2016 SCCACS Newsletter

Southern California Chapter
American College of Surgeons
SCCACS Summer Newsletter 2016 — Vol. 21

Table of Contents


Christian de Virgilio

By Christian de Virgilio, MD, FACS
President, Southern California Chapter, American College of Surgeons

On behalf of the Board of the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, we send you our warmest regards, and hope that  you have had an enjoyable summer.   Our annual meeting this past January was extraordinarily successful thanks to the superb leadership of President Shirin Towfigh, MD, FACS, and our Program Chair Kenji Inaba, MD, FACS. We thank them for their diligent work and planning.

Over the past months, we have been preparing for our next annual meeting. Planning is well underway so as to assure yet another fabulous event in Santa Barbara for this coming January Here is a preview of what we have planned so far for our upcoming meeting:

The SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting will be held at the Four Seasons Resort Biltmore Santa Barbara from January 20-22, 2017. We have arranged for a limited block of rooms at a deeply discounted rate of $365/night. Rooms at this rate are available until the block is sold out (until December 14, 2016). Please be sure to review the deposit and cancellation rules for reservations. You can find details on the Chapter website.  Please make reservations directly with the hotel at (805) 565-8299 and mention the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons to take advantage of the discounted rate.

John Holcomb

I am pleased to announce that one of our invited faculty will be John Holcomb, MD, FACS. Dr. Holcomb is the Director, Center for Translational Injury Research, Chief, Division of Acute Care Surgery, Vice Chair, Department of Surgery, UT Houston, and a Bronze Star recipient. He will provide the Presidential Keynote Lecture.

David Hoyt

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

Kathy Magliato

The speaker for the Women in Surgery Luncheon will be Kathy Magliato, MD, MBA, FACS.  Dr.  Magliato is a cardiac surgeon, entrepreneur, writer, and mother.  She is a cardiothoracic surgeon at Providence Saint John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica, a New York Times bestselling author, and a business woman who holds a cardiac medical device patent.

Program Highlights
Program Chair Sharon Lum, MD, FACS, Associate Program Chair Kevork Kazanjian, MD, FACS, and Assistant Program Chair Lydia Lam, MD, FACS are actively developing the program for the annual meeting. We are confident that through their efforts, the meeting will attain the same level of excellence as all of our prior meetings. We will have a combination of high quality scientific papers and invited guest lecturers. We anticipate the topics will once again address the needs of surgeons in practice in general surgery and surgical subspecialties, as well as those of surgeons-in-training. We will have specialty section sessions  in Pediatric Surgery, General Surgery, Surgical Oncology,  Cardiothoracic, Vascular, Head & Neck, Plastics, Colorectal and Bariatric surgery.  Back by popular demand,  a “Battle of the Blades” debate session in minimally invasive surgery will be included.

The ever-popular “What’s New?” sessions will be on Friday. Topics include what’s new in Vascular Surgery, Breast Surgery, Surgery and the Geriatric Patient, Trauma and Colorectal surgery.

We encourage you to bring your family and join us for the Friday evening cocktail reception. You can enjoy an abundance of food, drink and music. This is a time to relax and mingle among friends and colleagues, and it’s one of my favorite events. The awards for best scientific paper will be announced then. Plus, we have an excellent band of fellow surgeons who will rock the night away with us.

It can’t be a Saturday without Surgical Jeopardy. Once again, the SoCal residency programs will fight against each other for the Annual Dowden Cup. It’s standing room only, so show up early to cheer for your favorite team! Last year’s competition was extremely close with the team from University of California, Irvine prevailing to take the Cup – who will triumph this year?

The Southern California Region ACS Committee on Trauma will be hosting a Trauma Medical Director’s breakfast on Sunday, preceding the Trauma Surgery specialty session. All 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 sciences papers will get all-expenses paid trips to the regional competition in December 2016.

The California Chapter of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery will be having a business meeting following the SCCACS meeting on Saturday. We have had a successful alliance for the past couple of years. We welcome the ASMBS Chapter members from across our beautiful state to participate in the meeting.

Call for Abstracts
Abstracts for the Annual Scientific Meeting program participation are being accepted through Wednesday, September 14th. Details for abstract submission are posted here. If successfully selected for plenary session oral presentation, most papers will be published in a special issue of The American Surgeon. This is a great opportunity, especially for young surgeons-to-be and surgeons-in-training, to gain experience in presenting at a major conference and in publishing in a peer-reviewed journal.

This year the ACS Commission on Cancer will be conducting a Resident Research Paper Competition with a cash prize for the winner and a chance to continue toward a national competition. Similarly, the ACS Committee on Trauma will have its annual Resident Research contest.

Please Help Recruit Vendors
Last year, the Board initiated new efforts regarding fundraising and industry support for our Annual Meeting, and Howard Kaufman, MD, FACS, led this effort for us. I am also asking for your individual help to boost fundraising and industry participation for the meeting. Such support allows us to keep membership dues and registration fees at a more modest level. This is especially important in the era of regulatory statutes limiting and restraining support from individual industry partners.

If you have any special relationship with industry representatives who have supported us in the past, or whom you feel will have an interest in doing so now, please forward their contact information directly to Jim Dowden, SCCACS Executive Director, at He will take over from there and provide prospects with the necessary follow-up, coordinate with our sponsor committee, and offer the vendors a selection of opportunities for participation in the meeting.

Don’t forget to register early and reserve your hotel rooms! We hope that you and your family will join us in Santa Barbara, January 20-22, 2017. You are an integral part of our SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting, and I encourage you to take advantage of our high level program, participate in the many opportunities for education and recreation, and take some time for relaxation.


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 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting program participation are being accepted through close of business on Wednesday, September 14. 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. Abstracts must conform to the Instructions for Preparation of Abstract, and they may not have been submitted to a journal for publication, published previously or presented at a national or regional meeting prior to the 2016 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 online 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 Christian de Virgilio, MD, FACS,
President-Elect Vincent Rowe, MD, FACS,

Vice-President Ninh Nguyen, MD, FACS,
Secretary-Treasurer J. Craig Collins, MD, FACS,
Recorder Farin Amersi, MD FACS,

Gabriel Akopian, MD, FACS,

Charles F. Brunicardi, MD, FACS,
L. Andrew DiFronzo, MD, FACS,
Joshua D I Ellenhorn, MD, FACS,
Roy Fujitani, MD, FACS,

Melinda Maggard Gibbons, MD, FACS,
Brian Smith, MD, FACS,

Karen Woo, MD, FACS,

Program Chair Sharon Lum, MD, FACS,
Associate Chair Kevork Kazanjian, MD, FACS,

Assistant Chair Lydia Lam, MD,

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

Committee on Trauma Chair
Kenji Inaba, MD, FACS,

Representative, Association of Women Surgeons
Talar Tejirian, MD, FACS,

Young Surgeon Representatives

Maheswari Senthil, MD, FACS, 

Joseph C. Carmichael, MD, FACS,

Executive Director
C. James Dowden,


By Maheswari Senthil, MD, FACS, and Joseph Carmichael, MD, FACS
SCCACS 2016 Young Surgeons Representatives

Maheswari Senthil
Joseph Carmichael

Introduction and Young Surgeons’ Breakfast

The Young Surgeons’ Breakfast is one of the highlights of the SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting in Santa Barbara.  At last year’s highly attended breakfast, young surgeons had the opportunity to exchange ideas and receive valuable career advice from our distinguished guests, Dr. Patricia Numann and Dr David Hoyt.

This year’s event promises to be just as exciting with a planned breakfast session on Saturday morning, January 21st, for surgeons under the age of 45. Our distinguished speakers include Dr. John Holcomb, Chief, Division of Acute Care Surgery UT Houston, Dr. Kathy Magliato, Cardiothoracic Surgeon and author of Heart Matters, and Dr. David Hoyt, Executive Director of the American College of Surgeons, who will be joining the young surgeons for breakfast. At the breakfast, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss their careers and the balance of life and work with these distinguished surgeons.  Please make plans to join us for this highly rated annual event.

Surgical Jeopardy
The Surgical Jeopardy competition will take place on Saturday afternoon at the Annual Scientific Meeting in 2017. Residents from Southern California residency programs will compete for the coveted Dowden Trophy, as well as bragging rights in what should be an educational and highly entertaining event. Four preliminary rounds will pit three residency programs against one another, with the winner of each round advancing to final jeopardy for the tournament of champions. Last year’s competition was extremely close with the team from University of California, Irvine taking the trophy in the Final Jeopardy round. We will be contacting Southern California residency program directors and residents to encourage them to attend the meeting and represent their program in this exciting competition.

Young Surgeons’ Travel Stipend
The SCCACS is again offering the Young Surgeons’ Travel Stipend, which will be awarded on a competitive basis. Last year’s winners were Dr. Dawn Elfenbein (UC Irvine), Dr. Susanne Warner (City of Hope) and Dr. Ali Zarrinpar (UCLA). The purpose of the award is to encourage young practicing surgeons to participate in our local Chapter and/or national American College of Surgeons meetings by providing a stipend of $1200 each to cover meeting attendance expenses. The winners will be announced at the Young Surgeons’ Breakfast on Saturday and must be present to receive the award.

More details and travel stipend applications are posted on the chapter’s website. The deadline for submission is 5pm PST Monday, January 11, 2017. We look forward to seeing you all in Santa Barbara this January!


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

Sharon S. Lum

The Commission on Cancer (CoC), a program of the American College of Surgeons, recognizes cancer care programs for their commitment to providing comprehensive, high-quality, and multidisciplinary patient centered care. The CoC is dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients. At the annual spring meeting in May, the CoC rolled out an exciting five year plan to link the National Cancer Data Base with the four other patient registries managed by the college into a single web-based platform. This massive technological upgrade will allow unprecedented data-sharing, ease of use, and efficiency and will no doubt improve the care of all patients across the nation, surgical, cancer, or otherwise.

The SoCal ACS Chapter Annual Scientific Meeting enjoys the most prolific resident research contributions of any chapter in the country. We will be hosting the annual Physician-In-Training Cancer Research Paper Competition again this year. Selections from the SoCal meeting in January, 2017 will be advanced to the national competition for a chance to win a $1000 prize plus travel to present their research at the annual CoC meeting during the college meeting in October 2017.  Please inspire all trainees to submit their work by the abstract deadline in September for this prestigious award. 

Finally, I encourage everyone to take the 80% by 2018 pledge to get 80% of adults 50 and over screened for colon cancer by 2018. Together we can prevent cancer and save lives.  Learn more at

We will be hosting the annual Cancer Liaison Physicians Meeting during breakfast on Sunday, January 22, 2017 in conjunction with the SoCal ACS Meeting.  Please join us if you would like to learn more about the Commission on Cancer.


By Talar Tejirian, MD, FACS
Representative, Women in Surgery

Talar Tejirian

One of the most anticipated events of the of the annual SCCACS meeting every year is the Annual Women in Surgery Luncheon.  This year we had the pleasure of having a distinguished guest speaker, Dr. Patricia Numann.  Dr. Numann, who served as president of the American College of Surgeons during 2011-2012 and is the founder of the Association of Women Surgeons, gave an informative and engaging talk. We were delighted to have the attendance of so many students, residents, fellows and attending surgeons who, not only learned a great deal, but also had the opportunity to meet and network with other female surgeons from a variety of specialties.

Next year will be the 9th Annual Women in Surgery Luncheon.  It will take place on Saturday, January 21, 2017, during the Annual SCCACS meeting at the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara.  We are very excited to have an amazing and accomplished speaker — Kathy Magliato, MD, MBA, FACS — a cardiac surgeon, entrepreneur, writer, and mother.  She is a cardiothoracic surgeon at Providence Saint John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica, a New York Times bestselling author, and a business woman who holds a cardiac medical device patent.  The fact that Dr. Magliato is the first ever member of the SCCACS invited to speak at our luncheon will make the 2017 event more exceptional.

You won’t want to miss this amazing event! Please make plans now to attend the 9th Annual Women in Surgery Luncheon. Mark your calendars and make sure you RSVP for this event.

New this year is the Southern California ACS Women in Surgery Facebook group.  This is a closed group whose purpose is to facilitate communication and information among female surgeons in Southern California.  It is also a forum where we can all communicate with one another in an informal fashion.  We encourage everyone to join!  Please send me a message via email or Facebook with any questions.


By Kenji Inaba, MD, FACS, FRCSC Chair and
Areti Tillou, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair, SCCACS Committee on Trauma

Kenji Inaba
Areti Tillou

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 2016, we will continue to link submissions for this Paper Competition with abstract submissions for the SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting. Last year, more than 30 outstanding abstracts were submitted, representing all of the Surgery training programs in our region.

Three abstracts were selected for the Region IX Trauma Paper Competition, held in Las Vegas, NV. Our local winners did an outstanding job of representing our region.

1st place – Ara Ko, Cedars Sinai Medical Center “Early propranolol after TBI”

2nd place – Bryan Love, UC Riverside “Intracranial hemorrhage and ICU admission”

3rd place tied – Alexander Schwed, Harbor UCLA “Admission variables predicting outcomes after TBI”

3rd Place tied – Domenech Asbun, Kern Medical Center “Complications of tube thoracostomy”

Region IX Resident Research Competition in LA this year
This year, the Region IX competition will be at USC on December 3, 2016.  We will host the top clinical and basic science papers from CA, NV, AZ and HI at a one day symposium.  We will be accepting submissions for the resident competition at the same time as the SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting. If you would like an abstract considered that will not be submitted to the SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting, please send it directly to my office – contact the office for submission details (323-409-8597).  We are looking forward to having another year where our outstanding Southern California Residents present their state-of-the-art research.

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. 


By Farin Amersi, MD, FACS
Chapter Recorder

Farin Amersi

Thank you J.Craig Collins MD for serving as the Recorder for our Chapter for the last two years.  We are all very grateful for your hard work, and dedication in overseeing the review process, and publication of all the manuscripts.  I am honored to serve as the Recorder for our Chapter for the next two years.

For the 2016 meeting, we received more than 170 abstracts.   Two reviewers were assigned to each manuscript to bring consensus to our peer review process.  As the recorder, I had the opportunity to review all the revised manuscripts and make a decision regarding the acceptance of the manuscript for publication.  We will be publishing 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts for the October 2016 edition of The American Surgeon. Instructions on accessing the journal are on the Chapter’s website.

For the 2017 meeting, I will be continuing the same peer review process for all the manuscripts submitted for publication.  If any of you are interested in being a reviewer, please contact me at


By Sharon Lum, MD, FACS
SCCACS, Program Chair 

On behalf of the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons and President Christian de Virgilio, MD, FACS, I would like to invite you to attend the 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting January 20-22 at the idyllic Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara. Associate Program Chair George Kazanjian, MD, FACS, Assistant Program Chair Lydia Lam, MD, FACS, and I are honored to organize the largest chapter meeting in the country and have been working hard to keep the meeting both educational and entertaining. Cutting edge research will be presented in oral and poster formats alongside a fast-paced session to review What’s New in Vascular, Colon and Rectal, Trauma, Geriatric, Hepatobiliary, and Breast Surgery. Specialty Sessions will provide in depth knowledge for surgeons of all disciplines. CME with Self-Assessment credit will be available for general and specialty sessions to fulfill Maintenance of Certification requirements. And the always popular Surgical Jeopardy Competition will crown the top surgical residency program in Southern California—so come and root for your trainees!

Highlights of the upcoming 2017 Meeting:

  • Special guest David Hoyt, MD, FACS, Executive Director of the American College of Surgeons, will update the Chapter on the activities of the ACS
  • Invited faculty John Holcomb, MD, FACS, Director, Center for Translational Injury Research, Chief, Division of Acute Care Surgery, Vice Chair, Department of Surgery, UT Houston, and Bronze Star recipient will provide the Presidential Keynote Lecture
  • Invited faculty Kathy Magliato, MD, MBA, FACS, Cardiothoracic Surgeon at St. John’s Health Center, Entrepreneur, and inspiration for the NBC drama “Heartbeat,” will be the featured speaker at the Women in Surgery Luncheon
  • Standing room only session, the 9th Annual Resident Surgical Jeopardy Competition, will showcase residencies competing for the Dowden Cup
  • Learn and laugh at the Battle of the Blades, an animated debate on general surgery topics
  • More than 80 new research presentations, including a wine and cheese poster session
  • Rapid review What’s New in Surgery series
  • Young Surgeons’ Breakfast with mentorship from invited faculty
  • Women in Surgery Luncheon
  • Welcome Cocktail Reception for members and family
  • Breakout meetings from the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma and Commission on Cancer and the California Chapter of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
  • Self-assessment CME for Maintenance of Certification available for the general, poster, and specialty sessions

Specialty Sessions include:

  • Colon & Rectal Surgery
  • Cardiothoracic &Vascular Surgery 
  • Surgical Oncology & Breast Surgery
  • Head & Neck Surgery
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Pediatric Surgery
  • Trauma Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive & General Surgery 
  • Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery     

Save the dates Friday, January 20, through Sunday, January 22, 2017.  Click here for online meeting registration and hotel information. The early bird discounted conference registration and room rate deadline is December 15th. However, the Four Seasons room block always sells out, so we strongly encourage you to make your reservations early.    

We hope you will join us at the 2017 SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting to learn, network, and relax in a stunning resort among colleagues and friends. 

We look forward to seeing you in Santa Barbara January 20-22, 2017.