From The President

C. Scott Hultman, MD, MBA, FACS

"The best way to predict the future is to create it."
-Peter Drucker, inventor of modern management theory, mid-20th century

As we move into volatile times for our country and the world, there becomes a fierce urgency to proactively manage the future, through strategic innovation and long-range planning.

How does this impact ACAPS?

At no other point in health care delivery and education have we witnessed so much change. Within our field of plastic surgery, which is based on the core competency of innovation, technology and techniques are moving faster than we can implement them clinically. As educators, we also have the sacred responsibility of teaching the next generation of surgeons, not to be just technicians, but to become safe, competent physicians who remain professionals at all times, team members with good communication skills, and providers who nurture the physician-patient bond. In the end, we may not be able to solve the most complex of problems, but we must always provide hope and compassion, to those who are suffering.

With this perspective, I am pleased to report that the strategic plan that Dr. John Kitzmiller started last year, during his presidency, is thriving. We have an amazing board of directors and executive leadership team who are unequivocally committed to the goal of serving our members, the educators of plastic surgery. We focus on answering a simple question: how can we support and develop those teachers in plastic surgery who believe that education is paramount to optimizing patient safety, achieving excellence in outcomes, training our students to become successful surgeons, and developing the next generation of leaders?

Perhaps the most vital mission of ACAPS is to provide a platform for the dissemination of ideas. How do we take care of ourselves? How do we identify and reduce burnout? How do we build diverse teams? How do we teach our trainees about life-long, self-directed learning? How do we move the needle on the outcomes of our institutions? How do we improve access to care and correct disparities? I believe that teaching involves asking these questions. The answers are not obvious, but our efforts should include a search for solutions.

ACAPS has provided very comprehensive programming this past academic year, at the ASPS in the fall and at the ACAPS Winter Retreat, but our work is not finished. I invite you to join us for the Spring Retreat at the AAPS, as well as the business meeting, where we will feature members' papers, discussions on mentoring, and a panel on how to deal with the challenges we currently face, from GME funding to remediation of residents to faculty development.

This has been a great year for our organization, thanks to the past efforts by my predecessors, and next year will continue to be as dynamic, under the leadership of Dr. Michael Bentz. I am honored and humbled to have served as the ACAPS President this past year, and hopefully I have put a small dent in the universe of academic plastic surgery.

ACAPS Spring Retreat
"The Challenging Resident"
Saturday, March 25, 2017
JW Marriott, Austin, TX

"Common Challenges in Contemporary Plastic Surgery Education"
Monday, March 27, 2017
8:00 – 9:00 AM
8:00 am ACAPS Panel: Common Challenges in Contemporary Plastic Surgery Education
Michael L. Bentz, MD
8:00 am - 8:13 am Engaging Full Time and Clinical Faculty Educators
William Y. Hoffman, MD
8:13 am - 8:26 am Broadening the Diversity of Your Residency Team
Heather Furnas, MD
8:26 am - 8:39 am Creating Endowment Funding For Your Residency Initiatives
Charles N. Verheyden, MD
8:39 am - 8:52 am Developing Financial Support for Expanding Your Residency and Fellowship Positions
Joseph E. Losee, MD
8:25 am - 9:00 am Q & A

Summary of the Winter Retreat

Tony Smith, MD
Vice President of Education

ACAPS–AAPS 2016 Winter Retreat, Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Winter Retreat was held at the O'Hare Hilton in Chicago, as in past years. The 2016 retreat was shortened from the standard one and one-half days to one full day only, due to a December snowstorm which led to many cancellations of flights in and out of the Chicago O'Hare Airport for approximately 36 hours.

The program began on Saturday with a presentation by Moran Cerf, PhD, a Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management faculty member. Dr. Cerf’s talk on Free Will, Decision Making and Control in the Context of Behavior Changes and Business Choice covered many new basic science research findings as to how individuals make choices. This was followed by Dr. Scott Hultman’s presentation on Financial Literacy for Academic Plastic Surgeons. The ACGME/ABPS/RRC Reports were then given by Donna Lamb and Dr. Robert Weber. Over lunch the audience was treated to an interesting History of Plastic Surgery presentation by Dr. Raymond F. Morgan, the 2016 ACAPS Goldwyn Award recipient.

The afternoon program consisted of sessions on Assessment by Drs. Weber, Lifchez, Nguyen along with Drs. Edgar and Hamstra of the ACGME. This was followed by Paper Session I chaired by Dr. Steven Kasten of the University of Michigan. It was during this paper session that retreat program committee consisting of Drs. Smith, Hultman, Gosain, Weber and Kasten made the decision to shorten the retreat to one day only. The Mentoring Interative Event, scheduled for Sunday morning, to be chaired by Dr. Arun Gosain, was cancelled and will be presented at a later ACAPS event. Paper Session II, which was to take place Sunday morning, was moved to Saturday afternoon. The Winter Retreat ended late Saturday, December 10, 2016, allowing ACAPS members and other attendees to return home prior to the cancellations of flights out of Chicago O'Hare Airport.

Anthony A. Smith, MD
Chairman, ACAPS-AAPS 2016 Winter Retreat

Global Health Column

Amanda A. Gosman, MD
Global Health Chair

Faculty Commentary

by Dr. Mark Brzezienski

At its core, the choice to become a plastic surgeon is really no different from many professions featuring high-profile services that attract talented young people. Yet, our mentees are motivated to choose the long hours and years of training to become plastic surgeons instead of becoming business executives, lawyers, or any number of inviting alternatives. Many of us attribute our choice to an exposure to a life-changing reconstructive surgery, a transformative aesthetic procedure, or a global mission experience.

Plastic surgeons learn to manipulate anatomy to enable improved function and define physical identity. The future of our discipline will be brighter if it is entrusted to with drive, passion, imagination, and the ambition to improve the quality of life of others. In fact, the American Society of Plastic Surgery’s primary publication to introduce the next generation of plastic surgeons to the field, Plastic Surgery Essentials for Students, reminds us that "the limit of the specialty is bound only by the imagination and expertise of those in its practice" and our vocation is "open to those who wish to be challenged."

As the saying goes...if it were easy...well, you know the rest... But, this does not mean that those of us who have made the climb can't inspire the next generation - who ARE watching and listening - to start their own...


By Kristopher Day, MD/PGY6
University of Tennessee Plastic Surgery; Chattanooga, TN

George Mallory might have been justified in his terse depiction of his obsession with Mt. Everest: "because it's there. "The same celebration of brevity is seldom afforded to medical mission work participants, who are often asked, "why do it?" This response seems natural enough; it’s expensive, can be uncomfortable or even somewhat dangerous, often burns vacation time and may require time away from family. These considerations don't even include the tough arguments regarding: patient follow-up, hegemonic relationships with host cultures, a patchwork approach to bigger systemic problems, and the old standby refrain of skeptics: "can't the same "good" be done in your own backyard?" Medical mission work tends to quickly escalate into a hot-button topic within medical communities, like childhood education amongst a group of tiger moms or greatest-player-ever debates amongst sports journalists. In fact, it might be simpler to just examine cases in which mission work has made an impact…like mine, for example.

There are many reasons offered for participating in medical missions. Many say the experience reorients doctors' perspective of cost (e.g., the role of expensive imagery), offers a test of one's abilities with limited resources, allows detachment from taxing bureaucratic demands, and allows a profound sense of autonomy and purpose, not to mention the chance to serve those in greatest need. I wish I could say I was imbued with such single-minded determination when as a bright-eyed senior medical student I flew to Guatemala for a cleft palate repair mission. In truth, I had just read Paul Farmer's Mountains Beyond Mountains and maybe was instead excited and thirsty for adventure, perhaps not unlike the eternal Mr. Mallory himself. Yet in answering what at that time seemed like a calling, it also introduced me to a less-considered byproduct of mission work: enrollment.

After travelling to a dozen interviews and finally having reason to anticipate becoming the general surgeon I thought I was destined to be, I packed for a different kind of trip with a prominent and engaging professor on a cleft lip and palate repair mission. One international flight, two medical Spanish review books, and a few treacherous bus routes later I found myself part of a surgical team in Quetzaltenango, a city named for a Mayan expression meaning "under ten mountains." Dr. Jon Canady then demonstrated the first cleft palate repair I had ever seen, and I became witness to the magic of plastic surgery. I'd never seen such immediate physical and emotional transformation. Children that were ostracized became members of society in the span of hours. I was hooked. Just a short surgery residency later, I now enjoy the opportunity to train in plastic surgery. All told, this trail might be described as a mountainous journey. It will still be a few more years before I discover if I will become one of the lucky few that call themselves craniofacial surgeons, but it's a journey I don't regret whose base camp was a medical mission.

Since that experience in the Guatemalan highlands, I have witnessed things in medicine and even in the world of cleft repair that has been less inspiring...turf wars, insurance hurdles, and the like. Interestingly, mission work still seems to be the perfect antidote; the chance to provide care that will change a life in a place where no one else can. Isn't that what really describes the spirit of medical mission work? At their most basic level doctors want to help people, and medical mission work might be one of the purest forms of that possibility. It certainly was the right setting to witness life-changing care in a setting that fostered one-on-one mentorship in a beautiful and stimulating environment free from life’s mundane tasks and daily distractions. And that was plenty to sign me up.

So the next time you hear a passionate denouncement of mission work for its impracticality, needless expense, risk, or other Mallory-esque critiques, remember that the next generation is watching, listening, and learning. Why not inspire the climb...because it's there.

Boot Camp

Vu T. Nguyen, MD
Boot Camp Chair

Expanding on the inaugural experience in 2015, the 2nd annual Plastic Surgery Boot Camp program was able to expand to three locations in the fall of 2016 including:

  • July 15 – 17: University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • July 29 – 31: University of Kansas, Kansas City, KS
  • August 5 – 7: University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

Special thanks go out to the members of the Boot Camp Task Force – Jeffrey Janis, Edward Davidson, Richard Korentager, Nicholas Panetta, and James Butterworth.

The course was FREE to all programs and participants, excluding travel costs to and from the course sites. Financial support was again provided by industry partners, including major grant support from Acelity and numerous small grants from local vendors, and by the sponsoring institutions themselves. A total of 73 residents participated, representing 29 residency programs, across 19 different states. In response to evaluations and feedback from the inaugural program, adjustments were made to the curriculum including standardized presentations for all lectures (to be utilized in the future for pre- and post-conference durable materials), streamlining evaluations, a practical session on injectables, and implementation of a new microsurgical training model.

Future initiatives include ongoing curriculum development, increasing program participation, and the potential for a West Coast regional site. Please stay tuned for further information and online registration.

Vu T. Nguyen, M.D.

Boot Camp
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ACAPS encourages all members to consider service on an ACAPS committee. Please take a look at the committee list and contact the Administrative office if you are interested in serving on a committee next year.

View 2016-2017 Committees.

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