APSA "On Call" - Quarterly Electronic Newsletter


APSA saw a near record-breaking attendance at the 41st annual meeting in Orlando in May where (mostly) beautiful weather greeted the 700+ attendees. This year, the association welcomed 71 new members - including our first group of residents, APSA's newest membership category. Twenty new members were on hand for the induction ceremony in Orlando.

Georgeson with 



International Guest Lecturer, Jan Deprest, with APSA Immediate past president Keith Georgeson.

APSA was also host to a record number of international attendees - nearly 60, representing 22 countries. "The growth of APSA has been spectacular in many ways. This is reflected in the breadth of work done by the highly motivated members of our committees and the programs available at our annual meetings and throughout the year," said APSA president Marshall Schwartz. "This has made it more attractive for residents and young faculty to join APSA and is reflected in a large group of new members inducted this year. In addition, the creation of the international membership category has allowed our international colleagues to join APSA. We are excited by the large number of international attendees and their contributions at our annual meeting this year."

APSA 5K Runners

Winners of the APSA 5K Fun Run


Popular Sessions Draw Praise
Each year, APSA takes information from the meeting evaluations to help develop the next year's programming. The 2010 annual meeting featured several new and back-by-popular-demand sessions and topics, which included:

  • Mac Harmon's Case Debates and Controversies session, back by popular demand
  • New - IPEG session held on the last day of the meeting
  • New technology session comprised entirely of abstract presentations selected for their novel content
  • Pre-test questions and use of audience response system (ARS) at education sessions for ACCME compliance
  • CMEs awarded for invited speaker lectures
  • Current survey results used to structure sessions*
  • Companion Subgroup launchedto better involve spouses and companions in the association. Add your companion's direct e-mail so APSA can send them companion-related information only (never sold or used otherwise). Send your companion contact information to: Aviva Katz (chair of Family and Community Relations Committee) at aviva.katz@chp.edu or John Wesley at wesley.j@comcast.net. This will allow spouses and companions to better plan their time at the annual meeting by receiving annual meeting activity information specific to families' interests.

*APSA would like to thank the membership for their diligent response to various surveys conducted on behalf of several committees.

Presentations Now Available Online

Annual meeting attendees can now access the PowerPoint presentations online. Use your regular APSA login at www.eapsa.org. (Forgot your login? Enter your e-mail address in the login box and click on the "Forgot password?" line under the password box.)


Complete the Annual Meeting Evaluation by July 5. Click here.


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2010 award winners announced

Each year at the annual meeting, the best of the best are presented with a range of awards for their accomplishments. These include Posters of Distinction awards in the areas of basic science and clinical application.

APSA also selects two recipients for the prestigious M. Judah Folkman award. Members of the Training Program Directors and the Program Committees select recipients of these awards in Best Podium Presentation and Best Poster Presentation categories. Both recipients must be residents currently enrolled in an accredited training program.  APSA is pleased to announce the 2010 winners:



Basic Science: Hayden W. Stagg, MD
Matrix Metalloproteinase--9 induces hyperpermeability following traumatic burn injury

Clinical: Diana L. Diesen, MD
Temporal association between blood transfusion and necrotizing enterocolitis in premature infants


Best Podium Presentation: Mehul V. Raval, MD
Pediatric ACS NSQIP: Feasibility of a novel prospective assessment of surgical outcomes - a phase I report

Best Poster Presentation: Allison Speer, MD
Tissue-engineered esophagus is a versatile in vivo mouse model with intact architecture

Congratulations to all winners!

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Surgical tool discontinued; replacement tools noted

In February, APSA learned that surgical tool manufacturer, Linvatec, was discontinuing production of the retractable blade arthroscopy knife. Though originally used by other specialties, the knife had been widely used by pediatric surgeons to cut open the hypertrophied muscle in patients with pyloric stenosis. A letter from then-APSA president Keith Georgeson was sent to the manufacturer notifying them of the use of the tool by pediatric surgeons, and asked them to continue production. Although the tool was ultimately discontinued, pediatric surgeons have found excellent alternatives using other tools.

Some members have reported using a long electrocautery paddle, as well as a beaver blade on a long 2mm handle. Others have switched to a long, insulated paddle bovie at a setting of eight on cutting current. 

If you have other tools that you've found helpful, log in to the member section on the APSA Web site, and post what you're using on the All-Member Discussion Board.

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APSA shows true colors in Military survey

APSA members certainly beat the national average when it comes to having served in the military. A recent survey of APSA members was conducted to better understand the depth, breadth and motivations for serving their country.


One out of every nine APSA members has served or is active in the military.


The high response to the survey reflects the pride APSA members feel. "Survey respondents included 72 combat veterans, four of whom who served in WW II," said survey developer Ken Azarow, MD. When asked how the military impacted their current career, 69 members responded: 5 responded it did not affect them, 8 responded in a negative fashion and 56 responded in a positive fashion. "The interesting point of this is that the positive, negative and neutral responses all gave the same reasons for their response - in short it was that they themselves/their family/or their partners or hospital had to make a personal sacrifice, said Dr. Azarow. "This will eventually be the study's conclusion: that sacrifice is the common theme when serving your country and that APSA does it on a regular basis!"

The study yielded a total of 97 members with military service and a rate of 11.6% for the APSA membership. Based on the trend in census data for national service rates (1980, 1990 and 2000) APSA comes in at twice the national rate. Watch for the full report on the APSA Web site.

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At the APSA annual meeting last month, APSA International Committee member, Marilyn Butler, unveiled the Global Paediatric Surgery Network - the first Web site to act as a "clearinghouse" for pediatric surgeons who want to volunteer abroad: http://globalpaediatricsurgery.org .

The Web site, developed by Dr. Butler of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University, helps pediatric surgeons worldwide find volunteer opportunities and provides resources to make their efforts more effective. "The main goal is matching up the needs of the surgeons in developing countries with the pediatric surgeons who want to volunteer," Butler said.

Using the Web site, pediatric surgeons can plan or join volunteer trips to specific countries or regions where there is a demand for their services. They can post their availability, and individuals and groups from developing countries can post their needs. This new Web site also provides surgeons in these regions with access to a large number of online journals, videos, Webinars and other electronic tools that are relevant to their profession and may be difficult to find where they practice.

...the network could usher in a new wave of global volunteerism
among pediatric surgeons.

Of 362 pediatric surgeons who responded to an International Volunteering survey Butler conducted for APSA last fall, 70 percent said they were interested in doing international volunteer work, but more than half of those said they had never volunteered internationally before. Given this discrepancy, Butler believes the network could usher in a new wave of global volunteerism among pediatric surgeons.

The network contains links to nearly 100 pediatric surgery societies around the world, from Paraguay to Nigeria to Belarus. Prospective volunteers will be able to visit a host of travel-related sites linked to the network to get information such as travel documents, vaccinations and the local culture.

The network also will help volunteers assess the surgical needs of the regions they are visiting. "It is critical to involve the local surgeons with any plans you have to assist. They need to tell you what they want to learn, and you need to make sure they have the skills or the equipment or the facilities that are needed," Butler said.

The Global Paediatric Surgery Network is supported by the Pacific Association of Pediatric Surgeons and Stanford University's Department of Surgery and Division of Pediatric Surgery.


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APSA continues to provide ways for members to earn pediatric surgery-specific CME credits. Since its launch last year, APSA's self assessment program has taken off.  APSA now provides additional paths to CME with the recent availability of Part Two of the Pediatric Surgery Self Assessment Program (PSSAP), with Part Three available in late summer, with each part being worth 10 hours of CME credit. The goal of PSSAP is to provide pediatric surgeons with a broad-based educational experience using current evidence-based literature and practical experience.

Building on that, APSA is also preparing to launch the APSA/Journal of Pediatric Surgery CME program. Members will be notified when the program becomes available, or check the APSA or Journal of Pediatric Surgery Web sites later this summer.


Know someone who'd like to apply for membership?
Click "Send to a Friend" found on the left column of this newsletter.


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Call for Continued Help and Surgical Rotation

After the January 12 earthquake in Haiti left thousands of victims in its wake, nearly 20 APSA members put their lives on hold to travel to Haiti to help its youngest victims. With an estimated 40% of the population of Haiti being under the age of 18, many of the injured were children in need of specialized surgical care.


austere OR

Volunteers operated in austere conditions.
"The first 4 days of our mission, we were operating 22 hours per day, and being ordered to lie down for two hours. It was truly chaos," said Dr. Shawn Safford, of Bethesda, MD, who deployed with the U.S. Naval Ship Comfort to Haiti. "The most difficult part...of the mission was the inability to treat all of the patients, and patients that you had to make expectant would not have been expectant in a less chaotic situation," said Dr. Colin Knight, who came to Haiti as part of a coordinated team from Miami Children's Hospital. "By presenting with an entire team we were able to have a coordinated approach to provide care to the children," he added.

The chaos, austere operating conditions, lack of surgical tools and general anesthesia proved challenging for the medical personnel. Noting the vast difference in standards of care between the United States and the post-earthquake conditions in Haiti, Dr. John Lawrence of Seattle, WA, noted, "The experience has been very challenging, but also very rewarding." Dr. Lawrence spent the month of February in a Port-au-Prince, Haiti hospital run by Doctors Without Borders. "I've worked with both children and adults with lots of amputation revisions, basic open wound management, skin grafting and helping with complex orthopedic work...It is also a testimony to our specialty and the people who have provided training in it to others, for the breadth of experience which APSA has long emphasized as being necessary in becoming a pediatric surgeon...," he added.


APSA board member, Henri Ford, MD, of Children's Hospital - Los Angeles, said, "Participating in the earthquake response efforts was a phenomenal, life-changing experience. We also took care of numerous gunshot wounds." Dr. Ford noted that a major issue they confronted was coordinating long-term follow up for patients who require specific care for fractures or complex wounds, as well as rehabilitation and physical therapy for most of the amputees. Dr. Ford travelled to his native Haiti serving as a member of the DMAT and IMSuRT teams deployed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Echoing Dr. Ford's concern, Dr. Safford says the biggest impact on that community and difficulty in treating the patients is the dire future need for prosthetics. "I encourage all to contact their respective aid agencies and let them know that prostheses are critical to the future survival of these children," he urged. APSA members are now working to form a pediatric surgical volunteer rotation to ensure that the specialized care that pediatric surgeons can provide continues in Haiti.

APSA members were given a glimpse of the experience in Haiti following the earthquake via a photo display at the annual meeting in May. The need for donations and other help continue for the ongoing efforts needed in Haiti. See the APSA Web site for more information.

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APSA congratulates board member and APSA secretary, Diana Farmer, who was inducted into the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCSE) in January. Dr. Farmer, UCSF Children's Hospital Surgeon-in-Chief, became only the second U.S. female surgeon to receive this prestigious honor.

"It gives me great pleasure to inform [you] that at a meeting of Council..., you were elected unanimously a fellow of this College," said RCSE President John Black in a letter to Farmer. "I offer my sincere congratulations on this high honor."

With its origins dating back to the union of the Fellowship of Surgeons and the Company of Barbers by Henry VIII in 1540, the Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care.

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In 2009, the APSA member Web site was completely overhauled, with a new look, and enhanced features and functionality www.eapsa.org .  In tandem, a separate Web site for patients and their families was developed and launched to address their specific needs, as well as a way to find pediatric surgeons in their area www.pediatricsurgeryMD.org . Both sites recently received industry awards underscoring the increased usage and favorable reviews these sites have already enjoyed.

APSA site: Bronze Award
The APSA (member) Web site was recognized by the Association Media and Publishing with a Bronze Award in its 2010 Excel Awards in the Web site Redesign category. The awards honor excellence in publishing products of the association industry. This category is judged on the design, presentation, functionality, accessibility, usability and aesthetic quality.

Family site: Gold Award
Along with the revamp of the APSA site, a separate Web site was also created and launched last year specific to pediatric surgery patients and their families (http://www.pediatricsurgerymd.org ). The Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals selected the APSA Family Web site to receive a GOLD award in its 2010 Hermes Creative Awards, which is presented to those entries judged to exceed the high standards of the industry norm. This is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media. Approximately 3,600 entries were submitted in the 2010 competition. Visit the APSA Family site: http://www.pediatricsurgerymd.org .

The APSA Informatics and Telemedicine Committee has worked diligently to evaluate, update and ultimately develop and launch these now award-winning sites for members and patient families.  Log on to the APSA member site, see what discussions are occurring, update your profile, see the Member Directory (PDF also available) and additional resources.

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Coming soon: A Clinical Trials repository will be available soon on the members-only side of the APSA Web site. The repository, housed in a new Clinical Trials Document Library, will allow members to both post and view current clinical trial information. Once up and running, you can log in to the APSA member site to view discussions, other postings and available documents, review and update your profile and more.

Have member or general pediatric surgery news to share?
E-mail your news to Lisa Kamen at APSA Headquarters 

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