It is truly an honor to have been asked by the current ASTS leadership to make a few remarks on the seminal importance of supporting the ASTS Foundation and the objective to not only strengthen our Society, but to foster and support the future leaders of transplantation. When I was President of the ASTS in 1999, one of my goals was to embrace the younger members and future leaders of our profession and Society, in order to integrate them fully into our activities, direction, and vision. To that end, we initiated a focused campaign to recruit younger candidates to the ASTS and formed a standing committee comprising members who had been in the Society for less than three years, named the Vanguard Committee. Since its inception, actions by the Vanguard Committee have been integral to the growth of the ASTS and directly led to the creation of the Winter Symposium, which has been extremely successful in advancing basic and clinical transplantation research and has served as a progressive scientific forum for our members for nearly two decades.
To expand on these and so many other accomplishments that the ASTS has championed in transplantation science, clinical care, and the mentoring and support of our younger members, we all need to give serious consideration to help the ASTS Foundation grow. The goal is to raise $20M by 2020, which will allow our Society to continue to flourish and become self-sustaining despite the current climate of decreased funding of surgeon-scientists that has had an impact on our specialty as well as many others.
As successful as the Vanguard Committee has been in fostering the academic goals of young transplant surgeons, I believe the ASTS Foundation campaign will be just as, if not more, successful in ushering in a new era and taking our Society and its members to a completely new level. I urge you all to give serious consideration toward making contributions to this extremely worthy cause.