Message From the President, David A. Spain, MD
Dear AAST Members,
Most importantly, let me welcome our new members - including our inaugural class of associate members. It is an honor to have you join our organization.
Let me say what a deep and humbling honor it is to serve as your president this year. I attended my first AAST meeting in 1987 and fell in love with the organization - and the love affair continues. My goal this year is to be accessible to all members and responsive to the organization's needs. There will be four major themes for this year.
First, several years ago under the leadership of Past President Coimbra, we developed a strategic plan focused on acute care surgery research, education, and professional development. This initiative has been hugely successful and taken the AAST to new heights. It is now time to revisit the plan and look forward to the next 5 years for our organization. The Board of Managers along with other key thought-leaders and innovators in the organization will meet in December to develop the next phase of our strategic plan.
Second, we have undertaken a reorganization of the Board of Managers. With the strategic initiatives and further development of acute care surgery, our organization has become way more complicated with lots of moving parts. We need to make sure our lines of communication are clear and effective. The major change will be that all the committees are organized into divisions, each under the leadership of a specific Board Manager-at-Large. Sharon Henry will lead the Patient Care Division (pediatrics, geriatrics, prevention, palliative care and disaster committees), Robert Winchell will head the Professional Development Division (education, communication, international and military committees) and AJ Malholtra will oversee the Research Division (MIT and patient assessment committees). The goal of this structure is to streamline communication and enhance collaboration between committees.
Third, we have started our Associate Member category. We are particularly excited about this initiative (which came out of our strategic plan). Our Executive Director Sharon Gautschy and her team have put a lot of work into developing a plan to engage our newest members and get you involved in our organization. We will have a series of webinars this year and most of you will be assigned to committees. This is huge success for our organization. I also want to issue a challenge to all our leaders out there. Stanford led the way with twelve associate members in the inaugural class - at least one or two programs out there can beat that next year (Shock/Trauma, UT Southwestern, others????).
Fourth, we have asked Karen Brasel to lead a task force to develop a statement on Inclusion and Diversity. Based on the presentation at our meeting, we've done a reasonably good job at this - but reasonably is not good enough. We need to be explicit in what are our guiding principles and then be intentional about how we use them. We are in capable hands with the team Dr. Brasel has put together.
Finally, none of these things would happen without the hard work and dedication of the AAST staff (Sharon Gautschy, Jermica Smith, Brea Sanders and Rachel Sass) and your Board of Managers. It is truly an amazing group of people.
Jill and I are look forwarding to hosting you in Hawaii at the AAST 2020 meeting. I've already picked out my sarong for the banquet ...