Our Legacy United at the 2018 AAGL Global Congress
As I reflect on the closing of the 47th AAGL Global Congress, I find myself gratified by the suitability of our theme, “Honoring Our Legacy as We Unite to Elevate Minimally Invasive Gynecology.”
What is a Legacy but a gift from those who have gone before, bestowed upon those who follow? Many such gifts were given and received at this meeting. We bid a fond adieu to our longtime Medical Director Frank Loffer, as he rode off into retirement’s sunset, and we extended a warm welcome to his successor, Linda Bradley as she dons the Medical Director mantle. We walked with Dr. Marcello Ceccaroni through “120 Years After Radical Hysterectomy” and joined him in a salute to—in his words—the “punk rock pioneer” of MIGS, Dr. Harry Reich. There was not a dry eye in the house for Colonel Edward Horvath’s keynote address, “Good Medicine in Bad Places,” in which he inspired us all to remember the Neighbor’s Kids. And we cheered on seasoned faculty who were paired with promising newcomers for the core workshops—including the mentorship challenge, “Put Me in Coach”; the perennial favorite, “Stump the Professors”; culminating with the very exciting surgical contest, “The Hands.” I’ll stop here because there really were too many legacy-worthy moments to name, but I think you get the picture.
The other key word in this year’s theme was Unite and that could not have happened without you, our physician attendees. As they say, the numbers don’t lie: We had a grand total of 2114 registrants, 1219 of whom were from the U.S. and 895 were international—71 countries represented! We also united with our industry partners who play a significant role in the advancement of the art and science of minimally invasive gynecology. If you’ll permit another look at the numbers: 87 companies, represented by 1,119 exhibitors, covered 22,400 square feet on the show floor! We are genuinely grateful to them all for their steadfast support of our specialty. What a gift it is to be a part of this outstanding global society of gynecologic surgeons who are each doing their part to better the surgical care of all women. Thanks to all of you for your participation.
Among the goals that I set for the Scientific Program Committee was to build an extensive collaboration within our society to challenge us all and spark meaningful innovation. Guided by our theme, the committee set an intention to foster unification, inclusion, innovation, and empowerment throughout the Congress. We worked to create an inclusive planning process, calling to our members for General Sessions, Panels, Debates, and Live Surgeries. Once again, those numbers don’t lie! With 1050 submitted abstracts and videos, 738 of those selected presentation in Plenary Sessions, Open Communications, Video Sessions, and Virtual Posters; 26 postgraduate courses and 6 surgical tutorials; as well as 188 GB of video uploaded for presentation at the meeting, I think we can safely say that we met our goals! I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to my committee: Marcello Ceccaroni, Aarathi Cholkeri-Singh, Amanda Nickles Fader, Kathy Huang, John R. Miklos, Michael L. Sprague, Franklin D. Loffer, and Linda Michels, AAGL Executive Director. Special thanks go to the indomitable AAGL Education Director, Art Arellano, for keeping us all on track.
What do you say we do it again next year in Canada? I am honored to pass the torch into the capable of hands of my friend, Dr. Jubilee Brown, who will lead the Scientific Program Committee for the 48th AAGL Global Congress on Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery, November 9 -13, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia. I hope to see you there! Until then, I wish you a safe and happy holiday season and a New Year of abundance, enrichment, and fulfillment.