The SAGES Education & Research Foundation was created with the vision of a healthcare world in which all operative procedures are accomplished with the least possible physical trauma, discomfort, and loss of productive time for the patient.
The mission of the SAGES Education & Research Foundation is to advance laparoscopic, endoscopic, and emerging minimal access surgical methods by supporting reproducible scientific research, graduate and postgraduate education, and public information.
The SAGES Education and Research Foundation is now achieving its goal of providing significant ongoing annual support for major surgical education and research projects. The original target of a $10 million dollar endowment has been reached in pledges, though not yet in actual cash received. This past year the Foundation provided $340,000 in grants to various projects including Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery, the FUSE project, research grants, SAGES Go Global efforts, and the Career Development award. The membership, especially the SAGES leadership, responded to the 2011 President’s End of Year Appeal with the largest single annual amount of individual donations in the Foundation’s History. Along with that, the Foundation has now returned more in funding to SAGES projects than the SAGES organization has given to the Foundation over the past decade.
Certainly achieving all these goals is remarkable, and cause for celebration. We should all feel justifiably proud that the Foundation has grown to such a formidable entity. And we do!
However, resting on our laurels at this point would only lead to stagnation, erosion of the momentum we have gathered, and eventual decline of the funding capacity of the Foundation. If we were satisfied with doing laparoscopic cholecystectomies as the only advantage of the introduction of laparoscopy to general surgery, we would have certainly missed out on huge benefits to our patients.
And so our focus now shifts to expanding our horizons, creating a Foundation that is the leader in funding innovative surgical education and science, just as SAGES has assumed that role as the organization where such science and innovation is first presented. SAGES has grown in size and stature in just three decades to be the second largest society of general surgeons, and the clear leading society in new technology and surgical innovation. The Foundation has just over a decade of history as well, and is on a similar ascending course.
So I appeal to you, our members, to help us achieve our goals in any of several ways:
1. Continue your individual support to the Foundation
2. Encourage your colleagues who have not done so to become contributors
3. Emphasize to our industry partners how important the SAGES Foundation is to the future of minimally invasive surgery by promoting leading projects in surgical education and research
I especially ask you all to help us at every opportunity with this last request. Our industry partners are certainly facing more stringent financial times. However, their investment in the Foundation is now no longer based on a vision for the future. It is based on the reality of significant ongoing funding of highly important projects. Projects like FLS, FES, and career development awards, all have hinged on such funding. The more they hear the message from YOU that the Foundation is a priority for you, and something that you view as an important entity, the more likely they are to substantially support the mission of the Foundation. Your individual contributions are essential and important. But it is the power of corporate contributions that will take us to the next level of funding,
Let me close by saying that it is my personal privilege to again head the Foundation’s Board at this time, a major obligation to which I will devote my efforts in the years immediately ahead. I know I can count on your continued enthusiastic support to build the Foundation. Together we can make it happen.
With my personal best wishes,
Bruce Schirmer, M.D.
SAGES Education and Research Foundation