From the Residents and Fellows Committee: Growth Opportunities for the Urologist in the American College of Surgeons

By: Woodson W. Smelser, MD | Posted on: 01 Mar 2021

Over the last 4.5 years I have been honored to serve as a Liaison to the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Advisory Council for Urology. Involvement in the ACS allows the urologist or rising urological trainee the opportunity to learn, advocate, engage and network beyond the sphere of organized urology. There are also robust opportunities aimed at medical students, with many resources available to assist in pursuing a career in surgery. The American Urological Association and the American College of Surgeons have partnered together for decades in support of numerous surgical initiatives, and I am proud to be involved in both.

Ways to become involved in ACS at each career stage. Reprinted with permission from ACS recruiting resources.

My path to engagement in the American College of Surgeons began, like many, with a mentor’s invitation to participate. Dr. Josh Broghammer, MD, FACS encouraged me to become involved as an intern by applying for a travel stipend to attend an ACS conference. My onboarding to the College began by attending the annual Leadership and Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C., and I have been engaged since. If you are a trainee, there are numerous scholarships available each year to support travel to this excellent conference. Although this meeting is currently on hold due to COVID-19, it will undoubtedly return with other in-person meetings soon.

If you are an early or mid-career urologist, consider getting involved to broaden your career and networking opportunities. Even if you don’t have a mentor within the ACS, you do not have to look far to find one. Fellows of the College are likely present within your department, practice or hospital, even if they aren’t urologists. Find one and ask about the path to becoming a Fellow of the College. Better yet, ask about the ways in which you can become involved in an area in which you are passionate to serve. The ACS has initiatives across the breadth and depth of surgery, including advocacy, surgical education, patient safety and quality, rural surgery, cancer care, trauma and much more. My experience has been that the perspective of a urologist is enthusiastically welcomed in these arenas. Look up your local or state chapter of the ACS to find events nearby.

If you are a resident, fellow or medical student, there is specific programming available to you, too. Visit the ACS Resident and Associate web page or the Medical Student member site for more information. Call in and attend one of the weekly Standing Committee Conference Calls listed at the end of this article. Apply for a scholarship, travel grant or research fellowship. Furthermore, consider submitting your scientific research to the ACS Clinical Congress, which occurs annually in October. There are urology specific poster and podium sessions moderated by leaders in urology, great networking opportunities across specialties and a relatively high abstract acceptance rate.

Finally, if you are already involved in the American College of Surgeons, great! Now take the next step, identify a mentee and encourage them to get involved in the myriad opportunities offered by the largest organized surgical organization in the world.


Becoming a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons

Medical Student Resources

Resident and Associate Society

Resident and Associate Society Standing Committee Calls:

  • 1-888-585-9008
  • Room: 549-242-585#
  • All calls begin at 9 p.m. Eastern Time
  • 1st Wednesday: Advocacy & Issues
  • 2nd Wednesday: Communications
  • 3rd Wednesday: Membership
  • 4th Wednesday: Education
  • Email with questions about each committee or interest in participating
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