Inaugural Associate Membership Symposium Held in Fort Lauderdale

STS News, Spring 2012 -- The STS Workforce on Associate Membership held its first symposium during the 48th Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Jan. 30. The symposium, The Interdisciplinary Team in Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery, was well received and the Workforce already is planning another event for the STS 49th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

The purpose of this new symposium was to enhance attendees’ understanding of the evolving roles of an interdisciplinary team and how changes in hospital care will broaden potential opportunities for team members. Presenters emphasized the importance of collective expertise among team members and how true teamwork can lead to improved patient outcomes.

M. LaWaun Hance, PA-C, from St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ypsilanti, Mich., presented her talk, PAs Leading the Care Team in an ICU, just one of several thought-provoking presentations held during this important session. Hance provided the perspective of mid-level providers, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, who are leading the care team in an ICU. She described the evolution of her own team and shared some of the factors that have made it successful and also discussed recent changes in ICU teams. “Residency workforce restrictions have created a great need for this type of team, but it represents a significant paradigm shift from a traditional physician residency model,” Hance said. “Understanding the differences between the two types of teams is paramount to successfully sustaining them both.”

Following a case presentation on acute aortic dissection by Neal D. Kon, MD, Sidney W. Lavender, II and Linda B. Mongero gave a presentation on the intraoperative roles and responsibilities of the clinical perfusionist and the physician assistant as a first assistant. Jonathan W. Haft, MD then discussed ICU models of care from a cardiac surgeon/intensivist perspective. Panel discussions, moderated by Richard L. Prager, MD and Kelly C. Gustafson, generated excellent audience participation as well.

A day prior to the symposium, the Workforce on Associate Membership met to discuss enhancing the value of STS membership for associate members. Associate Membership, which now exceeds 300, is available to physicians who are not eligible for Active Membership or International Membership, as well as researchers, physician assistants, perfusionists, nurses, nurse practitioners, practice administrators, data managers, and other health care professionals who support and work directly with cardiothoracic surgeons.

The Society extends its gratitude to Dr. Prager, who has served as chair of the Workforce since its inception in 2009, and now welcomes his successor, Walter H. Merrill, MD.

For information on Associate Membership, please visit or contact Sarah Foreman, STS Member Services Coordinator, at (312) 202-5895 or sforeman [at] sts [dot] org.