; American Muslim Health Professionals; American Psychiatric Association; American Public Health Association; American Society for Clinical Pathology; American Society for Reproductive Medicine; American Society of Addiction Medicine; American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons; American Society of Hematology; American Thoracic Society; American Urogynecologic Society; Association for Clinical Oncology; Association of American Indian Physicians; Association of American Medical Colleges; Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics; Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Inc.; Council of Medical Specialty Societies; Council of University Chairs of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Endocrine Society; GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality; Infectious Diseases Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology; International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health; March for Moms; Massachusetts Medical Society; Medical Students for Choice; National Abortion Federation; National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health; National Birth Equity Collaborative; National Hispanic Medical Association; National Medical Association; New York Academy of Medicine; North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology; North American Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics & Gynecology; Physicians for Reproductive Health; Ryan Residency Training Program in Abortion and Family Planning; Society for Academic Specialists in General Obstetrics and Gynecology; Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine; Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine; Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology; Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility; Society for Reproductive Investigation; Society of Family Planning; Society of General Internal Medicine; Society of Gynecologic Oncology; Society of Gynecologic Surgeons; Society of Hospital Medicine; Society of OB/GYN Hospitalists; Student Osteopathic Medical Association; and Womxn's Health Collaborative:

“As the U.S. health care system enters a post-Roe era, we, representing dozens of major organizations of health care professionals, oppose all legislative interference in the patient–clinician relationship. Our patients need to be able to access—and our clinicians need to be able to provide—the evidence-based care that is right for them, including abortion, without arbitrary limitations, without threats, and without harm.

“The wave of abortion bans going into effect in states across the country will harm patients, impair the
integrity of the medical profession, and have a devastating and unquantifiable impact on the patients and clinicians it affects. People in at least half the states will now face a cruel choice between traveling hundreds of miles to receive abortion care (which is simply impossible for those who lack the resources, means, and opportunity) or being forced to continue with a pregnancy that may threaten their health, well-being, and future.

“Clinicians who practice in good faith in these states will be subject to a similarly untenable decision: risk criminal prosecution or other civil sanctions by providing appropriate, evidence-based care in accordance with their patients’ needs and wishes or withhold safe and effective reproductive health care from patients in need.

“Banning abortion care is a decision not founded in science or based on evidence. In all facets of medicine, clinicians train for years—some for decades—to learn how to provide the best evidence-based care possible to their patients. Patients form trusting relationships with their health care professionals, but when health care professionals are prevented from providing the full spectrum of care by threat of legal action, the quality and scope of care they can provide is limited, endangering both patient care and the patient–clinician relationship. Just as patients should not be forced to leave their communities to access abortion care, clinicians should not be forced to uproot their lives and leave their homes in order to practice in safe, supportive environments. Restricting access to care and eroding the trust between patients and health care professionals will worsen existing gaps in health disparities and outcomes, compounding the harm that underresourced communities already experience.

“Abortion care is safe and essential reproductive health care. Keeping the patient–clinician relationship safe and private is essential not only to quality individualized care but also to the fabric of our communities and the integrity of our health care infrastructure. As leading medical and health care organizations dedicated to patient care and public health, we condemn this and all interference in the patient–clinician relationship.”

Study published June 5, 2022, in the New England Journal of Medicine: PD-1 Blockade in Mismatch Repair-Deficient, Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer

The ASCRS Rectal Cancer Committee (RCC) wants to ensure that ASCRS members are aware of the small but exciting study published June 5, 2022, in the New England Journal of Medicine: PD-1 Blockade in Mismatch Repair-Deficient, Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer.(ref)  Cerek and colleagues from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center report on 12 patients with mismatch-repair-deficient clinical stage II or III rectal cancer treated with the PD-1 inhibitor dostarlimab.  Treatment was every 3 weeks for 6 months, and 100% of patients had a clinical complete response.  These patients are in a “watch and wait” protocol, and none have required chemoradiation or surgery at a median follow-up of 12 months.  It is important to note that only 5-10% of rectal cancers are mismatch-repair deficient.  Furthermore, careful “watch and wait” monitoring (in centers with established protocols for, and experience with, nonoperative management) is essential, given the uncertainty about the durability of these responses. 
Cercek A, Lumish M, Sinopoli J, Weiss J, Shia J, Lamendola-Essel M, El Dika IH, Segal N, Shcherba M, Sugarman R, Stadler Z, Yaeger R, Smith JJ, Rousseau B, Argiles G, Patel M, Desai A, Saltz LB, Widmar M, Iyer K, Zhang J, Gianino N, Crane C, Romesser PB, Pappou EP, Paty P, Garcia-Aguilar J, Gonen M, Gollub M, Weiser MR, Schalper KA, Diaz LA Jr. PD-1 Blockade in Mismatch Repair-Deficient, Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer. N Engl J Med. 2022 Jun 5. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2201445. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35660797.

Statement from ASCRS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and Executive Committee of ASCRS strongly condemn violence. The racist deadly attack targeting Black Americans on Saturday, May 14 in Buffalo, NY, in addition to the other mass shootings and events in California and elsewhere over the course of the weekend, continue to spark significant concern. We extend our sincerest condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of the victims whose lives were mercilessly taken, as we do to those taken in previous similar attacks. We seek to uplift the Buffalo community and explore how we may take part in the healing of members of the colorectal society. We recognize that other groups have also been attacked and would like to remind members that this is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month. We understand that anxiety and fear are at an all-time high for many marginalized groups in this country, and we stand in solidarity with all who have ever been made to feel as other. Any member of the society can contribute by reaching out to anyone they know who may be affected by this senseless tragedy, or by reaching out to Dr King-Mullins ([email protected]) with any further comments or concerns. 
A link to the various gofundme options to directly support Buffalo victims can be found here:

With hope for a better future,

Erin King-Mullins, MD – Chair, DEI committee
Jonathan Laryea, MD - Vice Chair, DEI Committee
Conor P Delaney , MD PhD, President

ASCRS Hosts First Pathway Program for Students During the 2022 Annual Scientific Meeting

The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) hosted on May 1, 2022 an immersive one-day pathway program for 25 Tampa-area high school, college and medical students interested in the specialty of colon and rectal surgery during the society's 2022 Annual Scientific Meeting in Tampa, Florida.

The ASCRS Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) Committee led this pathway program for students. Industry partners Ethicon, Intuitive and Medtronic also participated in the program by providing materials such as hands-on surgical robotics and suturing stations and presentations covering technology within the specialty. Other program support includes the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, BEST Academy, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Moffitt Cancer Center, and Tour 4 Diversity.

The program kicked off with a welcome breakfast for students and their parents, while also giving them the chance to participate in a Healthy Eating and Colon Cancer presentation. Students and parents were encouraged to take a walk through an inflatable colon donated by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance that displayed descriptive banners next to disease replicas, intended to spark conversation and increase awareness of colon health. Additionally, parents were able to meet with Moffitt to explore colon cancer screening options and community programs and services available to them if financial assistance is needed.

The DEI Committee's mission is to help our colorectal society provide diverse and equitable care to patients and create a diverse colorectal workforce. "Underserved populations tend to fare better when they have healthcare providers they can relate to," states Erin King-Mullins, MD, FACS, FASCRS, Chair of the ASCRS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. "We want to help close the gap in healthcare disparities and inequalities by exposing young minds to how awesome and relatable the field of colorectal surgery can be," states King-Mullins.

ASCRS will host its next DEI pathway program in Seattle, Washington, at the ASCRS 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting.
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