During my Presidency, I emphasized the importance of Quality Analysis and Improvement (QAI) in patient care. It was during this year that the Centers of Excellence programs came into fruition. A Fellowship in the ASMBS was created for all members, including those who were not eligible for Center accreditation in the plan that they would submit data for QAI evaluation, the goal being to improve the quality of care throughout our field. This aspiration now seems to be coming closer to fruition through the new combined ASMBS and ACS center accreditation. It was also during this year that SOARD was established with myself as the Editor-in-Chief. The start of a new journal is a challenge – providing quality articles. But over the course of time, the quality of manuscript submissions has steadily improved so that we now have an acceptance rate of only 50% and half of our manuscripts are now coming from outside of the U.S and our impact factor has risen to over 4.1, placing SOARD as # 8 of all surgical journals, just below the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (JACS) and the British Journal of Surgery.
The development of the ASMBS was very important for the field of bariatric surgery. At the beginning there was an emphasis on an academic approach by a few of us (myself, Pat O’Leary, John Halverson, and John Kral) to the field as many of us suffered from outright discrimination from our own colleagues. However, over the course of time we bariatric surgeons have shown the effectiveness of surgically induced weight loss, initially with the effects of paired pre- and post-weight reduction studies on numerous obesity co-morbidities, and more recently with Level I, randomized control trials. Perhaps, with time, there will be a greater acceptance by the insurance industry that support of this surgery will not only improve our patients’ lives and longevity, but ultimately decrease the cost of healthcare.
Harvey J. Sugerman, MD