A Year of Accomplishments – My Farewell Message
Dear STS Member,
This past January, you elected me as your Society’s 52nd President. I started my year by thinking big and urging everyone around me to think big. You can’t think small if you want to make progress. As a result, the Society—with assistance from hundreds of very dedicated members—has made great strides toward helping cardiothoracic surgery professionals worldwide improve quality and provide even better patient care.
The 2016 STS Strategic Plan called for the Society to Lead Innovation and Education, Foster Collaboration and Connection, and Advance Quality. I believe that we are better in those areas today than we were a year ago.
Among the actions we took to Lead Innovation and Education was unveiling a new format for Tech-Con that allows presentations on new devices and technologies that are not yet in the mainstream. We also enhanced the STS learning management system and increased the number of standalone education programs offered; not only will the Society conduct its first standalone robotic surgery program this spring, but we also are planning the first ever STS/EACTS cardiac surgery meeting in Latin America. The meeting will be held in Cartagena, Colombia, in September and will focus on valvular, ischemic, and thoracic aortic diseases, as well as heart failure and new technologies.
Our work with leaders from the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery and local groups in Latin America to develop programming for the September course spills into our second strategic plan goal—to Foster Collaboration and Connection. I’ve been traveling around the world for almost my entire life, and I’ve had the good fortune of meeting with colleagues on six continents. Over the past year, I’ve traveled on behalf of the Society—and you—to sister organization meetings in the US, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, the UK, Turkey, and China. I’ve spent time with and formed deeper relationships with members of EACTS, the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the Chinese Society for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, the Asian Society for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, the Australian & New Zealand Society of Cardiac & Thoracic Surgeons, and the American College of Cardiology, among others.
No matter where I’ve traveled, I’ve been impressed by my colleagues and their single-minded commitment to better patient care. STS’s third strategic goal is to Advance Quality, and one way that we’ve moved that initiative forward over the past year was by enhancing the STS National Database. With more than 6 million patient records and regular participant outcomes reports that include benchmark comparisons, the STS National Database arguably is the most robust and useful quality improvement tool for cardiothoracic surgery teams worldwide. Within the next few months, Database participants will start to see these changes, which include continuous harvesting, a reporting dashboard, and new thoracic aortic fields. These new fields are extremely important as we expand treatment options for our patients.
The above accomplishments are just a few highlights from this past year. I hope you regularly take the time to read STS News and other communications the Society offers. They are the best ways to learn about new member offerings and upcoming programs. And never hesitate to reach out and provide your feedback at marketing [at] sts [dot] org. STS is our Society. It exists to help us do the best job possible so that our patients live longer and better quality lives.
It was an honor to serve you this past year. It will be with mixed emotion that I pass the gavel to my successor next Monday night in Houston. If you have not already registered for the Annual Meeting, please do so now at www.sts.org/annualmeeting. I would love to share the experience with you.
Joseph E. Bavaria, MD