Southern California Chapter

American College of Surgeons


SCCACS Summer Newsletter 2012 -- Vol. 17

Editor's Note

By Daniel R. Margulies, MDDr Margulies
President-Elect , SCCACS

In this brief SCCACS News, we've tried to summarize some of the many activities of your Chapter officers, committee chairpersons and representatives. Continuing this year, we've changed the format to an online version, with links sent to members' emails. The Southern California Chapter has an aggressive socioeconomic and educational mission, and seeks to represent the needs of its members in all of its activities.  Please let us know how we are doing, give us your thoughts on the complex issues of the day, and tell us if there are ways in which we can better serve you.


President's Message


By Edward H. Phillips, MD, FACS

President, SCCACS


I am honored to serve as President of the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons and pleased to report to you our activities at this point in the year. As you will see throughout this newsletter, Dr Phillipsthere are numerous colleagues volunteering their time to man chapter committees that work throughout the year to provide the programs and services we enjoy. I hope you will show them your appreciation for their efforts when you have the opportunity. It is my goal to involve more members in Chapter activities. We are always looking for new blood. Let me know if you have an interest in taking part. One priority for this year is to gear up to spend more time monitoring developments in Sacramento that affect surgeons. If you have a bent toward public policy issues, we could use your help. Drop me a note.


Preparations are well underway for this year’s Annual Scientific Meeting, which will be held at the Four Seasons Biltmore Resort in Santa Barbra from Jan. 18-20, 2012. We have arranged for a block of rooms at a deeply discounted rate of $350/night. Reservations can be made at that rate directly with the hotel at (805) 565-8299, prior to Dec. 17, or when the block of rooms is sold out. Mention the Southern California Chapter of the American Colleges of Surgeons to receive the discounted rate. We hope that you will join us, and please bring the family.


Guest Speakers

I am pleased to announce that this year’s guest speakers will include: Raul Rosental, MD, Cleveland Clinic, Florida; Bruce Ramshaw, MD, Chairman, Transformational Care Institute, Florida; David Hoyt, MD, executive director of the American College of Surgeons, and Robin Blackstone, MD, clinical professor of Surgery at the University of Arizona School of Medicine specializing in bariatric surgery.


Program Chair, Andrew DiFronzo, MD, Associate Program Chair, Brian Smith, MD, and Assistant Program Chair, Farin Amersi, MD, have been working hard to assemble a combination of scientific papers, guest lectureships, what’s new in surgery and other material of interest not only to general surgeons, but also those in our major subspecialties.


Additional highlights of the program will be an address by Robin Blackstone, MD, at the luncheon for our Women in Surgery group and participation by the Guest Speakers at the breakfast for the Young Surgeons. Highlighting the social program will be the Friday evening cocktail reception with its traditional abundance of food, drink and fun.


Healthcare Legislation

A lot has been happening in Washington over the last year with major impacts on health care, including health care reform, the Federal Budget, and the economy. The American College of Surgeons has taken an active role in lobbying strongly to make the eventual outcome of any changes in these areas favorable for surgeons.


A major player for the American College of Surgeons is, of course, our guest and member Dr. David Hoyt. He will update us on the direction healthcare has taken and on how the November election results will influence the federal role in healthcare and the impact on surgeons and how the College and its members can help secure a stable future. In addition, several of our members are Governors of the College and serve as liaison between the membership of the Chapter and the Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons. We want your voice to be heard, so if you have concerns you want to reach the Regents, please let me know.


"What's New"

The ever-popular “What’s New” sessions will cover neuroendocrine surgery, GI Surgery, pediatric surgery, bariatric/minimally invasive surgery, colorectal surgery and surgical education. I am also pleased to announce that “Surgical Jeopardy” will return, bigger and better than ever, as residents from our many teaching hospitals square off to determine the best and brightest. Please be sure to be present to cheer on your favorite team and witness the awarding of the Fourth Annual Dowden Cup.


Call for Abstracts

Abstracts for Annual Scientific Meeting program participation are now being accepted through close of business on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Most presented papers selected for oral presentation will be included in a special issue of the American Surgeon. This is, as always, a great forum for young surgeons and for surgical trainees to get experience in presenting and publishing. Details are posted at


Please Help Recruit Vendors

In this era of cost containment, we need your help, more than ever, in recruiting industry participation for the meeting. Industry support covers roughly half the cost of the meeting and allows us to keep the membership dues and registration fees at a more modest level. Our industry vendors also give us an opportunity to view the latest technology and conduct one to one discussions regarding technology, pharmaceuticals, and other tools that we utilize in our practices.


If you have any special relationship with industry representatives who have supported us in the past, or who have expressed an interest in doing so in the future, please forward your contact information directly to Jim Dowden, our executive director, at He will do the footwork and follow-up necessary and provide the vendor with a selection of opportunities that are available for participation.


Please visit if you have not received specific information on abstract submission or hotel reservations. Registration details will be sent soon. Once again, I hope that you and your family find time to come to Santa Barbara to enjoy the program that the Program Committee has assembled and to partake in the many opportunities for education, recreation, and relaxation that are an integral part of our Annual Scientific Meeting.



Chapter seeks feedback

SCCACS is your organization. The Chapter leaders below want to hear from you with any comments and suggestions:

President Edward H. Phillips, MD,

President-Elect Daniel R. Margulies, MD,

Vice President Shirin Towfigh, MD,

Secretary-Treasurer O. Joe Hines, MD,

Recorder Ninh T. Nguyen, MD,

Anton Bilchik, MD,

Charles F. Brunicardi, MD,
J. Craig Collins, MD,
Joshua D I Ellenhorn, MD,
Roy Fujitani, MD,
Howard Kaufman, MD,
Vincent L. Rowe, MD,
Anthony Senagore, MD,
Edward "Bill" Taylor, MD,

Program Chairman Andrew DiFronzo, MD,

Associate Chairman
Brian Smith, MD,

Assistant Chairman Farin Amersi, MD,

Commission on Cancer State Chair
James A. Recabaren, MD, (2012

Sharon Lum, MD,, (2013-2014)

Committee on Trauma
Ali Salim, MD,

Representative, Association of Women Surgeons
Angela Neville, MD,

Young Surgeon Representatives
Alice Chung, MD,

Kenji Inaba, MD,

Executive Director
C. James Dowden



Membership Report

By C. James Dowden
Executive Director

Current membership in the Southern California Chapter of ACS is 1,846 members. This breaks down into 928 Active Fellows, 886 Senior Fellows and 32 Associate members. The Chapter membership

represents just over 48% of all ACS Fellows in the Southern California region. We need your help in reachingJim Dowden your colleagues.

Chapter membership in the California Medical Association’s legislative bodies is directly proportional to the number of members that the Chapter has. We need a bigger voice in CMA to ensure that we have the opportunity to appropriately represent the interest of surgeons on legislative matters and other policy issues that come before the CMA. The more members we have, the more seats at the table we have to represent your interests.

Membership also provides the resources that the Chapter needs in order to continue to provide an outstanding annual Scientific Conference, financial support to surgical Residents to attend and participate in that meeting and to reward those who submit outstanding papers, and to carry out other activities of the Chapter.

SCCACS Member Services
The Southern California Chapter of ACS provides member surgeons with unique services not offered in most other areas of the country. We are the only Chapter that provides a free subscription to The American Surgeon. This journal is provided to active members throughout the year. The Chaper also funds the cost of participation on the various CMA legislative bodies and meetings by surgeons representing this region. We are one of the few Chapters that conducts a major Scientific Conference, bringing outstanding nationally known surgeons to present to our members.

As articles elsewhere in the newsletter indicate, your Chapter leaders are representing you in a variety of ways at a time when medical practice is in great turmoil and under significant stress. To ensure your voice continues to be heard, your continued support of the Chapter is vital. But equally important is your assistance in reaching out to your colleagues who are not currently part of the Chapter to encourage their membership and their involvement.

We have invited area ACS Fellows to join the Chapter to represent the surgical profession at all levels affecting our practice. We have a full-color recruitment brochure available listing membership benefits. You can view this on the Chapter’s Web site (click on View or Download next to Membership Brochure).

If you know a colleague who’s not part of the Chapter, please encourage him/her to accept this invitiation to join SCCACS. Or invite them to download the Chapter membership application online.

The Chapter is doing much and providing many services for a relatively modest annual investment on your part. Much more can be done. Please contact us (310/364-0193) if you need membership applications and brochures to give to your colleagues, or if you have suggestions on how we can encourage them to join.


Young Surgeons Representatives' Report

By Alice Chung, MD, FACS, and Kenji Inaba, MD, FACS

SCCACS 2012 Young Surgeons Representatives


Introduction and Young Surgeons’ Breakfast

The 2013 SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting is shaping up to be of particular interest for local young surgeons. Last year’s Young Surgeons’ Breakfast with Dr. LD Britt was a huge success, and plans are underway to make this year’s event even better.


We have planned out a full breakfast on Saturday morning for surgeons under the age of 45. This will be an opportunity for these young surgeons to discuss their careers and the balance of life and work with leaders in our field.  Please make plans to join us for this highly rated annual event.


Surgical Jeopardy

Back by popular demand, Surgical Jeopardy will return to the Annual Scientific Meeting in 2013. This year, residents from Southern California residency programs will compete for the annual trophy, as well as bragging rights in what should be an educational and entertaining event. This year will mark the fifth year the competition takes place. This year’s winners will enjoy their names listed on the Dowden Trophy, along with that of their residency program. Three preliminary rounds will pit three programs against one another, with the winner of each round advancing to final jeopardy for the tournament of champions.


Last year’s competition was one of the highest attended events for the Annual Scientific Meeting, and 2013 will be a fantastic opportunity for residents from each of our local programs to prove their worth. We will be contacting program directors and residents of the various local programs to start encouraging them to attend the meeting and take part in this event.


Young Surgeon’s Travel Stipend

This year will mark the fifth year the Young Surgeon’s Travel Stipend will be awarded on a competitive basis. The purpose of the stipend is to encourage young surgeons to participate in local Chapter and national American College of Surgeons activities by providing a stipend (this year $1,500 each for three separate awardees for a total of $4,500) to be used at the discretion of the young surgeon.  They will have 18 months to use the award.


The only restrictions are that the stipend be used for meeting attendance expenses, that it be applied towards a meeting of the local Chapter or a national ACS meeting, and that winners be present at the 2013 breakfast to receive the award. Three travel stipends will be awarded at the Young Surgeon’s Breakfast.


Stipend applications are posted on the chapter’s website at The deadline for submission is 5pm Jan. 14, 2013


We look forward to an outstanding attendance this year and to seeing you all in Santa Barbara in January.


Commission on Cancer Liaison Report

By James Recabaren, MD, FACS
State Chair, Southern California Chapter ACS
Commission on Cancer
This update will summarize my previous year’s activities as SCCACS’s cancer liaison to the Commission on Cancer:

Dr Recabaren

1) A number of agenda items were covered during our Chapter’s January 2012 Cancer Liaison Physician (CLP) meeting. First were introductions and a welcome to the new members from our state.

Our keynote presentation centered on the collaboration with the American Cancer Society and resources they offer. Emilia Jankowski, vice president, American Cancer Society, joinedus with a presentation on physician volunteerism and services available to the chapter from the American Cancer Society. I continue the co-chair of the Physician Engagement Committee for the American Cancer Society.

Our next chapter Liaison Physician meeting will be in Santa Barbara on Jan. 20, 2013.

2) I have been asked to continue as a member of the Commission on Cancer. This is an additional three-year membership in the governing body of the ACOS Cancer program. It was an honor to be re-elected and represent the SCCACS on a national level.

3) I continued to serve as your chapter state chair for the Commission on Cancer, CLP program. This is a three-year re-appointment continued through 2012.

4) I am currently serving as a governor-at-large for our Chapter.

5) In May, 2012, I attended the ACS State Chair Meeting in Chicago. This Summit brought thought leaders from around the country together to talk about the Cancer Liaison Program. Attendees include those involved in the Cancer Liaison Program from different vantage points. This approach will facilitate a review of the Cancer Liaison Program, a discussion of the potential for program growth and development, a look at opportunities for program enhancement, and development of a strategy and plan for the future of the Cancer Liaison Program.

6) The Commission on Cancer (CoC) has partnered with the American Cancer Society (ACS) for more than 90 years to help prevent, diagnose and treat cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. As a CLP, your role is to serve as a physician champion, keep your cancer committee abreast of CoC initiatives and help facilitate the relationship with the ACS. Is your local ACS representative attending your Cancer Committee meetings? Consider a collaborative project for 2012-2013. Please let me know if your hospital has had a particularly successful CQI project that would be of interest to other facilities as well. I have recently participated with my local American Cancer Society chapter presenting Colorectal Screening Prof. Ed. to primary care physicians. We need more physicians who would be willing to be local presenters for this American Cancer Society CRC project. A PowerPoint presentation is available. I will continue to solicit participants for this collaborative venture.

7) Annual CLP Breakfast Meeting at Clinical Congress
Don’t miss this opportunity to meet not only with your state chair, but network with other Cancer Liaison Physicians in your state! The CoC is hosting its Annual Cancer Liaison Physician Breakfast on Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 in conjunction with the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress in Chicago, IL.

I have been honored to be your state cancer chair for the past year. Please contact me at 626/449-6606 or, regarding any Commission on Cancer problems or questions. 



Association of Women Surgeons Report

By Angela Neville, MD, FACS

Representative, Association of Women Surgeons 

The 4th Annual Women in Surgery Luncheon was held Saturday, Jan. 21 at the 2012 SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting. Forty-five students, residents, fellows and attending surgeons attended the event and had the opportunity to meet and network with other female surgeons from a variety of specialties.


Our keynote speaker was Dr. Leigh A. Neumayer, MD, MS, Professor of Surgery at University of Utah School of Medicine.  Dr. Neumayer’s talk, “Keeping all the Balls in the Air:  A Woman Surgeon’s Juggling Act,” was well received by attendees and sparked ongoing conversation after the event


Please make plans now to attend the 5th Annual Women in Surgery Luncheon on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 during the SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting at the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara.


We are excited to have Dr. Robin Blackstone, Immediate Past President of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and a current Governor of the American College of Surgeons, come speak with us. She is an outstanding surgeon and great speaker. 


Mark your calendars and make sure you RSVP for the event.



ACS Committee on Trauma

By Ali Salim, MD, FACS

Chair, SCCACS Committee on Trauma

A major goal for the ACS Southern California Chapter Committee on Trauma, besides improving the care ofDr Salim the injured patient, is providing education to our surgeons.

In addition to the various courses sponsored throughout the year (ATLS, ASSET, DMEP, TOPIC), the committee also sponsors a local Residents Trauma Paper Competition. This past year, we linked submissions for the Paper Competition with abstract submissions for the SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting and received an unprecedented number of abstracts.

The local competition was held Oct 1, 2011 at Cedars Sinai. Sixteen outstanding abstracts were presented, representing all of the Surgery training programs in our region.

Three abstracts were selected for the Regional Trauma Paper Competition, also held in Los Angeles. The top abstracts at the Regional Competition were selected to participate at the National Trauma Paper Competition held in Chicago, IL. 

This year’s paper competition will be held Nov. 10, 2012 at Cedars-Sinai. We will continue to facilitate abstract submissions by linking submissions for the SCCACS Annual Scientific Meeting with the Residents Trauma Paper Competition.  

We are looking forward to having another year where our excellent Southern California Residents present their state-of-the-art research. The top abstracts will be selected for the Regional Competition, to be held in December 2012 in San Diego.



ACS Advisory Council for Rural Surgery

By Tyler G. Hughes, MD

Chair, ACS Advisory Council for Rural SugeryDr Hughes

The Advisory Council for Rural Surgery of the ACS is embarking on endeavors to save rural surgery from extinction. Several studies have documented the crisis of surgical care in rural America, and several factors have been identified that contribute to the difficulty in recruiting and retaining rural surgeons. At this time, the Advisory Council is pleading with members for help with these two initiatives:

1) We're reaching out to surgeons in small towns and rural areas who are not current members or who are members but not active in the Chapter. Please contact those individuals and invite them to annual meetings or council meetings. Consider forming a Rural Surgeons Committee. Think of any efforts you can do to facilitate improved relationships between rural and tertiary surgeons that will benefit each surgeon and make yours a stronger and more cohesive Chapter.

2) We are promoting the Rural Surgery Dinner on Oct. 1 and the Rural Surgery Skills Course on Sept. 29 at the Clinical Congress in Chicago. This is the third year that the dinner event has been held. It's an informal gathering for individuals committed to caring for rural communities.

The ACS Advisory Council for Rural Surgery looks forward to partnering with State Chapter members to build on the success of the 100 years of excellence that is exemplified by the ACS.



2013 Annual Scientific Meeting

By L. Andrew DiFronzo, MD, FACS

SCCACS, Program Chair

 Dr DiFronzo

We are pleased to announce the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons Annual ScientificMeeting, which will be held Jan. 18-20, 2013 at the lovely Biltmore, Four Seasons Resort in Santa Barbara. The Program Committee – Chair, L.Andrew DiFronzo, MD, FACS; Associate Chair, Brian Smith, MD, FACS; and Assistant Chair, Farin Amersi, MD, FACS – have been working diligently to make this another exceptional meeting full of science, fellowship, and fun. There are a few changes planned that should make the meeting even more exciting and rewarding.


Highlights for the upcoming Annual Scientific Meeting include:

Dr Rosenthal

Guest Faculty 

Raul Rosenthal, MD, FACS

Department Chair, Bariatric and Metabolic Institute

Cleveland Clinic, Florida


Dr Ramshaw

Bruce Ramshaw, MD, FACS

Chairman and Chief Medical Officer

Transformative Care Institute, Florida


Dr Blackstone

Robin Blackstone, MD, FACS

Past President, American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

Clinical Professor of Surgery, University of Arizona School of Medicine

Medical Director, Scottsdale Healthcare Bariatric Program, Scottsdale, Arizona


 Dr Hoyt

David Hoyt, MD, FACS

Executive Director

American College of Surgeons


Program Highlights 

  • High-quality oral presentations of original papers
  • Young Surgeons breakfast
  • NEW! Pro vs Con: the experts debate
  • Women in Surgery Luncheon – students, residents, and practicing surgeons welcomed
  • Friday evening cocktail reception with hors d’oevres
  • Resident “Jeopardy” competition
  • Rapid-fire oral presentation format for posters
  • Wine & cheese reception
  • What’s New in Surgery topics: Minimally Invasive Surgery, Colorectal, GI Surgery, Neuroendocrine, Pediatric Surgery, and Surgical Education
  • NEW! President’s Banquet with special invited guest speaker

 Specialty Sessions include:

  • General Surgery (on the topic of Hernia Repair)

  • Cardiothoracic/Vascular Surgery
  • Colorectal Surgery
  • Breast Surgery
  • Head & Neck Surgery
  • Pediatric Surgery
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Trauma Surgery

We look forward to seeing you in Santa Barbara Jan. 18-20, 2013. Sign on to for meeting registration and hotel information. Early bird discounted conference registration deadline is December 31. The block of hotel rooms always sells out, so please make your reservations early. The discounted room rate for the Chapter Meeting is good until December 17 or when the block of rooms has been sold out, whichever comes first.




• Abstract submission deadline
Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012
Visit for details

•2013 Annual Scientific MeetingCalendar
Jan. 18-20, 2013
Four Seasons Biltmore Resort
1260 Channel Drive, Santa Barbara
Call 805/565-8299 by Dec. 17, 2012
to get discounted $350 room rate.

•2014 Annual Scientific Meeting
Jan. 17-19, 2014
Four Seasons Biltmore Resort
Santa Barbara



Play Discount

SCCACS members are being offered a 20% discount for the first production of The Pasadena Playhouse's 2012-2013 season, which will be the world premiere of a new comedy called UndeUnder My Skinr My Skin, featuring Hal Linden ("Barney Miller"). Written by the award-winning writing/producing team of Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser, creators of the hit TV comedy series The Nanny and Who's the Boss?, and directed by Tony Award nominee Marcia Milgrom Dodge (Broadway's Ragtime), Under My Skin is a hilarious new play that will perform on The Playhouse's main stage from Sept. 11 - Oct. 7, 2012.

When ordering, use the Discount Code: MED20 at or call (626) 356-7529. Offer expires at 7pm Sept. 23. Code is good for all previews and performances Sept. 11-23, except Sept. 19. All seats are best available. Not valid in Row D. Not applicable on previous purchases or with any other offer. All tickets subject to availability. Service and theatre restoration fees apply to all purchases.


2019 Meeting Gallery