Military surgeons deployed around the world to discuss readiness via live stream


For the first time, military surgeons stationed around the world will gather with surgeons at the 2017 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) for the annual meeting of the Excelsior Surgical Society.

The day-long event focusing on surgical readiness will take place in San Diego on Sunday, October 22. It will also be live-streamed to members of the Excelsior Surgical Society stationed in Iraq, Kuwait, the Joint Trauma System (San Antonio), the military’s medical school at the Uniformed Services University (Bethesda), Afghanistan and other confidential locations.

Speakers at this year’s meeting will address the current state of surgical readiness. They will also talk about steps military and civilian health systems can take together to ensure readiness for future conflicts. The day’s events will also include:

  • The Committee on Trauma Military Resident paper competition
  • Scientific abstract presentations from military treatment facilities
  • Recognition of Excellence awards
  • A town hall session

Informal breakfast and luncheon sessions will allow for exchanges with program directors and the surgeon advisers to the Surgeon Generals of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Excelsior Surgical Society is forum for sharing battlefield lessons

The Excelsior Surgical Society was originally created after World War II as a forum for surgeons who served in the war to discuss their experiences. It was sun-downed in 1984 due to attrition of the members. The society was revived as an official society within the ACS two years ago to allow a new generation of surgeons returning from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan to gather and share lessons learned. It also serves as a forum for presentations by military surgeons conducting basic and clinical research.

“The Excelsior Surgical Society has allowed surgeons from different branches of the military, as well as surgeons working in civilian trauma care, to gather together and identify important lessons from the battlefield that can benefit patients at home, as well as lessons from civilian care that can be translated into the deployed setting,” said M. Margaret (Peggy) Knudson, MD, FACS, medical director of the Military Health System Strategic Partnership American College of Surgeons (MHSSPACS).

“This year, we wanted to further facilitate those discussions by including surgeons currently deployed, so that we could hear directly from those serving around the world as we address the critical need to maintain surgical readiness,” Dr. Knudson said.

Forging stronger ties between the military and civilian health systems is a key priority for the MHSSPACS, which was launched in late 2014. In addition to supporting the Excelsior Surgical Society, the MHSSPACS is:

  • Developing a pre-deployment intensive trauma training course designed to prepare surgeons to care for troops injured in combat, as well as victims of mass causality events
  • Supporting the Joint Trauma System Defense Center of Excellence to ensure the military trauma system created during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan remains intact between conflicts
  • Advocating for increased trauma research funding to launch studies that cannot be conducted in a war zone

“To continue advancing trauma care at home and on the battlefield and save more lives, we must bring our military and civilian trauma systems together,” Dr. Knudson said. “All patients will benefit from lessons learned on the battlefield and from the more than 50 years of advances in civilian trauma care across the United States.”

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