The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient by setting high standards for surgical education and practice.
Members of the American College of Surgeons are referred to as "Fellows." The letters FACS (Fellow, American College of Surgeons) after a surgeon's name mean that the surgeon's education and training, professional qualifications, surgical competence, and ethical conduct have passed a rigorous evaluation, and have been found to be consistent with the high standards established and demanded by the College.
There is also another category of membership known as "Associate Fellow." This category was established to provide an opportunity for surgeons who are beginning surgical practice and who meet specific requirements to assume an active role in the College at an early stage in their careers.
In addition, there are categories of membership for surgical residents, medical students, and members of the surgical team.
The College currently has approximately 80,000 members, including more than 4,000 Fellows in other countries, making it the largest organization of surgeons in the world. There are presently more than 2,600 Associate Fellows.
Major Activities of the College
Sponsors a variety of continuing medical education programs, such as the Clinical Congress, to help surgeons keep abreast of the latest information on surgical subjects.
Conducts various programs through its Commission on Cancer to improve the care of the cancer patient. Promotes a program that encourages hospitals to develop programs for optimal care of cancer patients and to seek, on a voluntary basis, College approval of these programs.
Through its Committee on Trauma, works to improve the care of injured and critically ill patients--before, en route to, and during hospitalization. Conducts training courses in emergency care for ambulance personnel; sponsors courses for the management and prevention of injuries for trauma specialists as well as for physicians who do not treat trauma victims on a regular basis; and works to encourage hospitals to upgrade their trauma care capabilities. Maintains a voluntary verification/consultation program for trauma centers.
Monitors and analyzes socioeconomic, legislative, and regulatory issues affecting the field of surgery through its Division of Advocacy and Health Policy, which is based in Washington, DC. Participates in policy development on these issues and prepares responses to Congress and federal agencies.
Serves as a sponsoring organization for the Residency Review Committees for Colon and Rectal Surgery, Neurological Surgery, Otolaryngology, Plastic Surgery, Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, and Urology. Supports postdoctoral education in surgery through several scholarship programs.
Through its Office of Public Information, provides general information to the public about surgeons and surgical care. A patient education Web site, which was developed by the College’s Division of Education, helps individuals contemplating elective procedures make informed decisions about surgical care, and provides a variety of resources on frequently performed surgical procedures and related issues.
The College has developed the Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program (SESAP) to provide practicing surgeons with an excellent resource for lifelong learning. SESAP is based on the opinions of expert surgeons, and the published literature, and may be used to stay current, earn CME credits, or prepare for certification or recertification.