2017 SCCACS Newsletter

Southern California Chapter
American College of Surgeons
SCCACS Summer Newsletter 2017 — Vol. 22

Table of Contents


Vincent Rowe

By Vincent Rowe, 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 Christian de Virgillio, MD, FACS, and our Program Chair Sharon Lum, 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 19-21, 2018. 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 15, 2017). 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) 969-2261 and mention the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons to take advantage of the discounted rate.

Edward Cornwell

I am pleased to announce that one of our invited faculty will be Edward Cornwell III, MD FACS, FCCM. Dr. Cornwell is the LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr.  Professor and Chairman of Surgery, and Surgeon-in-Chief at Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC. Dr. Cornwell is a world-renowned trauma surgeon and also serves as the Secretary of the American College of Surgeons.  He will provide an inspiring 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.

Patricia Turner

The speaker for the Women in Surgery Luncheon will be Patricia Turner, MD, FACS.  Dr.  Turner is the director of the Division of Member Services at the American College of Surgeons and a clinical associate professor of surgery at The University of Chicago Medicine. A fellowship-trained minimally invasive and laparoscopic surgeon, Dr. Turner is a delegate to the AMA from the American College of Surgeons, the immediate past chair of the AMA Council on Medical Education, and the immediate past president of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons.

Program Highlights
Program Chair Kevork Kazanjian, MD, FACS, Associate Program Chair Lydia Lam, MD, FACS, and Assistant Program Chair Angela Neville, 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 sub-specialties, as well as those of surgeons-in-training. We will have specialty section sessions in Pediatric Surgery, General Surgery, Surgical Oncology, Cardiothoracic, Vascular, Plastic/Head & Neck, 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 Colorectal, Hernia, Critical Care, Palliative Care, Oncology, and Acute Care 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. For the 10th year, 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 2017.

The California Chapter of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery will be having a business meeting during the SCCACS meeting weekend. 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 Friday, September 15th. 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
I am 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 19-21, 2018. 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 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting program participation are being accepted through close of business on Friday, September 15th. 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 2017 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 Vincent Rowe, MD, FACS,
President-Elect Ninh Nguyen, MD, FACS,

Vice-President J. Craig Collins, MD, FACS,
Secretary-Treasurer Kenji Inaba, MD, FACS,
Recorder Sharon Lum, MD FACS,


Gabriel Akopian, MD, FACS,
Peyman Benharash, MD, FACS,
L. Andrew DiFronzo, MD, FACS,
Roy Fujitani, MD, FACS,
Melinda Maggard Gibbons, MD, FACS,
Dennis Y. Kim, MD FACS,
Brian Smith, MD, FACS,
Areti Tillou, MD, FACS,
Karen Woo, MD, FACS,

Christian de Virgilio, MD, FACS,
O. Joe Hines, MD, FACS,
Shirin Towfigh, MD, FACS,

Program Chair Kevork Kazanjian, MD, FACS,
Associate Chair Lydia Lam, MD, FACS,

Assistant Chair Angela Neville, MD, FACS

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

Committee on Trauma Co-Chairs
Kenji Inaba, MD, FACS,
Areti Tillou, MD, FACS,

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

Young Surgeon Representatives
Maheswari Senthil, MD, FACS, 

Daniel Shouhed, MD, FACS,

Executive Director
C. James Dowden,


By Maheswari Senthil, MD, FACS, and Danny Shouhed, MD, FACS
SCCACS 2017 Young Surgeons Representatives

Maheswari Senthil
Danny Shouhed

Introduction and Young Surgeons’ Breakfast

Southern California Chapter ACS strongly supports young surgeon’s career development through various activities throughout the year and during the annual meeting.   The Young Surgeons’ Breakfast is one of such activity and is a key highlight 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. Kathy Magliato and Dr. David Hoyt.

This year’s event promises to be just as exciting with a planned breakfast session on Saturday morning, January 20th, for surgeons under the age of 45. At the breakfast, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss health care policies, career planning and work/life balance with the 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 2018. 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. Preliminary rounds will pit 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 exciting with the team from University of California, Irvine taking the trophy in the Final Jeopardy round for the second time in a row. 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. The recipients of the 2017 Young Surgeon Travel Stipends were Dr. Jukes Namm (Loma Linda), Dr. Karen Zaghiyan (Cedars-Sinai) and to Dr. Nimmi Kapoor (private practice). 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 5:00 pm PST Tuesday, January 9, 2018. We look forward to seeing you all in Santa Barbara this January!


Sharon S. Lum

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

The mission of the Commission on Cancer (CoC), a program of the American College of Surgeons, is to improve survival and quality of life for cancer patients by recognizing cancer programs for their commitment to providing comprehensive, high-quality, and multidisciplinary patient centered care. At the annual CoC spring meeting held in Chicago this past May, themes of value based care dominated discussion. Similar to the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, the newly minted National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer, structured around evidence-based processes of rectal cancer care, is currently reviewing the results of its first six pilot program surveys prior to accepting further applications. The CoC is continuing the process to link the National Cancer Data Base with the trauma, pediatric, and bariatric databases managed by the college along with the Surgeon Specific Registry in a single platform to allow unprecedented data-sharing and ease of use.

At the 2018 SoCal ACS Chapter Annual Scientific Meeting, we will again be hosting the annual Physician-In-Training Cancer Research Paper Competition. The 2017 winner was Dr. Nicholas Manguso of Cedars-Sinai. His paper was entitled, “Prognostic Factors Associated with Outcomes in Small Bowel Neuroendocrine Tumors.” Selections from the SoCal meeting in January 2018 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 2018.  Please inspire all trainees to submit their work by the abstract deadline in September for this prestigious award.

The annual Cancer Liaison Physicians Meeting will be held during breakfast on Sunday, January 21, 2018 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, Association of Women Surgeons

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, Kathy Magliato, MD, MBA, FACS.  Dr. Magliato, a cardiac surgeon, entrepreneur, writer, and mother was the first ever member of the SCCACS invited to speak at our luncheon.  Her talk on leadership entitled Leading with Your Heart was 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 10th Annual Women in Surgery Luncheon.  It will take place on Saturday, January 20, 2018, during the Annual SCCACS meeting at the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara.  We are very excited to have an amazing and accomplished speaker – Patricia Turner, MD, FACS who is the director of the Division of Member Services at the American College of Surgeons and a clinical associate professor of surgery at The University of Chicago Medicine.  A fellowship -trained minimally invasive and laparoscopic surgeon, Dr. Turner is a delegate to the AMA from the American College of Surgeons, the immediate past chair of the AMA Council on Medical Education, and the immediate past president of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons.  With her background in surgical leadership, there is no doubt that her talk entitled Success Becomes Her: Career Development and Growth will offer unprecedented advice to enhance our careers.

You won’t want to miss this amazing event! Please make plans now to attend the 10th Annual Women in Surgery Luncheon. Mark your calendars and make sure you RSVP for this event.

Don’t forget to join 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, 
Areti Tillou, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair, SCCACS Committee on Trauma,
Elizabeth Benjamin, MD, FACS Vice-Chair, SCCACS Committee on Trauma,
Eric Ley, MD FACS Vice-Chair, SCCACS Committee on Trauma

Kenji Inaba
Areti Tillou
Elizabeth Benjamin
Eric Ley

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.

Elizabeth Benjamin (LAC+USC Medical Center) and Eric Ley (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) have joined the Committee on Trauma as new Vice Chairs for our Region.

For 2017, we will continue to link submissions for this Paper Competition with abstract submissions for the SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting. Last year, more than 20 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 on December 3, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA at the LAC+USC Medical Center. Our local winners did an outstanding job of representing our region.

Theresa Chan, UCSD Winner, Basic Science

James Becker, UC Davis, Runner Up, Basic Science

Rachel Hogen, USC, Winner, Clinical

James Brill, Naval Medical Center SD, Runner Up, Clinical

2017 Region IX Resident Research Competition in Hawaii
This year, the Region IX competition will be in Honolulu in December 8, 2017.  The competition will host the top clinical and basic science papers from CA, NV, AZ and HI at a one day symposium. Specific details will be announced closer to the event. 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 Jackie Stout 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

For the 2017 meeting, we received more than 150 abstracts. Two reviewers were assigned to each manuscript to bring consensus to our peer review process. In addition to the reviewers, 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 38 peer-reviewed manuscripts for the October 2017 edition of The American Surgeon. Instructions on accessing the journal are on the Chapter’s website.

For the 2018 meeting, we will be continuing the same peer review process for all the manuscripts submitted for publication.  Sharon Lum, MD from Loma Linda University, will be transitioning to the position of the Recorder for SCACS.  If any of you are interested in being a reviewer, please contact Dr. Lum at


The Certifying Examination (CE) Review Course will be offered January 11-15, 2018 in Santa Barbara at the Montecito Inn, prior to the ACS Southern California Chapter meeting. Courses are limited to 16 participants each and generally fill-up quickly. Surgeons who have not passed the certifying examination (CE) or senior residents or fellows who anticipate difficulty with the certifying examination will receive individual feedback from national faculty on their oral skills and knowledge base.

The full description and registration information are available online. For more information, contact Dr. Pamela Rowland at


By Kevork Kazanjian, MD, FACS
SCCACS, Program Chair 

Kevork Kazanjian

On behalf of the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons and President Vincent Rowe, MD, FACS, I would like to invite you to attend the 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting January 19-21 at the idyllic Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara. Associate Program Chair Lydia Lam, MD, FACS, Assistant Program Chair Angela Neville, 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 high-yield sessions to review What’s New in Colorectal, Hernia, Critical Care, Palliative Care, Oncology and Acute Care 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 2018 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 Edward Cornwell III, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief, Professor and Chairman of Surgery, Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC, will deliver the Presidential Keynote Lecture
  • Invited faculty Patricia Turner, MD, FACS, director of the Division of Member Services at the American College of Surgeons and a Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at The University of Chicago Medicine, will be the featured speaker at the Women in Surgery Luncheon
  • Standing room only session, the 10th Annual Resident Surgical Jeopardy Competition, will showcase all southern California 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
  • Plastic / Head & Neck Surgery
  • Pediatric Surgery
  • Trauma Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive & General Surgery
  • Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery   

Save the dates Friday, January 19, through Sunday, January 21, 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 2018 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 19-21, 2018.