A Message From the President
I am honored to write to you as the 48th president of our great society. Like many of those who came before me, I first attended the PVSS because it provided an additional venue for abstract submission at a time when my main academic focus was to create a national presence in the world of vascular surgery. I quickly learned that this meeting offered much more than plenary sessions and industry sponsored symposia. I remember walking towards the first session in my traditional vascular meeting uniform (dark suit and tie) when I was stopped by Darrin Clouse who was wearing ski pants and a sweatshirt. He informed me that this was a casual meeting, and I should go change or risk being called out by the moderators. I quickly realized this was not my boss’s society. What an amazing experience for a young investigator to be able to present your work in a plenary session and that same day find yourself on the gondola with a member of EC and their children. I returned home and told my wife I planned to attend this meeting every year. Since then, I have missed few and have watched the PVSS develop into the VESS; the premier national society for vascular trainees and surgeons who are early in their careers. Each year, we have seen our presidents continue to support our members through funding research projects, travel scholarships and an ever-expanding program for trainees at the winter meeting. With my presidency, I plan to carry this torch forward in support of our mission.
We recently completed our winter meeting of the VESS executive council, and I am pleased to report that the society is thriving! Our membership continues to grow, and this year we approved 193 new active and candidate applications which brings our membership to over 1570 Active, Associate, Candidate and Medical Student Members. Our meeting in Whistler was the largest on record with a total of 337 registered attendees including 83 vascular residents/fellows and 41 medical students. The quality of the science presented in the meeting remains outstanding. Indeed, we had 220 abstracts submitted for 63 presentations and I am looking forward to the VESS edition of Annals of Vascular Surgery; remember to submit your papers soon. In the words of past president Ravi Veeraswamy “my meeting was huge.” We are financially sound, and these assets will allow us to provide ample support to our dynamic and capable group of volunteers. Last year we spent almost $140,000 on scholarships, grants and travel awards and we plan to increase that number in 2023.
We will continue our outreach efforts and encourage our young colleagues, trainees, and students to join the VESS, get involved, and take advantage of all the great programs we have to offer. We recently created an ad hoc research consortium committee and plan to support their efforts to promote multi-institutional research projects among our members through infrastructure support and will work to create a research fellowship to provide a person to coordinate and manage data. In addition, we are nearing our 50th year as a society and as we prepare to celebrate that milestone, we plan to begin the VESS historical project where we will look to highlight the most influential papers from past meetings and celebrate the accomplishments of past research grant and travel award winners. The committees of VESS have been re-populated and are ready to work on the scientific programs, evaluate grants, fundraise, communicate, and put together our spring meeting. Finally, we are open to suggestions so please let me know of other ways that the VESS can serve your needs. It’s going to be a great year!
Mark F. Conrad, MD, MMSc
St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center