Untitled Page

Surgical Education Week

ASE Annual Meeting Program Highlights

Dimitri J. Anastakis, ASE Program Chair (right)
Dimitri J. Anastakis, ASE Program Chair (right)

From April 15-19, the University of Toronto hosted Surgical Education Week - a week long meeting of both the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS) and the Association for Surgical Education (ASE). Surgical educators from the United States, Canada and the UK participated in the program. As this year's Program Chair, I am happy to announce that the meeting was a great success and share with you some of the highlights of the meeting:

  • A new and innovative program for Clerkship Directors and Coordinators was held this year with a record number of attendees.
  • Dr. William T. Branch of Emory University was the APDS keynote speaker; his talk on humanistic and spiritual aspects of medical care was a huge success and well received by the group.
  • The APDS panel with leaders from the Residency Review Committee, the American Board of Surgery and the American College of Surgeons discussed important changes planned for US resident education.
  • The ASE panel focused on empowering the learner. Panelists included Dr. James McGreevy, Flight Surgeon US Air Force, Dr. Sioban Nelson Dean of the Lawrence S. Bloomberg School of Nursing and Dr. Amy Edmondson from the Harvard Business School. Each provided their perspectives on the impact of learner empowerment in their respective disciplines.
  • The University of Toronto's Dr. Lorelei Lingard gave this year's "What's New in Surgical Education" lecture on the concept of team competence. It was the highlight of the meeting.
  • The J. Roland Folse Lectureship was given by Dr. Linda DeCossart from Chester Hospital, UK. Dr. DeCossart is a vascular surgeon with an international reputation for her expertise in teaching clinical judgment. Dr. DeCossart is also the Vice-President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
  • Toronto's Surgical Skills Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital was open to all participants and was a popular destination during the meeting - many thanks go to Manager Lisa Satterthwaite for her generosity and endless enthusiasm.
  • Toronto remains an international leader in surgical education as highlighted by our strong faculty and student participation throughout the meeting. I would like to thank our faculty, residents and students for helping make this year's meeting such a great success.

Dimitri Anastakis


"I became increasingly fascinated with the patients' stories, which came tumbling out as my mentor seemingly magically opened some lock around the patient's heart. I remember a particular patient who had survived more than one episode of malignant ventricular arryhthmias. The professor began exploring what the patient thought had triggered these life-threatening events. She told the story of her life in Germany and survival in a concentration camp as a musician for the German officers, her attempts to smuggle food to her parents and siblings in the camp, and her despair and guilt when they were exterminated. His back was turned, but I could see the patient's face. Her eyes were riveted to my mentor's as she told her story quietly. When she was done, he turned slowly to face the group. Tears were streaming down his face. I will never forget that moment. The meaning of listening and allowing the patient's experience to enter you -- sharing the experience in one's heart and re-emerging with a connection to the experience forever embedded in my mind. As time went on, I came to realize that when he turned to face us, I too had shared not only the experience with the patient, but also his experience. I knew he was teaching me what it meant to be a doctor."

William T. Branch, et al. Teaching the Human Dimensions of Care in Clinical Settings. JAMA. Sept. 5, 2001;286(9):1067-1074.

Skip Navigation Links