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  • AAST's Thursday's Daily Newsletter

    AAST Communication's Committee

    AAST's Cutting Edge Daily Newsletter

    Thursday September 21th

    Click HERE to View the Cutting Edge Email

    Editor’s Column

    Written by: Shannon Marie Foster, MD, FACS

    Trauma and Disneyland!  The ocean 15 miles west! and Hollywood magic a drive away! Yet, within this dense cultural environment, the events within the Hilton Anaheim are keeping focus and energy as the AAST meeting is in its stride.  Research presentations, posters, exhibitors, and panel/course faculty are enhancing all components of our profession.   Receptions and social engagements flow as another day concludes.  Dr. Meredith and his address inspires and draws from experience while the work of our young colleagues assures a strong future. 

    Tonight’s issue includes more presenter highlights and a wonderful interview piece of tomorrow’s keynote, Dr.  Lillian Kao Challenging Current Notions About Quality Improvement and Research by Dr. Simin Golestani.  Friday’s panel will focus on research innovation – and Drs. Stein, Haut, and Cooper are certainly those to lead this charge.  Panel sessions will be available on demand.   If you miss them, ensure your registration is active so you can watch at your convenience after. Click HERE to register for on-demand.

    For all present, please plan your schedule to participate in the Annual Business Meeting at 5 pm pacific – you must be in person to be counted, to be heard, and to vote on the new membership and the issues facing our organization. 

    Thank you for all you do!


    Expert Surgeon Lecture: Interview of Dr. Lillian Kao

    Expert Surgeon Lecture, "Challenging Current Notions about Quality Improvement and Research"

    Written by: Simin Golestani, MD 

    The topic of this year’s expert lecture, “Challenging current notions about quality improvement and research” is one that is pertinent and important for any practicing surgeon.  For Dr. Lillian Kao, professor of surgery and chief of acute care surgery at McGovern Medical School at University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, this talk is the result of many years of experience and research in quality improvement.  Her inspiration for her research stems first and foremost from a desire to take the best care of her patients.  As she describes it, well intentioned clinicians have in the past potentially harmed patients by following guidelines that were subsequently proven to be harmful, such as tight glycemic control in critically ill patients.  Her support has come from mentors who were not afraid to question the reasoning for decision making in critically ill patients. For her, finding the balance between rigor and efficiency in aoplying promising but yet unproven treatments, especially in trauma patients, is necessary to provide the best care. Having previously been awarded a prestigious NIH K23 career development award for her research, Dr, Kao now co-directs the Center for Surgical Trials in Evidence Based Practice (C-STEP) in Houston.

    Dr. Kao’s pathway towards trauma surgery was not linear, and her roles in this field continue to be vast and varied. After graduating surgical residency from University of Washington Medical Center, she went on to practice as an academic surgeon for five years before completing a fellowship in critical care. For her, it has been the people in the AAST who have become a source of influence, friendship, and support. She has been active in meetings for many years and is a member of the steering committee for the new leadership academy of AAST. Although she did not initially see herself taking on leadership positions, finding groups that resonated with her values and goals made her gravitate towards these leadership positions and she has left her mark on many different organizations. As a past- president of the Association for Academic Surgery, she promoted increased opportunities for trainees and young surgeons. She is one of the founding members of the Society of Asian Academic Surgeons, and is currently the vice chair and quality, research, and optimal patient care pillar lead of the Board of Governors of the American College of Surgeons.

    In addition to her important roles as a leader and a clinical researcher, Dr. Kao also serves as a mentor and teacher. She is active in teaching the master’s degree course in clinical research and enjoys helping her trainees develop their own interests in research.  She advises her students on setting achievable goals, being patient and remaining dedicated.  With all these varied positions that she juggles, having a way to decompress is vital. For Dr. Kao it’s being active, especially in the form of kickboxing! Her two French bulldogs also keep her busy, and she enjoys the fellowship that comes with national conferences. A testament to her passion as a trauma surgeon, her favorite surgery is any open case where she can touch bowels.

    Dr. Kao became a doctor to improve patient outcomes, and the way she discovered how to do that was to align her practice with high quality research. Her expert lecture will be an opportunity for all new and experienced trauma surgeons to understand the importance of patient focused quality research and to develop a practice in which we can do as she does, and “learn continuously as we provide care.”

    Presenter Highlights

    Vanessa P. Ho, MD, MPH, PhD, FACS

    MetroHealth Medical Center

    Title of Presentation: We Regret to Inform You : Compassionate and Effective Death Notifications

    What are you most excited for at the annual meeting?  It is always amazing to reconnect with people. I’ve been coming to these meetings for almost a decade and trauma surgeons around the country have become some of my closest friends, even though we see each other so rarely. Our jobs are really hard—physically and emotionally, and very few people understand what it’s like to do this job. It’s great to have that community
    What led you to this line of research? I became interested in palliative care during fellowship. I had the opportunity to observe some of the most skilled palliative care communicators in our field practice these communication principles in the acutely sick acute care surgery patient, and the ability to shepherd a person through the worst day of their lives with compassion became an important goal of mine.

    Nina Clark, MD

    University of Washington

    Title of Presentation: Implementation Evaluation of Tele-triage Pathways for Burn Center Consultations And Transfers

    What are you most excited for at the annual meeting? This will be my first AAST meeting, so I’m looking forward to taking it all in! I’m planning to apply to trauma/critical care fellowship in the coming years, so the more hands I can shake the better.
    What led you to this line of research? Part of what has always interested me about trauma, burns, and acute care surgery has been the interdisciplinary and network-based way we provide this type of surgical care. Working in a setting where we receive a substantial number of transfers made me start to think about how this system of care could be optimized for our patients and their families.

    Keita Nakatsutsumi, MD

    Tokyo Medical and Dental University

    Title of Presentation:Analysis Of Lipid Metabolites Derived From Gut Microbiota In Ischemia-Reperfusion Model

    What did you find as a useful resource that helped you to complete this project? Support from colleagues and collaboration with experts in other fields.This research is just the first step of the whole research plan. Ongoing teamwork is essential.
    What are you most excited for at the annual meeting? I would like to learn and take back the knowledge of trauma specialists in the United States to Japan. It would bring growth to my research and clinical work.

    Finn Gunn - Doctor

    Centre for Trauma Sciences

    Title of Presentation: A Comparative Analysis Of Tranexamic Acid Dosing Strategies In Traumatic Major Hemorrhage

    What led you to this line of research? When I was a medical student in London, I witnessed a great deal of traumatic injury and was incredibly impressed by the care these critically unwell patients received. To pursue this interest, I applied to the Trauma Sciences and Care of the Injured Patient Programme hosted by the Centre for Trauma Sciences. As part of this programme, I was fortunate enough to have my passion for trauma sciences supported through additional teaching and access to the major trauma centre team and clinical research unit. As part of this programme, I became involved in research investigating the use of tranexamic acid in traumatic major haemorrhage. I have continued this research throughout medical school and into my post-graduate training. I am honoured that this work has led to my presenting at the AAST 2023meeting and look forward to sharing my findings with the wider scientific community.
    What are you most excited for at the annual meeting? I am thrilled to be attending the AAST annual meeting and I am most looking forward to meeting experts in trauma science from across the world. This will represent my first opportunity to interact with the international medical and scientific community in-person and will be an experience I will cherish for the rest of my career.

    Lea Hoefer, MD

    University of Chicago Medicine

    Title of Presentation: Trauma Surgeons Experience Compassion Fatigue - A Major Metropolitan Area Survey

    What obstacles did you face? Probably the most challenging portion of this project was coordinating between seven different trauma centers and their faculty. Luckily, we have great inter-institutional collaboration through our local Committee on Trauma. and had a study champion at each institution who led the recruitment efforts for their respective faculty groups.
    What did you find as a useful resource that helped you to complete this project? Having the support of a group of collaborators from multiple institutions was a huge help in completing this project. Not only did they make the multi-institutional survey possible in the first place, it was also extremely helpful to have the input of their various perspectives and experience while rolling out the survey and subsequently writing the abstract and manuscript.

    Jan-Michael Van Gent, DO, FACS

    UT Houston

    Title of Presentation: “Door-to-prophylaxis” as a novel quality improvement metric in prevention of venous thromboembolism following traumatic injury

    What led you to this line of research? My grandfather was a prior US Navy family practice physician. He unfortunately died suddenly from a massive pulmonary embolism when I was in high school. The personal connection to this disease process has driven my interest in trying to minimize/eradicate its incidence in our patients.
    What obstacles did you face? DVT and PE have an overall low incidence in the trauma population, thankfully. However, the rarity makes it very hard to study and to further complicate the picture, there are numerous confounders associated with venous thromboembolism. It’s been difficult to accumulate enough granular data in patients that are severely injured to make solid conclusions.

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