SVS has a bright future despite facing various challenges, according to Gregorio A Sicard. In his Presidential Address at the annual meeting, he said the speciality was at a “crossroads” and that a new chapter in the history of the speciality was about to be written. Sicard said that despite increasing pressure to become more accountable to patients, payers and policymakers, at the same time the speciality will enjoy greater autonomy in controlling its own destination.
He stated that although the US population continues to age and health problems continue to mount. He cited the rise of obesity and diabetes as contributing to the prevalence of peripheral vascular disease. “As a consequence, approximately 160 vascular specialists need to graduate each year,” claimed Sicard, “Although current graduate numbers fails below this target.” As a result the SVS had made recruitment its highest priority, awarding scholarships to 63 general surgery residents and 23 medical students. In addition, Sicard noted that by establishing the primary certificate in vascular surgery, recruitment efforts will be enhanced, as the certificate will reduced training times for students who choose vascular surgery early on.
Sicard then moved on to the future of the speciality, “As the numbers and type of procedures change, so must the vascular surgeon.” Specifically, he addressed the impact of endovascular surgery, stating that emergence of these technologies and procedures will fundamentally change the vascular surgery landscape. In particular, Sicard stated that the educational and support for both practicing and aspiring vascular surgeons must take precedence if “we are able to navigate this terrain.” With this in mind, he cited the work of the Endovascular Committee and the Endovascular Training Opportunities Committee, which have developed additional endovascular skills workshops and online training opportunities, as well as mini-fellowships and industry organised courses.
In the public policy arena, Sicard has established the AVA/SVS Outcomes Steering Committee to permit straightforward collection of both carotid endarterectomy and stent procedure data to meet the requirements of an evermore educated and information hungry patient population and increase their understanding of vascular disease.
Despite all the pressures and changes facing the profession, Sicard said the future was bright and the specialty should embrace any future challenges head on. “We must accept public accountability and embrace professional autonomy, always mindful of the privileges and responsibilities inherent in both. We must move forward as one community with a single voice and a shared vision, for the benefit of our fellow vascular surgeons, and, above all, for the benefit of our patients.”