The 9th Annual ASTS Surgical Fellows Symposium in Santa Fe, New Mexico, October 23-25, was notable for two firsts. Attendees took a pilot exam designed by the ASTS Exam Development Group, and ASTS President Charlie Miller delivered his Presidential Address remotely.
Storms and flooding in parts of the country caused travel delays and last-minute schedule changes, but the Hotel Santa Fe provided a warm and welcoming space for the second-year fellows and faculty. Fellows learned about the history of ASTS, living liver donor procedures, donor and recipient matching, how to manage patients with HCC and cholangiopathy, surgical pitfalls, and transplant regulations and quality improvement. They also reviewed case studies over lunches.
One of the highlights of the program was Dr. Charlie Miller’s Presidential Address, given remotely. He talked about professional development, including the impact his own mentors have had on his career and the importance of finding a good mentor to help them achieve their goals. There is a difference between teaching and training, he pointed out, and role models are important. He also showed the well-known Cleveland Clinic video on empathy.
Another highlight was the Career Development Seminar, with established transplant surgeons giving advice to the fellows about how to find the right job, what to do in the first month, and how to choose the right career path for them.
On Saturday morning, fellows and faculty gathered in separate rooms to take the pilot exam. They were given the option of receiving their scores and encouraged to give feedback on the questions. The feedback will be used by the Exam Development Group to refine the questions as part of the development of an exam that aligns with the Certificate of Completion program for future fellows.
Thanks to everyone who made the symposium a success!
Elmahdi A. Elkhammas, MD, MBBS
The Ohio State University
Andre A.S. Dick, MD, MPH
Seattle Children’s Hospital
Benjamin Samstein, MD
New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University