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  • AAST's Wednesday's Daily Newsletter

    AAST Communication's Committee

    AAST's Cutting Edge Daily Newsletter

    Wednesday September 20th

    Click HERE to View the Cutting Edge Email

    Editor’s Column

    Written by: Shannon Marie Foster, MD, FACS

    Opening day success:  30 leading research papers, a dozen working committee meetings, expansive lunch sessions and an amazing Presidential Address by Dr. Bulger will advance our profession.  Networking and relationship-building is actively happening NOW as this is being distributed – perhaps even more responsible for the productivity that seeps from this meeting.  As per Dr. Bulger:  The Power of Social Connection.  For those not here in person, this Cutting Edge is a tool to engage and connect.  Use the program or the CE as a stepping stone to learn about your colleagues, their work, and reach out to connect via the AAST website member profile and contact information section (is your profile up-do-date? Now is the perfect time to ensure dues and profile are current). Click HERE to update your profile.

    Tomorrow will bring more of the same forward-thinking research in podium and topically wide-ranging poster sessions, and the AAST scholarship recipient presentations.   Whether in-person or remote, please support the work and efforts by considering financial support – donate today to the AAST Research and Education Fund HERE.

     A special highlight is the Fitts Lecture by Dr. J Wayne Meredith Endure, Adapt, Survive and Thrive.  See the preview and special interview conducted by Dr. Julia Coleman to learn the career path and experiences that led to this keynote address. 

     Keep reading and sharing to build connections


    Fitts Lecture: Interview of Dr. J. Wayne Meredith

    Fitts Lecture, "Endure, Adapt, Survive and Thrive"

    Written by: Julia R. Coleman, MD, MPH

    On Thursday, September 21st, the much-anticipated Fitts lecture will take place, this year delivered by Dr. Wayne Meredith. The Fitts lecture was named for Dr. William T. Fitts Jr, a historic surgeon who served as Professor of Surgery and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.   Born in Tennessee, he was a graduate of the Union University in Jackson, earning his medical degree from University of Pennsylvania and completing his surgical residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. In World War II, Dr. Fitts served as a surgical ward officer for the 20th General Hospital in the Pacific Theater with the rank of captain.  Internationally recognized for his contributions to trauma surgery, Dr. Fitts served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Trauma, President of AAST, Vice Chairman of the American College of Surgeons Commission on Trauma, and President of American Trauma Society. Most importantly, he was known for his astute surgical judgement and close personal relationships with his colleagues, students, and patients. In 1974, the Fitts lecture was created.

    Dr. Meredith’s Fitts lecture is named for a motto that has been prodigiously important in his recent life - “Endure, adapt, survive, and thrive”, spawned from his battle with leukemia cutis. At first, Dr. Meredith wasn’t sure if he wanted to share this personal part of his story for the Fitts lecture – in his words, “I thought about talking about the history of chest trauma in AAST…but I decided I’m going to give this a shot and risk it.”.  In his Fitts lecture, Dr. Meredith will focus on 1) the lessons that trauma surgery taught him that got him through his illness and the lessons learned from his illness that helped him be a better surgeon and 2) advice to early career surgeons on how to get involved in and be successful in AAST. 

    In an interview preceding his Fitts lecture, Dr. Meredith reflects that he remembers when he was diagnosed with leukemia and his wife looked up the survival – it was “single digit twoyear survival.”  With this dismal number in sight, Dr. Meredith adopted his motto – endure, adapt, survive, and thrive – and underwent chemotherapy, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant. As one might imagine, this experience was life-changing. In the words of Dr. Meredith, “I learned a lot about myself during that, a lot about being a patient, a lot about being a doctor”. Being a trauma surgeon helped him to get through his illness because it demanded the important qualities of trauma surgeon like resilience and tenacity. His fighting spirit didn’t go unnoticed. Soon, “endure, adapt, survive, and thrive” started to appear throughout Dr. Meredith’s hospital – from custom scrub caps to written signs by residents standing outside his windows to the name of the new hospital tower (“project EAST”).  And Dr. Meredith did just what his motto called – he survived and walked away with wisdom and lessons.  His Fitts lecture will be about those precise lessons. 

    Not all of Dr. Meredith’s lecture will talk about the past, but instead will also include a nod to the future, imparting advice to the early career surgeons. In speaking with him before his Fitts, he rattled off a list of seemingly easy yet high-impact things to do – come to the meeting, talk to people, send your best work to the AAST, volunteer for things, get engaged, show up to committee meetings on time, don’t let fear of imperfection paralyze you from submitting and sharing ideas and science, know the mission of committees and projects to adapt your mission.  In the words of Dr. Meredith, his pearls are “true in AAST and all of academics: be energetic, be optimistic, be curious, be open to feedback, be solicitous to feedback, be generous with feedback, help people succeed.”  These pearls will be ever-essential as the future of acute care surgery evolves.  When envisioning the future of our specialty, Dr. Meredith believes adaptability, relevance, and the highest clinical excellence are all essential.  “[Acute care surgeons need to]…make sure we continue to grow in our practices and training so that the body of work that is encompassed by acute care surgery is ours not because we are available at inconvenient hours but because we are the best people in the hospital to do this work.”

    Ultimately, from talking with Dr. Meredith, it is clear his Fitts lecture will be one to remember.  Being one of the highest honors of the society of AAST, Dr. Meredith is an obvious choice.  This was apparent as I heard him reflect on what Fitts and other accolades mean to him. “I believe that you should not conduct your life to achieve honors. If you measure yourself by those milestones, you’ll have a hard time being happy.  Happiness comes from doing the stuff that makes people consider you for those honors – doing the work, helping people.”

    Presenter Highlights

    Elise Biesboer, MD

    Medical College of Wisconsin

    Title of Presentation: "Prospective Validation of a Hospital Triage Predictive Model to Decrease Undertriage: an EAST Multicenter Study"

    What are you most excited for at the annual meeting? This will be my first meeting, so I’m excited to go and meet other surgeons and the trauma community from around the nation. I’m looking forward to learning how trauma care is done at other centers and hearing about ongoing research projects to inspire future work and to continue to improve trauma care.
    What led you to this line of research? I am one of the general surgery residents at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and I was invited to participate in this research project by my research mentor, Dr. Rachel Morris. It was one of the first projects I got involved in for my research years, and prior to this I didn’t realize the many opportunities to improve trauma triage processes. I’m really glad that I got involved because improving trauma triage will directly impact patient care, and I also learned a lot about trauma quality processes and how traumacare is tracked and evaluated.

    Rachel D. Appelbaum, MD

    Vanderbilt University Medical Center

    Title of Presentation: "The Community of Trauma Care Partnering with Stakeholders to Improve Injury Outcomes: Focus Group Analysis"

    What obstacles did you face? It is clear that stakeholder perspectives increase research significance, but we found it difficult to recruit a large, representative sample of the general trauma patient population. Despite this, the information gained from this small, convenience sample did provide insight for recruitment and engagement best practices.
    What are you most excited for at the annual meeting? I am most excited to see my friends and colleagues. The annual AAST meeting is an incredible time to network and make new connections within the trauma community.  

    David Bassa, DO

    Medical City Plano, Injury Outcomes Network

    Title of Presentation: "The Effect of Circle of Willis Anatomy on Outcomes for Blunt Cerebrovascular Injuries"

    What led you to this line of research? Previous research by our group, the Injury Outcomes Network (ION) Research, focusing on Blunt Cerebrovascular Injuries (BCVI) led us to the development of this study which aimed to summarize the effect of screening practices, scanning practices, and Circle of Willis anomalies on outcomes among BCVIs.
    What obstacles did you face? The main obstacle we faced was limitations to the data that were available across all the participating centers, such as a lack of detailed information on the type of Circle of Willis anomaly. Additionally, the details of the initial scan identifying a BCVI were not always available for transfer patients.

    Alison A Smith, MD, PhD, FACS

    Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

    Scholarship Presentation

    What led you to this line of research? When I first embarked on this pathway during my undergraduate training and learning how to dissect ovaries from mosquitoes to study vector borne diseases, I didn’t know that this journey would lead me to become a surgeon scientist focused on wound healing of injured patients. However, when I was a senior at Virginia Tech, I was on campus during the mass shooting which killed 32 of my fellow students and professors. This monumental event led me to pursue training as a trauma surgeon. I have now found a way to combine my interests in research with treating critically injured patients.
    Why did you feel the research was aligned with AAST goals/platforms? The mission of the AAST is focused on dedicated to discovery, dissemination, implementation, and evaluation of knowledge. My project will contribute to this mission by advancing the care of patients with burn injuries.

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