Clinical Congress Leaves Favorable Impression on San Diego Teenagers, Economy

Creating the next generation of surgeons is an essential activity for the College.

One way the ACS does that is by fostering a curiosity for the specialty among high school students, especially those who are under-represented in surgical careers and at a time when they are formulating future life plans.

For more than 20 years, high school students in Clinical Congress host cities have been introduced to surgeons and members of the surgical team who offer insights into the joys of a career in medicine and surgery.

“Surgeons are extraordinary individuals who are extremely dedicated. At each Clinical Congress, not only do we continue to learn how to give our patients the highest quality of care, but we also leave behind a legacy as we inspire future generations of surgeons,” said High School Program Chair Mallory Williams, MD, MPH, FACS, who has been involved with the activity for more than a decade and calls it a “treasure.”

This year, 75 students with a strong aptitude in math and science were invited from five San Diego High Schools to participate in A Day with the American College of Surgeons, where they met with 17 surgeon volunteers and one medical student volunteer. The teenagers learned about the specialty, asked pointed questions about what it’s like to be a surgeon, and saw cutting-edge innovations in the Exhibit Hall.

“One of the best feelings in the world is when I see Converse sneakers beneath a da Vinci robot in the Exhibit Hall. The students’ eyes widen, their smiles broaden, and their minds open up to new worlds,” Dr. Williams said.

The students were not only sent home with an increased appetite for learning about careers in medicine, they also were taught practical hands-on skills in case of a bleeding emergency; a portion of their afternoon was dedicated to the learning techniques from the ACS STOP THE BLEED® program.

Feedback from this program is always positive. Students from a previous course wrote:

  • “I’ve always been interested in medicine and, after today, I have become more aware of what it is like to be a surgeon. My interest increased even more after attending this meeting.”
  • “[This program] really inspired me to believe that I am good enough to be a surgeon. The Exhibit Hall tour excited me.”
  • “It made me realize how important saving lives is and how the fields need more doctors to make a change.”

Clinical Congress also positively left its mark on the San Diego economy. The San Diego Tourism Authority estimates that attendees brought $36 million to the area.

Watch Clinical Congress Sessions On Demand

Virtual registration is still an option for Clinical Congress 2022. An on-demand library of recorded sessions from San Diego is available until May 1, 2023.