National SOSA Convention Held During the 2017 ACA    

Rachel Stein, OMS-III, SOSA National Convention Coordinator

This year, the Fall National Student Osteopathic Surgical Association (SOSA) Convention was held in conjunction with the 2017 Annual Clinical Assembly of Osteopathic Surgeons (ACA) at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD.  Over 100 SOSA members from around the nation came together to learn about the various surgical specialties, master surgical skills, and network with current residents, surgeons, and program directors.  Students had the opportunity to attend NFL player Vance Johnson’s talk about how his life was saved by osteopathic care.  Following his talk, lectures were given by two of the ACOS Past Presidents, the newly elected ACOS President, and surgeons from other various specialties.  Lecture topics included an update on the AOA/ACGME merger given by ACOS Past President Dr. Laurence Belkoff, discussions on life as a plastic surgeon by Dr. Benjamin Lam, innovations in 3-D printed neurologic implantation by ACOS Past President Dr. Dawn Tartaglione, an address from the current ACOS President Dr. Ray Morrison, and advice about audition rotations by Dr. Dan Miulli.  Several panels comprised of surgical residents discussed how to survive surgery rotations and how to match into a surgical residency, as well as, represent residency programs during the residency fair.  SOSA members were able to attend lectures at the ACA on numerous topics such as neurosurgery, robotic surgery, trauma surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, urology, and many more.

Aside from listening to inspiring lectures, SOSA hosted multiple workshops for students to gain hands-on experience, which included suturing, knot-tying, and other surgical skills.  One of the goals for this year’s Fall Convention was to increase the networking opportunities for SOSA members.  Around 30 practicing surgeons attended the speed mentoring event, where students met with and asked each surgeon questions about entering the field of surgery.  And, a lunch with program directors event was held, which gave students the chance to meet many of the residency program directors they may one day work with.

Overall, this year’s Fall National SOSA Convention was a tremendous success thanks to the help of ACOS and the surgeons and residents that gave lectures and offered advice.  Many students left inspired to pursue an osteopathic surgical residency and were thankful for the opportunity to network with many osteopathic programs at the convention.  Mohan Muvvala, OMS-II from BCOM stated, “This conference helped me reconnect with my aspirations by talking to professionals within their sphere of surgical medicine.  [Students] can get so bogged down with academics that we forget that true excitement lies beyond these didactic years.”  The National SOSA Executive Board looks forward to expanding SOSA membership, providing more opportunities for students interested in surgery, and hosting our Spring Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL in 2018.