The Acute Care Surgery Committee has had a busy year. One of our biggest initiatives was the creation of educational modules for our fellows. These modules, focused on topics in thoracic and vascular surgery, were divided into expanded or abbreviated modules based on the complexity of the topic, and the expected familiarity with the content. This project, driven forward by Clay Burlew, has resulted in a total of 31 thoracic modules and 17 vascular modules. The expanded modules, authored by two members of the AAST, also have “Pearls from the Experts” at the end of each module which is authored by an additional 2-3 senior members of the AAST. This curricular development also serves as a formal template for the end-of-fellowship exams, assuring that we are truly testing those topics that we are teaching. Future module development will likely focus on complex emergency general surgery topics.
Another major milestone of the Committee’s work was the design of an in-service type exam. This exam is designed to provide both the fellow and the program director information regarding knowledge deficits that can then be addressed during the ACS year of fellowship. The program director is provided with metrics to help guide a tailored educational experience for their fellows. The results can also be compared to the results of the end-of-fellowship examinations, to assure that the fellowships add value by providing education. Pat Reilly and Joe Minei continue to spearhead these efforts, with the support of members of the ACS Committee and the Program Directors Committee.
A third effort of the Committee was the refinement of the case log system to streamline data entry for our fellows. The case log data is examined several times a year, and information is provided to the program directors. This data allows the program director to customize later rotations to address gaps in operative exposure.
Two additional fellowship programs were recently approved as official training sites, Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, and East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. This brings the number of approved programs to 21. A recent survey of our fellowship graduates was completed, and the results were published in the January 2017 issue of the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. Our graduates are promulgating the field of Acute Care Surgery in Level I and II trauma centers across the country, and overall they felt that their two-year fellowship added value to their careers.
Other activities of the Committee include the presentation of four lunch sessions at the Annual Meeting in Waikoloa HI. Finally, members of the Board of Directors and the Acute Care Surgery Committee are collaborating with the leadership of SAGES to offer a jointly sponsored Acute Care Surgery Panel Discussion at the Annual SAGES Meeting, which will be held in Houston TX in March.
I would like to thank the members of the Committee for their efforts in support of the fellowship training paradigm. I would also like to thank the Program Directors’ subcommittee for their work on supervision and training milestones, and the Board of Managers and Ms. Sharon Gautschy for their support without which none of this would be possible. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the hard work of Bridget Lindbloom.
-Committee Chair, Kim Davis, MD, MBA