Message from the President: Highlights of the 49th Annual Meeting

Jeffrey B. Rich, MD

STS News, Fall 2012 -- Fall is a very exciting time at STS, because this is when the finishing touches are put on the program for the next STS Annual Meeting.

The Workforce on Annual Meeting and its various Task Forces have put together a timely, stimulating program that combines leading-edge translational science with interactive education and abundant networking opportunities. I would personally like to thank the Workforce members and Chair, John V. Conte, MD, for their hard work and dedication.

One of the positive changes you’ll see at the 2013 meeting stems from your feedback that having too many parallel course options made it difficult for you to attend everything you wanted to see. For the 2013 Annual Meeting, we have come up with a way to provide sessions that are important to your practice while right-sizing the number of concurrent courses. You’ll still have some tough choices, but rest assured, you won’t have to miss a thing because we’ll again be offering the STS Annual Meeting Online product as part of the meeting registration process.

Another change you’ll experience has to do with technology. We’ve incorporated a new audience-response feature in select sessions that will allow you to give us feedback using your own cell phone or other mobile device. You can learn more about this feature and the program content in this article. You can also read about a session specifically designed for Associate Members. The Associate Member Symposium will focus on interprofessional collaboration in cardiac surgery, as well as using a team approach for lung cancer.

Special Appearances
I am very pleased to announce that an extraordinary guest speaker—Mark B. McClellan, MD, PhD—has been selected for the Thomas B. Ferguson Lecture.

Dr. McClellan earned his MD degree from Harvard and his PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a former leader of the FDA and CMS and current Director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at The Brookings Institution, Dr. McClellan is one of the most respected and forward-thinking leaders on US health care policy. He will present the Ferguson lecture on Monday, January 28, providing unique insights into the health care reforms we’ve already seen and those yet to come.

Popular Debates, Joint Sessions, Invited Presentations
Robust discussion is usually an engaging part of the learning process, so be sure to attend some of the debate sessions that we have planned. I am especially looking forward to the debate over whether all aortic valve repairs will be performed with transcatheter technology in 2020. Another debate will explore whether simulation training is more effective than operating on patients, and the popular Ethics Debate will question the “dead donor rule.”

Two debates will be included in our jointly sponsored session with the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Conte and Neil Kleiman, MD will moderate discussions ranging from the role of the heart team to the role of hybrid procedures in the future of cardiothoracic surgery. The combined STS/ACC session will also include a panel discussion on the National Coverage Determination for transcatheter aortic valve replacement and the lessons learned from the pilot program that reduced the time between FDA approval and the Medicare coverage decision.

Collaborative sessions will also be offered with the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, American College of Chest Physicians, and Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists on topics including cardiovascular critical care, interventional bronchoscopy, and transfusion management.

A parallel session that’s already on my calendar is one on the Affordable Care Act. I encourage you to join me in attending this session, as the speakers will offer important information about how the ACA will affect your practice.

More details about these sessions, late-breaking abstracts, and other events will be available as we get closer to the meeting, but now is the best time to register and help ensure you get the hotel of your choice in sunny Los Angeles.

Finally, I invite you to join me on Monday, January 28, as I give my Presidential Address.

Thank you again for allowing me to serve as your President, and I hope you enjoy this issue of STS News.