Dear SAGES Education and Research Foundation supporters,
I want to reintroduce myself by repeating and then adding to what I wrote at the beginning of my term as president.
I have been a SAGES member since the late 1970’s when I was a mid-level resident. I am a former Chair of Surgery and am still an attending with a busy practice at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida. Early on in my 42 year career I focused first on flexible endoscopy and then innovated as an early adopter of laparoscopic surgery. I was very active in teaching both nationally and internationally and served in SAGES leadership at the beginning of the Laparoscopic era. In the early 2000’s I focused on the philanthropic side, working with the cadre of leadership who understood the need to ensure the future of our organization. At SAGES 2023 spring meeting, I received the Distinguished Service award and was so moved to be recognized for my longstanding support of the society. Beyond that I am personally touched because I am now included in the ranks of heroes and mentors who inspired me on journey as a SAGES member.
About the Foundation –
SAGES Foundation came to fruition at a time when corporate sponsors had greater leeway to invest in the advancement of surgical training and education through foundations such SERF. The Foundation was fortunate to capitalize on that timing. We have invested the endowment carefully and rely on member donors to increase our corpus.
What We Do –
The list of projects funded by SERF is remarkable. FLS, FES, FUSE, Career Development Awards, and annually awarded research grants help fulfill SAGES mission to train and educate surgeons. Donor specified funding has allowed the Foundation to support SAGES Go Global initiative as a major priority. SERF Funding is a huge part of the development of the OWLS platform which will allow better use of SAGES online educational resources. Patient safety remains a prime focus with extensive funding of the safe laparoscopic cholecystectomy project as well as multiple safety initiatives in other applications of laparoscopic surgery as well as funding of guideline development initiatives.
SERF has also served as a catalyst for honoring and memorializing important leaders who have had an impact on our specialty and our organization.
The Board’s Role –
First and foremost, we are committed to personal, annual philanthropic support of SERF. Through our mindful stewardship of the corpus, the Foundation also safeguards the funds which allow support of critical SAGES initiatives. We have worked hard to make the board reflect our youthful enthusiastic diverse society that we have become as witnessed by our newer board members serving their first terms this year. These include:
OFFICERS – Stephen W. Unger, MD, President; L. Michael Brunt, MD, Vice President; Nathaniel J. Soper, MD, Secretary; Tonia Young-Fadok, MD, Treasurer
DIRECTORS – Liane Feldman, MD; Michel Gagner, MD; Rohan Jeyarajah, MD; Daniel B. Jones, MD; Leena Kaitan, MD; Marina Kurian, MD; Eduardo Moreno, MD; Kenric Murayama, MD; Edwarde H. Phillips, MD; Aurora Pryor, MD; Steven Schwaitzberg, MD; Daniel Scott, MD; Gary Vitale, MD; Danielle Walsh, MD; Sherry Wren, MD; Manabu Yamamoto, MD.
We thank the following who have rotated off the board for their years of service: George Berci, MD; Desmond Birkett, MD; Jo Buyskye, MD; Brian, Duncan, MD; David W. Duppler, MD; Steven Eubanks, MD; Frederick L. Greene, MD; John G. Hunter, MD; Michael R. Marohn, MD; Jeffrey H. Peters, MD; Jeffrey L. Ponsky, MD; David W. Rattner, MD; Raul J. Rosenthal, MD; Barry A. Salky, MD; Bruce D. Schirmer, MD; C. Daniel Smith, MD; Steven C. Stain, MD; Greg V. Stiegmann, MD; Lee L. Swanstrom, MD; Steven D. Wexner, MD; Debbie F. Youngleman, MD.
Your Role –
This is the most important point of this message, and I cannot emphasize it enough.
As a member of SAGES, you have already made a commitment to advancing your own surgical education and training. It is only logical that you expand that commitment to include a pledge to the Foundation, as this is the way to ensure excellence and continuity to the next generation of general surgeons. We will continue to reach out to you to solidify that pledge.
Stephen Wise Unger