As my year as president comes to a close, I thought it might be helpful to summarize a few of the changes and initiatives we have implemented. It is just over one year since we transitioned to self-management, and a lot has been accomplished to set us on a course of efficient, effective and sustainable self-governance:
- We have implemented a systematic approach to task completion and leadership roles, so the wheel will not be reinvented with each new president.
- Instead of frequent emails with bits and pieces of information coming at unpredictable times, our staff provides us with a weekly ASCRS digest with curated and selected updates for the membership.
- I was especially pleased with the creation of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force under the leadership of Drs. Erin King-Mullins and Wayne Tuckson that has now become a standing committee of ASCRS. With their help and guidance, we have made a number of meaningful changes in how all of our members can participate, lead and have their voices heard. For the first time this year, we will be reaching out to underserved communities as a routine to try and improve access to screening and high quality care for colorectal cancer. Every time ASCRS visits a city for our Annual Meeting, we will routinely partner with local communities to make this a standard initiative.
- Our Mentoring Task Force has successfully completed a pilot aimed at our early career members under the guidance of Dr. Ann Lowry's steady hand, and these opportunities will be greatly expanded in the year ahead.
- Drs. Alessandro Fichera, Mike McGee and Lisa Cannon have successfully launched a video-based mentorship series, aimed at creating a community of mutually respectful learners who share and discuss tricks of the trade through review of operative videos. Over 300 ASCRS members registered for the last session focused on high IMA/IMV ligation.
- Dr. Najjia Mahmoud is leading efforts to revamp our educational platform, which we anticipate will be a “one-stop-shop” for all ASCRS educational assets.
- Dr. Larissa Temple has been designing and planning a society-wide quality collaborative, so we can all work together to define best practices and allow us all to benchmark our outcomes in a supportive and constructive manner.
There are so many other "irons in the fire" and I sincerely apologize that space constraints only allow me to highlight a few of them. We have so many incredibly talented members with great ideas, and a major focus of my year has been to make ASCRS a bit more “bottoms up” (pun sort of intended) and provide an opportunity for more folks to participate and lead. I don’t like to brag, but this has really allowed me to do what I do best…..take credit for other people’s work!
On a more serious note, I think it is critically important that we all register for and participate in this year's virtual Annual Scientific Meeting
. Of course, we ALL look forward to seeing each other, but a virtual component to our meeting is here to stay and we will be especially interested in your opinion on what worked and what did not. I think you all will be amazed by what can be accomplished virtually and blown away by the incredible program that Program Chair Konstantin Umanskiy and Co-chairs Emily Huang, Radhika Smith and Emily Steinhagen have put together for us. There’s never been a more important time for all of us individually and for our specialty to make the extra effort to connect with each other.
Lastly, I wanted to thank David Westman and our incredible staff for their hard work and help throughout the year. I am grateful to the Executive Council, our Committee Chairs, hard working committee members and the entire membership for their support, advice and partnership throughout this crazy year. I cannot emphasize enough how lucky we are to have Dr. Tom Read in the on-deck circle as the next president. He has been a strong and steadfast "consigliere" for me this past year and is clearly a leader of the highest intellect, integrity and vision.