Southern Association for Vascular surgery
Spring 2022 Newsletter

Vascular Specialist

2022 President's Message

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Gilbert R. Upchurch Jr. MD
William A. Marston, MD

Fellow members, colleagues and friends,

It is a distinct honor and pleasure to speak to you as the 45th President of our Society. As would be expected given the unprecedented conditions associated with the global pandemic, the last year has been extremely challenging for the SAVS as it has for all medical societies. A few months before our Annual Meeting, the options available to the society all appeared poor, with no certain path to hold a meeting at all, virtual, hybrid or other. At that point, our obligation to the hotel and other financial commitments related to an in-person meeting would have resulted in a severe financial loss that might have been crippling for the association. However, due to tireless work and negotiation, our partners at PRRI along with Secretary/Treasurer Jordan and Past-President Upchurch were able to develop a plan for a hybrid meeting at the Westin Kierland in Scottsdale, AZ that provided a workable solution.

This option was made possible primarily by the just-in-time rollout of vaccinations for most members who attended in person, as well as extensive work by the Program Committee led by Justin Hurie, the CME committee led by Matt Corriere and of course Secretary/Treasurer Jordan. I cannot complement these individuals enough as the last-minute transformation to a hybrid meeting is complicated and entails significant risk. April Abenilla and PRRI expertly managed the transition to an interactive on-line meeting with recorded presentations and live Q/A sessions that were generally seamless maintaining a feel in the vein of our typical in-person meetings. Excellent scientific information was presented complemented by the spirited discussions of this information for which the Southern is known. In total, 47 physician members and 19 spouse/guests attended the meeting in person and 189 attended virtually. The 2021 Founder’s award went to Dr. John J. Squiers from Baylor Scott & White for his paper entitled “Machine Learning Analysis of Multispectral Imaging and Clinical Risk Factors to Predict Amputation Wound Healing”. The Timothy String Presidential Award for the best overall presentation at the 2020 Annual Meeting was presented to Dr. Salvatore Scali and colleagues at the University of Florida for the presentation “The Intricate Association between Case Volume and Years of Practice Experience on Open AAA Repair”.

Dr. Corriere and the CME committee developed an innovative postgraduate symposium entitled “Competing, Collaborating and Negotiating Across Practice Areas and Environments” designed to inform attendees on methods of developing successful practices in specific areas such as hemodialysis access, venous disease, aortic disease and PAD. These sessions were complemented by excellent talks on practice management and a final lecture by Dr. Julie Frieschlag on Advocacy and Negotiation within Large Healthcare Systems that conveyed her wealth of experience in this area.

Past-President Upchurch invited Dr Frieschlag to deliver the Jesse E Thompson MD distinguished Guest Lecture entitled “Leading When Everyone is Watching”. Her discussion was particularly relevant given that the challenges of the pandemic come with no playbook to guide leadership in navigating the crisis. Her approach is both informative and inspiring, emphasizing inclusivity and mutual support of colleagues and staff to ensure stress is identified and support provided when needed.

Dr. Upchurch’s Presidential address, entitled “Grit Matters in Vascular Surgery” drilled down into the core of what it means to be a vascular surgeon. While true grit is a useful characteristic in many medical specialties it is a requirement for the full-service vascular surgeon. Dr. Upchurch’s perceptive definition of grit, how it defines us and supports us in our professional and personal lives, was accurate and revealing. The vignettes of 3 female vascular surgeons discussing “true grit” are truly inspiring - I strongly recommend his address to you...

Due to the ongoing concerns of the pandemic the annual mock oral examinations were moved from in person to virtual. Again, complements to Recorder David Cull for his extensive efforts to manage this transformation to a virtual platform and to the 30 SAVS members who committed the time and energy to serve as faculty. Held on February 13th, 29 Examinees completed the examination.

At the annual members’ business meeting, Secretary/Treasurer Jordan completed his term and was installed as President-Elect of the Association. Dr. Jordan, who has worked tirelessly throughout his term for the betterment of the SAVS should be heartily congratulated for his efforts on behalf of the society over the last 5 years. It has often been stated that the Secretary/Treasurer provides the backbone of the SAVS and Dr. Jordan has been as strong a backbone as the SAVS has had.

We must also recognize the continued support of our industry partners who remained committed to the SAVS despite the small in-person attendance and the limited contact necessary during the pandemic. In particular, our five (5) sponsors, Gore & Associates, Inc., Cook Medical, Medtronic, Boston Scientific and Endologix, should be congratulated for their dedication to the Association during these challenging times.

The 2022 Annual meeting of the SAVS will be held January 19-22 at the Eau Palm Beach in Manalapan, FL. This is a spectacular resort that will provide an outstanding venue for what we strongly hope will be a return to our standard in-person meetings. The room rate has been reserved at $399/night plus tax. As we all look forward to the return to meetings that will allow us to share ideas, renew friendships, debate practice specifics, I hope that you will make your plans to attend.

Finally, it is a singular honor to serve as the SAVS President. I wish you a safe and healthy remainder of 2021 and look forward to seeing you in January in beautiful and hopefully post-pandemic Florida.