What's Your Perspective?

How Do I Get on an ASTS Committee?

The American Society of Transplant Surgeons is our organization. It exists because of the dedication of transplant surgeons, physicians, and other transplant professionals, who work together with the highly skilled staff of the ASTS to support our primary goal: to advance the field of transplant surgery through leadership, advocacy, education, and training. While there are several organizations working on issues related to organ transplantation, the surgical perspective, particularly as it relates to training and advocacy, is uniquely represented by the ASTS.

If we did not have members who wanted to be involved, the organization would cease to exist. Maintaining your membership in the ASTS and attending the Winter Meeting (January 26-29, 2017) are essential to being engaged. However, many of you may be ready to increase your participation in the ASTS by joining one of the many committees responsible for the carrying out the Society’s mission. However, you may not be entirely clear on how the ASTS committee process works. Below is a list of common questions you may have as well as a description of the main duties of the various committees. If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Dr. Julie Heimbach 
 Ellie Proffitt  Diane Mossholder
Julie Heimbach, chair, Communications Committee Heimbach.julie@mayo.edu Ellie Proffitt, staff liaison, Nominating Committee ellie.proffitt@asts.org Diane Mossholder, staff liaison, Communications Committee diane.mossholder@asts.org

Q: When does the committee nominations process take place?

A: The committee nominations period varies from year to year, depending on when ATC takes place. Nominations will open several months prior to ATC. All ASTS members will receive notification via email when nominations open.  In 2017, nominations will open in early January.

Q: How does the nominations process work?

A: Once nominations are open, members can nominate either themselves or one of their peers for a committee position. Nominations are made through Survey Monkey. Nominations stay open for several weeks, then close to allow time for appointments to be made prior to ATC. All nominees are notified either way via email a few weeks later, and new committee members begin their appointments during the Business Meeting at ATC.

Q: How are committee appointments made?

A: Committee appointments are made at the discretion of the current ASTS president. The president considers all nominations before making appointments. The top 6 committee choices are indicated on the nomination form, and a great deal of effort is made to place nominees in their first choice; however, this is not always possible, and the president tries to place each person in a committee where their strengths can be put to the best possible use.  Typically, there are more nominees than committee slots, so you may not be selected when you are initially nominated. Last year, there were 146 people nominated for 73 open positions.

Q: How are committee chair and co-chair appointments made?

A: Committee co-chairs (similar to vice-chair) are usually selected from current members of the committee. If a person currently on a committee would like to be considered for the co-chair position, there is space to indicate this in the nomination form. Committee co-chairs usually move into the chair position when the chair slot is open.

Q: How long do committee appointments last?

A: Committee chairs and members all serve 3-year terms. Co-chairs are appointed for one-year terms but may be reappointed for up to 3 years.

Q: Does it help if there multiple nominations for the same person, and does it matter who nominates you?

A: It is not necessary for multiple people to nominate the same person for a committee appointment. Only one nomination is necessary for the president to consider someone for a position, and typically the qualifications of the nominee and the needs of the committee are the most important factors.

ASTS Committees

Advanced Transplant Provider: To decrease the geographical barriers between providers and allow for a close, strong, supportive community to exist. Monthly conference calls.

ATC Planning: Charged with ensuring that the meeting provides exceptional educational objectives and provides a forum for exchange of new scientific and clinical information.

Business Practice Services: Assists ASTS members in understanding the business aspect of transplantation and helps them keep up with national trends in transplant practice management. Monthly calls (sometimes more frequent) and in-person meeting at ATC.

Bylaws: To maintain and update the bylaws of the ASTS to accurately reflect the purpose, structure and function of the organization. Calls as needed and in-person meeting at ATC.

Cellular Transplant: To promote the advancement of research and clinical applications in cellular transplantation and regenerative medicine, while serving as an advisory expert panel for the ASTS Council in cell transplant-related issues. Monthly conference calls and in-person meeting at ATC.

CME: To provide support to members of ASTS to allow for their educational growth and development in service to patients, the public, and the ASTS. Monthly conference calls with in-person meeting at ATC and sometimes the Winter Symposium.

Communications:  To act as an avenue by which the Society conveys information to the membership and transplant community on issues regarding transplantation science and medicine through the ASTS website, the ASTS newsletter (the Chimera), scientific journals, and e-mail communications. Monthly conference calls with in-person meeting at ATC.  

Curriculum: To develop and implement the National Transplant Surgery Fellowship Curriculum to provide a structured educational and training framework for abdominal transplant surgery fellowship. Monthly conference calls.

Diversity Issues: To ensure balanced representation among under-represented and underserved minorities specific to organ donation and transplantation. Monthly conference calls and in-person meeting at ATC.

Ethics: Charged with considering ethical issues related to transplantation and organ donation. Conference calls as needed and in-person meeting at ATC.

Fellowship Training: To ensure that the highest standards of clinical, professional, and scientific excellence are passed to future generations of transplant surgeons.  The FTC governs accreditation and oversight of surgical training programs in abdominal transplantation, and strives to provide benchmarks and guidance in order to facilitate high quality training across the United States and Canada. Monthly conference calls and in-person meeting at ATC.

Grants Review: To support basic, clinical, and translational research performed in transplantation. The Committee will review and award applications for ASTS grants that support research performed by ASTS members, their trainees and collaborators. The Committee is responsible for providing advice, education and resources to trainees and members who are applying for funding from the broad range of granting organizations. . Conference calls as needed and in-person meeting at ATC.

Legislative: To advise Congress and related federal agencies on decisions that influence the practice and science of transplantation by educating Members of Congress and advocating for new legislation, appropriations matters, and changes to existing laws and regulations for the benefit of patients, transplant surgeons, and society. Monthly conference calls and in-person meeting at ATC.

Living Donation: Outline best practices to improve the safety and long-term care of the living donor, as well as develop informational materials to better inform potential donors and recipients on living donation. Conference calls as needed and in-person meeting at ATC.

Membership and Workforce: Charged with the monthly review process for all new member applications and a focus on workforce needs, IMG experiences, and other issues impacting the membership. Calls as needed and in-person meeting at ATC.

Reimbursement and Regulatory Compliance: Charged with helping the ASTS membership optimize professional reimbursement by understanding the issues and being part of the solution, reviewing all new and pending regulations relevant to physician reimbursement, and drafting comments that can be submitted to specific organizations or government agencies on behalf of ASTS. Monthly conference calls and in-person meeting at ATC.

Scientific Studies: Explores basic science and clinical issues in the field of transplantation and aims to facilitate the dissemination of information regarding opportunities for collaboration in clinical studies. Monthly calls and in-person meetings at ATC and other ASTS events.

Standards and Quality: To educate the membership about quality, standards, policies, and regulations, and to promote the development of high standards and quality in organ procurement, transplantation, patient safety, and performance improvement. Monthly calls (sometimes more frequent) and in-person meeting at ATC.

Thoracic Organ Transplant: To propose and/or facilitate clinical and research initiatives aimed at increasing the number of thoracic organ transplants performed annually in the U.S. and improving the quality of life following heart/lung transplantation. Monthly conference calls and in-person meeting at ATC.

Vanguard: To encourage involvement in the activities and initiatives of the ASTS by its junior members by providing opportunities for interactions between the Society’s leadership and its newer members, thus increasing the cohesive nature of the society. Conference calls as needed and in-person meeting at the Winter Symposium.

Vascularized Composite Allograft (VCA): To maintain position papers to advise funding and regulatory agencies on the proper development of this complex field: To promote balanced scientifically sound investigation and career development in VCA, educate the membership about regulations and policies as they are being developed for VCA, and foster a place for professionals interested in VCA. Conference calls every other month and in-person meeting at ATC.

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