The 2017 Annual Clinical Assembly of Osteopathic Surgeons is now in the history books and will be recorded as a remarkable convention. I hope you were able to attend the outstanding keynote speaker addresses and the excellent continuing education sessions as our content experts here were able to further our fund of surgical knowledge. We are a group of extremely well-educated surgeons, and offering our expertise as content experts should be something that we all should strive to become active participants in. It was also very good to be with our internal medicine colleagues, participate in the shared education, and renew old friendships with those whom we haven’t seen in many years. I am sure that our next convention will be equally rewarding as we co-locate our meeting with our orthopedic brothers and sisters.
As we look towards the future of this year’s College, it was great to see the induction of 68 new Fellows of the ACOS, as well as introduce into the College membership 140 new surgeons including two new allopathic brethren. Our resident membership has also grown by 193 as we continue to encourage membership and active participation from our young surgeons as they are our future. This year marks the beginning of an Emerging Leaders program as we will identify those from the pool of our new membership and residents who will take us into the future.
There are many tasks before us this year that your Board of Governors will be addressing. The most urgent involves assisting in a resolution of the difficulties in the current board certification process. Your Board of Governors will offer our support to the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery and continue backing their history of outstanding metrics and process in the board certification of our surgeons.
The single accreditation pathway for graduate medical education continues to be a challenge for some of our surgical programs to gain acceptance into the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education process as we labor with the common program requirements. We will continue working to influence changes to this process, thus allowing for a fair transition into osteopathic surgical residency continuation.
We will have other significant issues to face in the coming year, as well. I suggest that you review the recently released President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, if you have not already had an opportunity to do so. With a reported average of 175 patients dying on a daily basis as a direct result of opioids, this article details some 56 suggestions on how to affect this crisis. Just one example of those steps that stands out to me is a suggestion to stop evaluating doctors based on patient pain scores. There are many other practical applications in this worthwhile read.
As the AOA implements their uncoupling of concomitant membership in order to maintain board certification, we will gain a major opportunity to strengthen our membership and allow our ACOS to be a strong and viable professional home for all osteopathic surgeons.
In a brief conclusion, I would like to offer you the opportunity to identify with the I’m In … Are You? campaign that certainly will bring a tour de force of membership to our College and lead to the resilience and durability of a great surgical society. I am looking forward to a great year and your discipline memberships have certainly elected a great Board of Governors who are up to the tasks ahead of us.
Ray L. Morrison, D.O., FACOS
American College of Osteopathic Surgeons