Tara Breslin, MD, MS, FACS
Assistant Professor of Surgery
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Origins and Mission
The Association for Academic Surgery (AAS – http://www.aasurg.org/) was formed in 1967, and membership has grown to over 3000 members worldwide. The mission of the AAS is: to simulate young surgeons and surgical scientists to pursue careers in academic surgery and support them in establishing themselves as investigators and educators. The AAS provides a forum for students, residents, fellows, and junior faculty to present and discuss their clinical, laboratory, and educational research. Additionally, the AAS offers career development programs to facilitate the development of young surgeons and surgical scientists as investigators and educators.
Active membership is open to individuals at the Chief Resident/Fellowship level of training, or upon accepting a full-time faculty position in a recognized academic surgery center. The period of active membership lasts for 10 years and includes a subscription to Journal of Surgical Research.
Low cost memberships are available for residents and fellows at the Candidate level and students at the Medical Student level. These members may participate fully in all the activities of the Association with the exception of voting at the annual business meeting, and reduced rate subscriptions to the Journal of Surgical Research are available.
Initially, the AAS annual meeting was held independent of other surgical societies. In 2005, the AAS joined the Society of University Surgeons (SUS) to host a combined meeting entitled the Academic Surgical Congress. While the two societies maintain separate memberships, they came together to encourage greater participation at their annual meetings and promote exchange of ideas between junior surgeons and established academic surgical professors. The Academic Surgical Congress meets annually in the spring and offers opportunities for platform presentations in plenary and parallel sessions, poster presentations and recently introduced “Quick Shot” oral presentations for top posters. The abstract acceptance rate is high allowing for many to hone presentation skills and find other surgeons with similar research interests.
Leadership and Committees
The AAS offers numerous opportunities for involvement in society leadership. Leadership candidates can be self nominated through an online application process, and voting takes place at the annual meeting. Work on these committees is cordial and fun. Participation in these committees allows surgeons to develop leadership skills, learn about governance, plan the annual meeting, and contribute to the other missions of the society in areas such as resident and student education, ethics, global affairs, information and technology. Experience on these committees can prepare members to take on leadership roles in specialty and subspecialty societies.
Fundamentals of Surgical Research and Career Development courses are held in conjunction with the American College of Surgeons annual fall meeting. These courses have been successfully exported to Africa as part of the Society’s mission to enhance the exchange of educational opportunities between the AAS and international surgical organizations.
Resources for Researchers
In keeping with its mission of career development for academic surgeons, the AAS offers several resources for researchers. To recognize outstanding research efforts, there are research awards at the student, resident, and faculty levels. The AAS offers competitive research fellowships, and the Website (http://www.aasurg.org/awards) also maintains a list of funding opportunities.
The AAS has representation in the following organizations and committees:
American Association of Medical Colleges
American Association of Medical Colleges
American Board of Surgery
Association of Women Surgeons
American College of Surgeons – Board of Governors
American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Education and Research
National Association for Biomedical Research
Journal of Surgical Research
Society of Black Academic Surgeons
Association for Surgical Education