Program Directors Subcommittee of the Acute Care Surgery Committee
Patrick Kim, MD, FACS
John Fildes, MD, FACS, FCCM, Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery, University of Nevada Las Vegas; is chair of the Program Directors Subcommittee of the AAST Acute Care Surgery (ACS) Committee. He recently spoke with me about the subcommittee’s activities. He said that the program directors are committed to excellence in Acute Care Surgery, having recognized that the time-sensitive conditions requiring surgical care are a “forgotten disease.” He stated that patient outcomes after emergency surgery lag far behind those of elective surgery, as described by the National Emergency Laparotomy Audit (NELA, www.nela.org.uk). The goal of Acute Care Surgery is to serve emergency surgery patients better.
The AAST ACS fellowship is designed to close this gap in emergent surgical care. The committee strives to build and improve the tools needed to measure the intended outcome: excellence in Acute Care Surgery. For example, within the ACS fellowship, the fellows’ knowledge is assessed at the beginning and at the end of their training; case logs (operative and non-operative) are reviewed for depth and breadth of training; and a new generation of knowledge is promoted.
The long-term goal of the subcommittee’s efforts is to ensure ACS-trained fellows and the ACS specialty to “find a place” in general surgery in order to benefit patients. He hopes to continue the discussion by engaging in dialogue with the ACGME and the American Board of Surgery.