APSA “On Call” – Quarterly Electronic Newsletter


On Call is APSA’s new concise, electronic newsletter designed to bring you the latest news and important information for you and your practice. It will keep you up-to-date on APSA activities, meetings, committee actions, Web site additions, interviews and more.

“This new e-newsletter will help us to more regularly interact with our members using today’s most common form of communication,” said APSA president, Michael R. Harrison. Reinvented from its former annual-report format, the new quarterly e-newsletter is a vibrant new member communication. Each issue will give you the most up-to-date information on what APSA has for you. Watch for your quarterly issue and pass it along to a colleague.

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Annual Meeting Speakers Discuss Prions, Regenerative Medicine, New Techniques

This year’s invited speakers offer new insights for the pediatric surgeon.  Nobel Prize winner and Prion discoverer, Stanley B. Prusiner, MD, will deliver the Robert E. Gross Lecture on the “Designer Prions and a Quest for Therapy.” Giving a surgeon’s perspective on regenerative medicine is Michael T. Longaker, MD. He brings a unique understanding of wound healing, fetal wound healing research, developmental biology and tissue understanding.

From a non-North American perspective, speaker Dr. Marcelo Martinez Ferro, professor of surgery and pediatrics at the Fundacion Hospitalaria Children's Hospital at the University Hospital in Buenos Aires will share the “New Approach to Pectus and Other MIS in Argentina.” As a leader and pioneer in the field of pediatric minimally invasive surgery, Dr. Martinez Ferro will share a global view of new techniques and trends in this modality. Visit the APSA Web site for more information.

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APSA Founders and President Share Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going

When doctors Tom Boles, Lucien Leape and about 90 others interested in pediatric surgery met in Chicago in 1969, they were a small group of pediatric and general surgeons, all involved in advancing this forming specialty. “We wanted to move ahead and get board certification so we would be recognized as a bonafide specialty,” recall APSA co-founder Lucien Leape, MD.  Co-founder Tom Boles, MD, adds, "by 1970, we had training programs and requirements established, so it seemed logical to have an association specifically for the pediatric surgeon."

Pediatric surgeons have faced many challenges and seen many advances through the years. One of the biggest early challenges was patient care; that is, getting newborns to survive. The answer came in the form of advances in supportive care, largely due to ventilation and nourishment.  Those advances led to a fatality rate fall from about 25 percent to approximately five percent. “This rate fall was very exciting overall,” says Dr. Leape.

ImageToday’s progress in the profession comes in the form of minimally invasive surgery, as well as new technologies and information sharing.  “Now we’re essentially in constant contact with each other because of electronic communication,” says APSA President Michael Harrison. “Another wonderful possibility is APSA’s case log, which can become a resource for studying our diseases and needs. This will facilitate the collection of information – not only as a service to members, but now also for Maintenance of Competence and board recertification.”

As APSA prepares to launch its new Web site, communication among pediatric surgeons will only increase the level of care within the specialty. “Just as the case log system will be an immense contribution to our members’ ability to recertify, document Maintenance of Competence, etc., a truly interactive, easy-to-use Web portal is perhaps the biggest contribution to our members,” says Dr. Harrison.

Visit the APSA Web site booth at the annual meeting to test the debuting Member site, as well as the new site exclusively for families and pick up a complimentary APSA Web site MOUSE PAD.

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New APSA Web Site Offers Newest Online Communities; 
All-New Site for Families


At its annual meeting later this month, APSA will showcase its completely revised Web site, featuring the latest technologies to help members interact, form eGgroups, share information effectively, and foster a pediatric surgeon-specific community online.

Now with two unique sites, APSA addresses the distinct needs of both Members and Patients/Families. The member site will remain at www.eapsa.org, but will now feature a fresh look, easier navigation, as well as new modules and add-ons such as an interactive enhanced member directory, eGroups for members to segment and connect with each other, a new resource library for member document sharing, and more. The new site will "go live" at the annual meeting on May 28! In addition, the site will include a direct link to the ACS Case Log System, and a new online Self Assessment Exam.

The Patients/Family site, also going live in late May, is at www.pediatricsurgeryMD.org. It will feature a consumer-friendly design, easy navigation and pediatric surgeon search, current news, in-depth patient education materials, an interactive glossary and more. The Informatics Committee will continue to engage other committees in providing up-to-date content for both sites over the next several months.

Stop at the Internet kiosk area at the annual meeting and try the new APSA sites for yourself. We’ll take you through the member site, help you set up your profile and introduce you to the new features. Come by to pick up your exclusive APSA Web site mouse pad


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Pack Books While You Pack Your Bags: 

 APSA’s generosity extends beyond borders this month with its first-ever Book Drive.  As part of Book 

Picturethe “APSA Gives Back” campaign, the Family & Community Relations Committee is asking all annual meeting attendees to bring new and gently used Spanish-language books appropriate for children ages one through 10. The books will be donated to Centro de Literatura Infantil at HIMA Hospital, Fajardo, Puerto Rico, to support their education and literacy efforts. In lieu of books, monetary donations will also be accepted.  (Checks may be payable to Facultad Medica Hima San Pablo-Fajardo.) The Family & Community Relations Committee hopes this first-ever book drive will become an annual event for APSA in a concerted effort to give back.


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Resume/Profile System Boasts New, Easier Format   

One of the most popular benefits of APSA membership is the targeted Career Center available on the APSA Web site.  In the past, the Career Center has helped many member physicians and companies connect and form successful partnerships. Now the Center’s service has been upgraded, making uploading and posting to the site easier than ever. One of the primary highlights of the new system is that job seekers can now upload their Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat PDF resumes into the system to create their career profile and resume. 

To upload a Microsoft Word document or Adobe Acrobat PDF, all you have to do is click on "Upload a Document" and simply attach your file. See the APSA Web site for more information.

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APSA Directory Goes Green in ‘09

The next time you look for a colleague’s contact information, just click. In an effort to “go green,” and take advantage of the technology offering real-time updates, the 2009 ASPA member directory will now be online through the new “directory 2.0” on the APSA Web site. It will no longer be printed with your annual meeting Final Program. The directory's new platform will allow you to connect with members in many useful and unique ways.

The enhanced format will allow fast member data retrieval, and the ability to contact, interact and share information immediately. New e-Groups can be formed with colleagues of your choice, committee work can be viewed and collaborated on, and information can be shared using the Web site’s new interactive modules.

The online directory will allow APSA to save trees, as well as printing and shipping costs. It’s a win-win for APSA members, so get ready to log on: www.eapsa.org.

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Survey Says... Satisfaction, New Trends, Plans for Pediatric Surgery’s Future

The APSA Task Force on Family Issues conducted its first-ever Family Issues Survey in an effort to make APSA more family-friendly and address some of the issues facing pediatric surgeons and their families. The survey was created for the pediatric surgeon along with a version for his/her partner. Surveys were distributed electronically before and after the annual meeting and in person last year in Phoenix.  The results are both expected and surprising and give us a roadmap for addressing the future of the pediatric surgery specialty.

The survey elicited an impressive response with a total of 282 surgeons and 80 partners participating, uncovering some important and provocative trends.  Out of the 282 surgeons, most respondents were male (80%) and the majority were between the ages of 40 and 60.  Approximately half were married with children and practiced full time clinically or in an academic/research setting.  Of the 80 partners who responded, most were female with 36% working professionally full time and 25% working full time as homemakers.

In addition to the success of the survey, the results of the survey revealed some imperfections.  As documented in the data, only 55% responded that their household consisted of a spouse and children, immediately confirming a future need to reach out to all household compositions.  Furthermore, those who do not have children in the household could still have had children, but not living at home. The majority of the questions may not have been applicable to at least half of all respondents so the data recorded is not an accurate account of all APSA members.

Data & Trends
The most outstanding response from the survey was the fact that 96% of pediatric surgeons reported being happy with their career choice.  In addition, only 4% reported divorce, with 87% of respondents currently married. These figures may be underestimated since some who have been divorced and remarried were coded as married or remarried. Nonetheless, these data are in stark contrast to survey results obtained for general surgeons. Furthermore, since so many members are relatively satisfied, it is especially important to pay attention to and address any reported concerns.

Several challenges regarding family/lifestyle issues were discovered throughout this process. Only 6% of respondents strongly believe they balance familial and professional responsibilities well, and only 2% of pediatric surgeons report that their program directors spoke to them about achieving this balance. Fifty eight percent are still working between 60 and 80 hours a week during practice, with 30% working more than 80 hours, the maximum set for current residents in training.  Only 5% reported practicing part time and more than half are working between one and four nights weekly. Of those listing themselves as part time, nine were male and five were female.  Eight of the men are older than 60 years of age (pre-baby boomer), vs. only one woman.  The other man is in his 50s (baby boomer).  Of the four remaining women, one is between 30 and 39 years old (generation X), two are in their 40s (cuspers), and one is a baby boomer.  All four of the women have children. This data supports the assumption that some surgeons "slow down" before going into retirement, and younger women with children are more likely to select part-time careers.

Furthermore, more than 75% did not take any time off during training or practice for maternity, paternity, or adoption leave. Again, this figure is not 100% accurate since we do not know, for example, how many people would have liked to take time off during training and what their reasons were for not doing so. Some commented it was a known fact that pregnancy was not tolerated and many colleagues were unsupportive and unrealistic of leaves of that nature.

These results will be important to share with training programs to help enhance the quality of life while training and envisioning a life in pediatric surgery that provides a life-work balance. 

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  Your APSA Staff -- Making Membership Smooth

Did you ever wonder who plans the annual meeting — rooms, speakers, outings? How do you get your APSA mail? Who’s coordinating all the committees’ work— minutes, conference calls and action items? Your APSA staff supports APSA’s 700+ pediatric surgeon members and are listed below. Contact the office anytime:

APSA Headquarters
111 Deer Lake Road, Suite 100
Deerfield, IL 60015
Phone: 847-480-9576
Fax: 847-480-9282
E-mail: eapsa@eapsa.org   

APSA Staff
Lee Ann Clark, Executive Director, Ext. 220
Marina Petrulla, Administrative Director, Ext. 356
Jacky Schweinzger, Conference Director, Ext. 233
Chris Viglione, Conference Administrator, Ext. 275
Lisa Kamen, Marketing Communications Manager, Ext.362

Visit our NEW and improved Web site, debuting at the annual meeting on May 28: www.eapsa.org and the all-new APSA Web site for families: www.pediatricsurgeryMD.org  

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