Message From the President, Michael F. Rotondo, MD
“Execute on the Vision”—these are the words I used at the annual business meeting in Baltimore to set the tone and approach for our work over the next year. I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of our immediate past president, Dr. Raul Coimbra, who set us on an amazing path to the future through his transformational leadership of the AAST over the past year. Outlined so thoughtfully in his presidential address, Dr. Coimbra has set us on a course that will galvanize our approach to Acute Care Surgery, invigorate our efforts in research across Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, and Emergency General Surgery (EGS); and carefully reassess and calibrate our approach to be in service to our members. Raul, we are both grateful and fortunate for your vision and leadership.
Our task now is to “Execute on the Vision” that was brought into clear view during our organization’s strategic planning sessions that were conducted over the past year. As with any project, leadership is critical to achieving goals, and I am thankful and de-lighted that three colleagues have stepped forward to lead each of these areas of focus. First, Dr. Kim Davis, immediate past member of the Board of Managers, has kindly agreed to serve as the Acute Care Surgery Strategic Retreat Initiative (SRI) team leader. She will work with the committee chairs to promote horizontal integration across our current committee structure to facilitate seamless development of both the EGS Optimal Resource Guide and the EGS Registry with clinical practice guidelines and an evolving risk adjusted out-comes bench marking approach. Second, Dr. Coimbra will assume leadership of the Research SRI Team. Dr. Coimbra will endeavor to galvanize a cohesive research agenda for AAST by harmonizing efforts among our various activities internally across the committee structure including Multi-Institutional Trials, Scholarship, Acute Care Surgery, and Critical Care.
At the same time, we will continue to collaborate with the research initiatives of the Coalition for National Trauma Research (CNTR), as well as the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) Zero Preventable Deaths program, to advance a national research agenda. Finally, Secretary-Treasurer Bulger, M.D., has agreed to lead the Membership SRI Team to explore how we can continue to grow our membership in an effective way that supports our mission and ensures that we are providing value to our members. I have little doubt that with the exceptional collaborative leadership abilities of our committee chairs, we will achieve our aims.
One clear hallmark of the AAST, since its inception, has been that it has a leadership group and a membership that is fully engaged and committed to the mission of the organization. So is the case with President-Elect Martin Croce, M.D., to whom I extend my sincere congratulations! Dr. Croce, who has presented innumerable times at the scientific podium and at plenary sessions, has been an out-standing long-term member of the AAST. He has also been a faithful servant, having held numerous committee posts, not the least of which was as our past secretary-treasurer. We thank him for his leadership. That said, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge and thank several of our other members, who have been true servants of the AAST, as they complete their terms. I am also delighted to welcome, and identify, the new members of our leadership team. Dr. Jim Davis will become vice president following Dr. Demetrios Demetriades. Dr. David Spain, who provided creative leadership to the Program Committee, will hand over the chair to Dr. Pat Reilly. Drs. Edward Cornwell, manager-at-large, and Kim Davis, acute care surgery manager at-large, will step down as Drs. Sharon Henry and Clay Cothren Burlew, respectively, step into those roles. Moreover, in the last month, I have named over 80 new committee members and over 20 new chairs and vice chairs of committees. The degree of talent and dedication of our members is unparalleled.
These appointments, and the momentum you are sensing, are a direct result of the incredible response to the call for volunteers to serve the mission of the AAST. Moreover, I extend my thanks to the members of the Board of Managers, the committee chairs, and the committee members for their willingness to serve the AAST as we “Execute on the Vision” to secure the vibrancy and future of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma for years to come.
The hallmarks of a great organization include visionary and thoughtful leadership, engaged members, and a unity of purpose in support of the mission. There is, however, at least one more key ingredient: an effective, efficient, and hard-working executive staff. We are fortunate that with Sharon Gautschy, Jermica Smith, Brea Sanders, and the rest of the team, we have just that! We thank them for not only “keeping the lights on,” but also for keeping us on track.
Finally, you have my sincere pledge that I will work arduously and in good faith on behalf of all of you and the organization. I am listening, and I am eager to hear your thoughts on how the AAST can continue to grow and flourish. I am honored by your trust in me, and I thank you for the opportunity to serve as we work together to “Execute on the Vision.”