2014 SCCACS Newsletter

Southern California Chapter
American College of Surgeons
SCCACS Summer Newsletter 2014 — Vol. 19

Editor’s Note

By Shirin Towfigh, MD, FACS
President-Elect , SCCACS

In this SCCACS Summer Newsletter, we’ve tried to summarize some of the many activities of your Chapter officers, committee chairpersons and representatives. I am pleased to announce some exciting developments thus far, including a combined Annual Scientific Meeting with the California Chapter of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. We have an online format for this newsletter, with links sent to members’ emails. The Southern California Chapter has an aggressive socioeconomic and educational mission, and seeks to represent the needs of its members in all of its activities. Please let us know how we are doing, give us your thoughts on the complex issues of the day, and tell us if there are ways in which we can better serve you.

President’s Message

O. Joe Hines

By O. Joe Hines, MD, FACS
President, SCCACS

The Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons Board sends you kind regards, and hopes that your summer is providing both opportunity and respite for you and your family. Our last meeting in January was extraordinarily successful thanks to the superb leadership of Dan Margulies, MD, FACS, and Brian Smith, MD, FACS. We thank them for their enthusiasm and effort. I would also like to acknowledge the effort and guidance of Jim Dowden and his staff who are critical to our success as the largest and most vibrant ACS Chapter in the country. Over the past months, the Board leadership has been planning for our next annual meeting, and I am pleased to report to you some of our activities and plans. Significant work has already been completed, and it appears that we are on target for another fabulous event in Santa Barbara. There is still time for suggestions by our membership, so please let us know about your ideas for both the meeting and our Chapter.

The SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting will be held at the very special Four Seasons Biltmore Resort in Santa Barbara from Jan. 16-18, 2015. We have arranged for a block of rooms at a deeply discounted rate of $350/night. Rooms at this rate are available until the block of rooms is sold out or until December 17, 2014 — whichever occurs first. Reservations can be made directly with the hotel at (805) 565-8299. Please mention the Southern California Chapter of the American Colleges of Surgeons to receive the discounted rate.

2015 Guest Speakers
I am pleased to announce one of this year’s guest speakers is Jeffery Mathews, MD, FACS, Chair of the Department of Surgery, University of Chicago. Dr. Matthews’ clinical interest is in gastrointestinal and pancreatic surgery, and he has been a national leader in academia with particular scientific expertise in intestinal physiology.

We are very pleased that David Hoyt, MD, FACS, Executive Director of the American College of Surgeons will be joining us, and he will be giving us updates on the national issues facing surgeons and activities of the College.

The speaker for Women In Surgery is Ruth Bush, MD, FACS. Dr. Bush is the Associate Dean of Education Texas A&M, Assistant Dean for Graduate Medical Education, and Professor of Vascular Surgery Texas A&M University.

Program Highlights
Program Chair Farin Amersi, MD, FACS, Associate Program Chair Kenji Inaba, MD, FACS, and Assistant Program Chair Sharon Lum, MD, FACS, have been working diligently to assemble a combination of scientific papers, guest lectureships and other material of interest not only to general surgeons in practice, but also those in surgical subspecialties, surgery residents, and medical students.

The ever-popular “What’s New” sessions on Friday will highlight important topics including Hepatobilary and Pancreatic Surgery, Colorectal Surgery, and Critical Care. Clifford Ko MD, FACS, will give a special update on Quality Improvement Initiatives, and Bruce Gewertz, MD, FACS, will give his perspectives on “Finding fulfillment in work and life”.

Please join the group for the Friday evening cocktail reception. You can enjoy an abundance of food, drink and fun. Whether you are a repeat participant or have never been to the meeting, all are welcome. Bring the family, enjoy seeing colleagues you might have not seen for a while or just come to relax and connect.

Surgical Jeopardy is on deck for Saturday afternoon and will pit our SoCal training programs against each other for the prestigious Sixth Annual Dowden Cup. Be sure to attend and cheer for your favorite team!

The California Chapter of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery will join us again this year after a successful first alliance last year. Their society will be having a joint session, and we welcome their Chapter’s members from across the state.

The Southern California Region ACS Committee on Trauma will be having a trauma medical director’s breakfast on Sunday proceeding the trauma specialty session. All of the trauma papers submitted to the meeting will have the option of being reviewed for inclusion in the ACS-COT resident research competition as well. The top clinical and basic papers will get an all expenses paid trip to the regional competition in San Diego on December 6th, 2015.

Surgical Education is a top priority for many of our meeting attendees – we have 11 surgical residency programs represented each year. The ACGME is initiating several new initiatives for resident training including the Next Accreditation System. This year Areti Tillou, MD, ME, FACS, is organizing a specialty session on this topic.

Call for Abstracts
Abstracts for Annual Scientific Meeting program participation are now being accepted through close of business on Tuesday, Sept. 16. Most presented papers selected for oral presentation will be included in a special issue of the American Surgeon. This is, as always, a great forum for young surgeons and for surgical trainees to get experience in presenting and publishing. Details are posted here. This year the Commission on Cancer will be selecting Resident Research Paper completion with a cash prize for the winner and a chance to continue on in national competition. Similarly, the Committee on Trauma will also be having its annual Resident Research contest.

Please Help Recruit Vendors
The Board initiated a new effort regarding fundraising and industry support for the meeting. Howard Kaufman, MD, FACS, has agreed to lead this effort, and we have enlisted the expertise of a consultant. The Board feels this is important in this era regulatory statutes limiting support from our industry partners. With that we still ask for your help this year in recruiting industry participation for the meeting. Industry support allows us to keep membership dues and registration fees at a more modest level. Our industry vendors also give us an opportunity to view the latest technology and conduct one to one discussions regarding technology, pharmaceuticals and other tools that we utilize in our practices.

If you have any special relationship with industry representatives who have supported us in the past, or who have expressed an interest in doing so in the future, please forward your contact information directly to Jim Dowden, SCCACS Executive Director, at He will provide the necessary follow-up, coordinate with Dr. Kaufman, and offer vendors a selection of opportunities for participation.

We hope that you and your family will come to Santa Barbara to enjoy the program and to participate in the many opportunities for education, recreation, and relaxation that are an integral part of our SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting. Karen and I are personally looking forward to the meeting, and the opportunity to connect with you again. 

Chapter Information

SCCACS is your organization. Below are some reminders about Chapter activities as well as contact information for Chapter leaders.  THe leaders want to hear from you with any comments and suggestions:


Abstracts for the 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting program participation are now being accepted through close of business on Tuesday, Sept. 16. You are invited to submit an abstract on the clinical or laboratory research project of your choice. Abstracts are only accepted through this online submission form — no longer through the mail. Abstracts must conform to the Instructions for Preparation of Abstract, and may not have been submitted to a journal for publication, published previously, or presented at a national or regional meeting prior to the 2015 Chapter meeting. Be sure to read through this newsletter for opportunities for Resident Research competitions from both the Commission on Cancer and the Committee on Trauma.

Chapter members are provided free on-line access to the American Surgeon Journal published by the Southeastern Surgical Congress. This service is provided as part of your annual membership dues. In order to access the Journal online, you must set up an account for those purposes with the Journal publisher. You will need to provide your 5-digit Chapter membership ID to complete the process. Follow the instructions posted here to gain online access. Contact Chapter offices if you have any questions or trouble gaining access. 

President O. Joe Hines, MD, FACS,
President-Elect Shirin Towfigh, MD, FACS,

Vice-President Christian de Virgilio, MD, FACS,
Secretary-Treasurer Vincent L. Rowe, MD, FACS,
Recorder J. Craig Collins, MD, FACS,

Anton Bilchik, MD, FACS,

Charles F. Brunicardi, MD, FACS,
L. Andrew DiFronzo, MD, FACS,
Joshua D I Ellenhorn, MD, FACS,
Roy Fujitani, MD, FACS,
Howard Kaufman, MD, FACS,
Brian Smith, MD, FACS,
Areti Tillou, MD, FACS,

Program Chair Farin Amersi, MD, FACS,

Associate Chair Kenji Inaba, MD, FACS,

Assistant Chair Sharon S. Lum, MD, FACS,

Commission on Cancer State Chair
Sharon Lum, MD, FACS,

Committee on Trauma Chair
Kenji Inaba, MD, FACS,

Representative, Association of Women Surgeons
Karen Woo, MD, FACS,

Young Surgeon Representatives
Catherine M. Dang, MD, FACS,

Kevork Kazanjian, MD, FACS,

Executive Director
C. James Dowden

Membership Report

By C. James Dowden
Executive Director, SCCACS

C. James Dowden

Summer 2014 membership in the Southern California Chapter of ACS is 1,842 members. This breaks down into 970 Active Fellows, 862 Senior Fellows and 10 Associate members. The Chapter membership represents just over 48% of all ACS Fellows in the Southern California region. We need your help in reaching your colleagues.

Chapter membership in the California Medical Association’s legislative bodies is directly proportional to the number of members that the Chapter has. We need a bigger voice in CMA to ensure that we have the opportunity to appropriately represent the interest of surgeons on legislative matters and other policy issues that come before the CMA. The more members we have, the more seats at the table we have to represent your interests.

Membership also provides the resources that the Chapter needs in order to continue to provide an outstanding annual Scientific Conference, financial support to surgical Residents to attend and participate in that meeting and to reward those who submit outstanding papers, and to carry out other activities of the Chapter.

SCCACS Member Services
The Southern California Chapter of ACS provides member surgeons with unique services not offered in most other areas of the country. We are the only Chapter that provides a free online subscription to The American Surgeon. This journal is provided to active members throughout the year. The Chapter also funds the cost of participation on the various CMA legislative bodies and meetings by surgeons representing this region. We are one of the few Chapters that conducts a major Scientific Conference, bringing outstanding nationally known surgeons to present to our members.

As articles elsewhere in the newsletter indicate, your Chapter leaders are representing you in a variety of ways at a time when medical practice is in great turmoil and under significant stress. To ensure your voice continues to be heard, your continued support of the Chapter is vital. But equally important is your assistance in reaching out to your colleagues who are not currently part of the Chapter to encourage their membership and their involvement.

We have invited area ACS Fellows to join the Chapter to represent the surgical profession at all levels affecting our practice. We have a full-color recruitment brochure available listing membership benefits. You can view this on the Chapter’s Web site (click on View Membership Brochure).

If you know a colleague who’s not part of the Chapter, please encourage him/her to accept this invitation to join SCCACS. Or invite them to download the Chapter membership application online.

The Chapter is doing much and providing many services for a relatively modest annual investment on your part. Much more can be done. Please contact us (310/364-0193) if you need membership applications and brochures to give to your colleagues, or if you have suggestions on how we can encourage them to join.

Young Surgeons Representatives’ Report

By Catherine Dang, MD, FACS, and Kevork Kazanjian, MD, FACS
SCCACS 2014 Young Surgeons Representatives

Catherine Dang
Kevork Kazanjian

Introduction and Young Surgeons’ Breakfast
The SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting in Santa Barbara is always of great interest for local young surgeons. The meeting has a tradition of fostering exchange of ideas and fellowship among our peers.  One of the highlights is the Young Surgeons’ Breakfast.  Last year’s breakfast with Drs. Carlos Pellegrini and Diana Farmer was a huge success, and plans are underway for this year’s event. We have planned a breakfast session on Saturday morning for surgeons under the age of 45. Drs. Jeffrey Matthews and Ruth Bush will join the young surgeons for breakfast, where attendees will have the opportunity to discuss their careers and the balance of life and work with these leaders in our field.  Please make plans to join us for this highly rated annual event. Surgical Jeopardy
The Surgical Jeopardy competition will take place for the seventh consecutive year at the Annual Scientific Meeting in 2015. Residents from Southern California residency programs will compete for the annual trophy, as well as bragging rights in what should be an educational and entertaining event.

Winners will enjoy having their names and residency program listed on the Dowden Trophy. Four preliminary rounds will pit three programs against one another, with the winner of each round advancing to final jeopardy for the tournament of champions. 

Last year’s competition was one of the highest-attended events for the Annual Scientific Meeting, and 2015 will be a fantastic opportunity for residents from each of our local programs to prove their worth. We will be contacting program directors and residents of the various local programs to start encouraging them to attend the meeting and represent their program in this competition. Young Surgeon’s Travel Stipend 
The SCCACS is again offering the Young Surgeon’s Travel Stipend, which will be awarded on a competitive basis. Last year’s winners were Elizabeth Benjamin (USC), Magi Senthil (Loma Linda), and Harmik Soukiasian (Cedars-Sinai). The purpose of the award is to encourage young surgeons to participate in local Chapter and national American College of Surgeons activities by providing a stipend of $1200 each to three young surgeons to be used for meeting attendance expenses of the local or national ACS meeting. The winners must be present at the Young Surgeons’ Breakfast to receive the award and will have 18 months to use the stipend.

Stipend applications are posted on the chapter’s website. The deadline for submission is 5pm PST Monday, January 12, 2015.

We look forward to seeing you all in Santa Barbara this January. 

Commission on Cancer Liaison Report

By Sharon S. Lum, MD, FACS
State Chair, Southern California Chapter ACS
Commission on Cancer, California Zone S

Sharon S. Lum

In May and June, 2014, I held meetings in LA and the IE, jointly with the American Cancer Society, City of Hope, and Novartis, to inform providers in these areas about implementation of new CoC accreditation standards to provide distress screening to cancer patients.

I attended the spring CoC meeting in Chicago in May, 2014. Notable highlights from the meeting include processes underway to:

  1. Develop a rectal cancer center of excellence designation.
  2. Improve reporting of recurrence and treatment data to the National Cancer Data Base for more clinically useful outcomes tracking.
  3. Mandating real time (rather than retrospective) reporting of cancer cases to track compliance with quality measures, that ultimately could be reported publicly.

Please contact me at if you have questions or concerns. I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

Association of Women Surgeons Report

By Karen Woo, MD, MS, FACS
Representative, Association of Women Surgeons

We were delighted to have an outstanding showing for the 6th Annual Women in Surgery Luncheon Saturday, Jan. 18, at the 2014 SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting. More than 60 students, residents, fellows and attending surgeons attended the event and had the opportunity to meet and network with other female surgeons from a variety of specialties.Our keynote speaker was Diana Farmer, MD, FACS, Dr. Farmer is a fetal and neonatal surgeon who is the chair of the Department of Surgery at UC Davis.  Dr. Farmer gave a spirited and well-received talk entitled, “Women In Surgery: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Inspiring Paths to Leadership in Medicine”  
Please make plans now to attend the 7th Annual Women in Surgery Luncheon on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 during this year’s SCCACS meeting at the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara.  The distinguished guest speaker will be Dr. Ruth Bush.  Dr. Bush is a leader in Vascular Surgery and Associate Dean for Education for the Temple Campus of the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine.

Mark your calendars and make sure you RSVP for this event!

ACS Committee on Trauma

By Kenji Inaba, MD, FACS, FRCSC
Chair, SCCACS Committee on Trauma

Kenji Inaba

The Southern California Chapter of ACS Committee on Trauma remains committed to improving the care of injured patients in this region and to providing education to surgeons caring for these patients. It sponsors ATLS, ASSET, DMEP and TOPIC courses, as well as the local Resident Trauma Paper Competition.

For 2014, we will continue to link submissions for this Paper Competition with abstract submissions for the SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting. Last year, more than 25 outstanding abstracts were submitted, representing most of the Surgery training programs in our region.

Three abstracts were selected for the Region IX Trauma Paper Competition, held in Tucson, AZ. Our local winners — Dr. Sigrid Burruss from UCLA, Dr. Shelby Resnick from USC, Dr. Graham Donald from UCLA and Dr. Jeffrey Quigley from Arrowhead Regional — did an outstanding job of representing Southern California.

Present in San Diego in 2014
This year, we will be accepting submissions for the SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting, along with the Residents Trauma Paper Competition. We are looking forward to having another year where our outstanding Southern California Residents present their state-of-the-art research. The top abstracts will be selected for the Regional Competition, to be held in December 2014 in San Diego, CA.

Finally, our local trauma directors will meet to discuss issues relevant to our region during the Annual Scientific Meeting in Santa Barbara. More details regarding the location and time will be sent along this fall.

2015 Annual Scientific Meeting

By Farin Amersi, MD, FACS
SCCACS, Program Chair 

As Program Chair of the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, it is with tremendous enthusiasm that President Oscar (Joe) Hines, MD, FACS, and I announce the upcoming 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting in January. Together with the rest of the Program Committee — Associate Chair Kenji Inaba, MD, FACS, and Assistant Chair Sharon Lum, MD, FACS — we are proud to once again host the meeting at the luxurious Santa Barbara Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel and Resort on the beach in Montecito, California. This is the premier resident-oriented meeting in Southern California, and the Program Committee has been working diligently to make this the most progressive, innovative and inclusive meeting in the history of the Chapter. There are several new items that we hope will further the appeal of this popular meeting.

Highlights of the 2015 Meeting:

  • Self-assessment CME for Maintenance of Certification offering for the general sessions, a first in Chapter history
  • Combined meeting with the California Chapter of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, including several presentations about bariatric surgery as it pertains to the general surgeon
  • Special guest David Hoyt, MD, FACS, Executive Director of the American College of Surgeons, to update the Chapter on the activities of the College
  • Invited faculty Jeffrey Mathews, MD, FACS, Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Chicago who will discuss the latest innovations in Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery
  • Invited faculty Bruce Gewertz MD, FACS, Chairman of the Department of Surgery, and Vice Dean of Academic Affairs at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center who will speak on “Finding Fulfillment in Work and Life
  • Invited Faculty Clifford Ko MD, FACS, Professor of Surgery at David Geffen School of Medicine and Director of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program and Division of Research and Optimal Quality Care for the American College of Surgeons who will speak on Quality Improvement Initiatives for General Surgeons
  • Perpetual favorite Resident Jeopardy competition, where Cedars Sinai residents will compete for their fourth consecutive Dowden Cup 
  • High-quality oral research paper presentations
  • Annual Wine and Cheese Poster Session
  • Young Surgeons Breakfast, hosted by several special guests
  • What’s New in Surgery series
  • Welcome Cocktail Reception
  • Women in Surgery session
  • Online registration

Specialty Sessions include:

  • Colorectal Surgery
  • Cardiothoracic/vascular Surgery 
  • Breast Surgery
  • Head & Neck Surgery
  • Pediatric Surgery
  • Trauma Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive/General Surgery 
  • Surgical Education
  • Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

The meeting will run from Friday Jan. 16 through Sunday Jan. 18, 2015 over the MLK weekend. Click here for meeting registration and hotel information. Early bird discounted conference registration deadline is Dec. 15. The block of hotel rooms always sells out, so we strongly encourage you to make your reservations early. The discounted room rate for the Chapter Meeting is good until Dec. 17 or when the block of rooms has been sold out, whichever comes first. With a growing attendance year-over-year, and flourishing chapter membership — the largest chapter in the country — this meeting is sure to have something for surgeons of all disciplines. So we look forward to welcoming all who are interested in a great meeting, with high-quality features, in a beautiful setting.   

We look forward to seeing you in Santa Barbara Jan. 16-18, 2015


  • Abstract Submission
    Deadline: 5pm PST Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014
  • Discounted Hotel Rate
    Cut-off: Dec. 17, 2014
  • 2015 Meeting Early Bird Registration
    Cut-off: Monday, Dec. 15, 2014
  • Young Surgeons Travel Stipend
    Deadline: Monday, 5pm PST Jan. 12, 2015
  • 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting
    Jan. 16-18, 2015
    Four Seasons Biltmore Resort
    1260 Channel Drive, Santa Barbara
    Call 805/565-8299 by Dec.17, 2014
    to get discounted $350 room rate.
  • 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting
    Jan. 15-17, 2016
    Four Seasons Biltmore Resort
    Santa Barbara, CA