SAGES Foundation Successes

The SAGES Foundation has provided more than $1.7 million in research and project funding for a variety of subjects, including the study of laparoscopy on tumors and carcinoma, surgical robotics training and guidelines, and the evaluation of minimal access surgery in patients at high-risk for failure of abdominal hernia repair. The following are some of the most notable recent projects and awards supported or initiated by the Foundation:

Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons
: Global Initiative

Laparoscopy and endoscopy have been a surgical option in the US and developed contries since 1992. However, minimally invasive surgery is rarely performed in developing nations because of the need for specialized training and equipment. SAGES and the SAGES Foundation created the Global Initiative to provide patients all over the world, especially those in developing countries, access to minimally invasive surgery and enhanced medical care. The program difference from other medical organizations’ programs in that no direct medical care is provided. The program educates and trains local providers to perform minimally invasive surgery themselves, following the adage “Give a man fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.”

Frederick L. Greene, MD
Jeffrey L. Ponsky Master Educator in Endoscopy Award

The Jeffrey L. Ponsky Master Educator in Endoscopy Award was presented to Frederick L. Greene, MD, during the 6th Annual Awards Luncheon held in San Diego, California, on March 7, 2012. The Ponsky Flexible Endoscopy Research Fund was established by the Foundation in 2007 as a tribute to Dr. Jeffrey Ponsky for his outstanding contributions to endoscopy and surgical education, and also as a demonstration of gratitude for his profound influence in so many careers. The Master Educator award recognizes Dr. Green as a distinguished SAGES leader who exemplifies Dr. Ponsky’s visionary leadership spirit and his dedication to the development and teaching of surgical endoscopy. Dr. Greene’s body of written work over the span of his distinguished career includes 160 papers, 30 book chapters, and two textbooks relating to the use of laparoscopic surgery in the management of cancer patients.

In honoring Dr. Greene, we take special pride in acknowledging him as a past President of the SAGES Foundation. He currently serves as a Director Emeritus in the Foundation. Also, as a founding member of SAGES, Dr. Greene has held several leadership roles in the organization, including serving as President in 1992. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by SAGES in 2004. Dr. Greene is currently Chairman of the Department of General Surgery and Director of Surgical Education at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He received his medical school training at the University of Virginia, completed a residency in surgery at Yale University School of Medicine, and was also an American Cancer Society clinical research fellow at Yale.

He is an active clinician in surgical oncology and has been involved in organizational work pertaining to cancer for a number of years. Dr. Greene has served on the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and is a past chair of the Commission. He has represented ACS on the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) and served as chair of the AJCC from 2000-2004. He has represented the AJCC and has served as vice-chair of the TNM Staging Core Group of the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) based in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Greene is also the editor of the Sixth and Seventh editions of the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. He belongs to numerous surgical organizations including the Society of Surgical Oncology, the Southern Surgical Association, and the American Surgical Association. In an essay entitled, “To Lifelong Learning,” in the November 2011 issue of General Surgery News, Dr. Greene offered his complex, threefold interpretation of the late coach John Wooden’s adage, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” We urge you to read the article, which gives insight into what makes Dr. Greene a superlative scholastic leader clearly worthy of the Master Educator Award. He added,” We need to keep our minds receptive to new information that, in many ways, becomes more important than what we may have learned in a traditional surgical education setting.” That philosophy can also be applicable to the SAGES Foundation’s support of the constantly evolving technological and scientific research that require up-to-date training programs and advanced research.  Congratulations Dr. Greene!

Daniel B. Jones, MD
Project: Minimally Invasive Pediatric Surgery Trainers

The 2012 recipient of the Foundation’s Excellence in Medical Leadership Award is Daniel Bougere Jones, MD, of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Harvard Medical School. This award, supported through a generous educational grant by Gore & Associates, was established in 2011 to provide scholarships to qualified midcareer SAGES members for leadership development and management training toward advancing minimal access surgery and quality patient care Dr. Dan Jones was selected from hundreds of highly qualified candidates for his leadership qualities demonstrated as Chief of Minimally Invasive Surgical Services at Beth Israel Deaconess, Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and as a leader among SAGES colleagues. He joined SAGES as a Candidate member in 1994 and made an immediate impact, offering his time and expertise. Since then, Dr. Jones contributed to the growth and development of SAGES by serving on numerous committees, particularly those focused on education and research. In 2001, he was selected as recipient of the SAGES Young Investigators Award. In a leadership role with SAGES he has chaired the following committees: Educational Resources; Quality, Outcomes and Safety; Fundamental Use of Surgical Energy (FUSE) Task Force. Since 2003, he has served on the SAGES Board of Governors.

In addition to the aforementioned titles, Dr. Jones also serves as Vice Chair of Surgery, Office of Technology and Innovation at BIDMC. After arriving at BIDMC in 2003, he established a national program in Minimally Invasive Surgery, Bariatric Surgery and Surgical Training using Simulation. Dr. Jones was elected as Vice President of the Association for Surgical Education in 2012 having served as the Chair of the Simulation Committee and member of the Education Research Committee. He is co-editor of 18 books including 2012 release of Mastery of Surgery, SAGES Manual for FUSE, SAGES Manual for Quality, Outcomes and Safety, and The Textbook of Simulation: Skills and Team Training. He has also authored over 250 original publications and book chapters on surgical education, metrics of technical skills and Bariatric Surgery. The SAGES Foundation is grateful to Gore & Associates for their generosity, and for their vision, in creating this award with an eye on the future. The Excellence in Medical Leadership Award was created to optimize the chosen recipient’s impact in the medical industry. This scholarship is aimed to expose one SAGES member to the top minds in leadership development by enabling an individual to attend a leadership program at an Academic Institution organization as a high potential leader in the medical world.

Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons

Project: Fundamental Use of Surgical Energy (FUSE)

In 2011 SAGES Foundation provided $75,000 to support the development of the FUSE program, and its mission is to provide instruction on how to safely use medical devices that transmit surgical energy with the overarching goal of improving the quality of patient care. FUSE is an educational program/curriculum being developed by SAGES that will provide instruction on how to safely use devices that transmit surgical energy in the operating room and other endoscopic procedural areas. The program is designed to determine whether a successful candidate has the knowledge fundamental to the safe use of surgical energy-based devices in the operating room, endoscopysuite and other procedural areas. The FUSE program will cover the following areas:

–        Fundamentals of Electro-Surgery

–        Electro-Surgical Safety

–        Ultrasonic Energy Systems

–        Monopolar Devices

–        Bipolar Devices

–        FRA Devices

–        Microwave Devices

–        Endoscopic Energy Devices

–        Interactions with Cardiac

–        Implantable Electronic Devices

–        Pediatric Considerations

The topics to be covered include but are not limited to:

–        Fundamental physics of electrical energy applications

–        Safe use of electrical/laser/ ultrasonic/plasma and future forms of energy and electrical tools in the O.R.

–        Recognition of faulty equipment and application of correct settings

–        Appropriate indications of energy tools and technology in the O.R. or Endoscopy Suite

The components comprising the FUSE program will be:

1.      A text book written by members of the FUSE committee

2.      An online education module derived from the text book with videos, animations and other supporting images

3.      A high stakes, proctored, and validated multiple choice exam written by and reviewed by experts

Only practicing surgeons will be eligible to take the certifying exam, however, as SAGES plans plan to make the online educational modules, without the certifying exam, available to O.R. Nurses and related Technicians. The FUSE Task Force is developing the FUSE program. The Task Force is chaired by Daniel Jones, MD, and co-chaired by Liane Feldman, MD and Pascal Fuchshuber, MD. If you are interested in learning more about the FUSE project, please contact Program Coordinator, Jessica Mischna, at 310.437.0544, ext. 139 or