Southern Association for Vascular surgery

2020 President's Message

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W.
W. Charles Sternbergh, III MD
Now in its 44th year, the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery continues to be a thriving, robust organization. The time-tested amalgam of excellent science, protected time to spend socially with friends and family, and superior venues is the “secret sauce” that makes the SAVS the premier regional vascular surgery organization. The attractiveness of our group is reflected in the growing membership; we welcomed 26 new members to the 349 active members the Association in 2019. Impressively, 27% of these new members are women, reflecting the embrace of diversity in the SAVS.

The 2019 Annual Meeting in Boca Raton, FL was a great success, with near record attendance. 173 abstracts were received for consideration of 36 oral presentations, making this meeting amongst the most competitive ever. It should be no surprise that the SAVS consistently has amongst the highest acceptance rate to the Journal of Vascular Surgery of any regional or national vascular society. As Chair of the program committee, Ali Azizzadeh did an outstanding job in putting together a superior program. Two highlights of the plenary sessions are always the awards for best overall presentation and best trainee paper. The 2019 Founder’s award went to Thomas E Reeve, IV from Wake Forest, for his presentation “Outpatient grip strength measurement predicts survival, perioperative adverse events, and non-home discharge among patients with vascular disease.” The Timothy String Presidential Award for the best overall presentation at the 2018 annual meeting was presented to Ester Mihindu from Ochsner Clinic for her paper “Urgent carotid intervention in patients with minor to moderate strokes (NIHSS <10) performed after 48 hours results in greater functional independence at discharge.”

The post graduate program on “Safer surgery: improving patient selection and rescue of complications” was the best attended I can remember. CME chair Jim Black and his committee deserve applause. Clearly, the membership has embraced the educational value of a focused conference on important clinical controversies, providing a nice compliment to the peer-reviewed papers later in the meeting.

The mock oral exams were again well attended, providing our next generation of vascular surgeons with an invaluable opportunity to hone their clinical decision making (and prepare for the Boards !) as they prepare to enter practice. 29 examinees were questioned by 30 examiners. This core educational opportunity could not be possible without the enthusiastic support of our members who take an extra day off from busy practices to act as examiners. Organizing this activity is a major undertaking. Thanks to our Recorder David Cull for making it all go smoothly. Finally, I’d like to acknowledge the important sustained support of W.L. Gore for this educational initiative.

Our immediate past president, Matt Edwards, made a fabulous choice in selecting Richard H. Dean as the Jesse E Thompson Distinguished Guest Lecturer. Dr Dean is known internationally for his pioneering work in renovascular hypertension. His lecture on “Controversies surrounding renovascular disease: Lost lessons from the past” did not disappoint.

Will Jordan continues to do a superlative job as the Association’s Secretary-Treasurer. Well understood by the executive council, but perhaps less so by the general membership, is the central importance (and considerable work demanded) of this 5-year position in the SAVS. The Secretary-Treasurer provides the institutional memory and the steady guiding hand for our Association. Next time you see Will, thank him for his service to the SAVS.

Pivoting to our 2020 meeting, please mark your calendars for January 8-11 at The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL. This is an extraordinary lovely property, even by SAVS standards, and will not disappoint. Given that our room rate of $389 represents a 65% savings off the $1100 rack rate, our block will fill quickly. Don’t miss out.

It is an immense honor to be your 43rd president of the SAVS. Like so many of you, this is my favorite meeting. I look forward to seeing you in Palm Beach.