I am honored to be your President from 2022 to 2024.
First, I would like to acknowledge John Hunter, the Past-President of the ISS/SIC, who managed to keep the society going through the surreal Covid pandemic, which shut down the whole world for over two years.
If anything, the Covid pandemic has taught us the power of the Internet. We held virtual Council meetings despite the Council members being from all corners of the world with different time zones. ISS/SIC had a successful Virtual Surgical Week VSW 2021 in August 2021, when it was clear that the International Surgical Week ISW 2021 in Kuala Lumpur would not be possible as Malaysia was still in lockdown. International Surgical Week was canceled for the second time due to a viral epidemic. The first cancellation was the International Surgical Week ISW 2003 in Bangkok due to the SARS Epidemic, which luckily did not last as long.
The world emerged from the Covid lockdown and held the face-to-face International Surgical Week ISW 2022 in Vienna, thanks to the efforts of Albert Tuchmann, whom I would like to acknowledge here as well. Despite parts of the world, particularly Hong Kong and China, which still had travel restrictions, the conference was successfully held with almost 900 participants.
Because of the Covid pandemic, the previous ISS/SIC Council members served three years instead of two years. I want to thank the outgoing members of the council, Andrew Hill, Hisham Abdullah, Italo Braghetto, and the Immediate Past Presidents of the Integrated Societies; Akira Miyauchi (IAES), Elmin Steyn (IATSIC), Anders Thorell (IASMEN), Gaurav Agarwal (BSI), Alessandro Fichera (ISDS) and Russel Gruen (ASAP) for their services.
I want to introduce our new council for 2022 to 2024. The Officers comprise the President, President-Elect Ari Leppäniemi, Immediate Past-President John G. Hunter, Treasurer Gerard Doherty, and Secretary General Kenneth Boffard. The Councillors-at-Large are Hiroyuki Konno, Albert Tuchmann, April Camilla Roslani, and Susan Hill. The Presidents of the Integrated Societies; are Jan Zedenius (IAES), Scott D'Amours (IATSIC), Steven Wolf (IASMEN), Owen Ung (BSI), Jamie Murphy (ISDS), and Milliard Debrew Beyene (ASAP). Also in the Council are Julie Ann Sosa, Editor in Chief of the WJS, Michael G. Sarr, Secretary-Treasurer ISSF, and Peter Vogelbach, President FGCS.
The ISS/SIC Council members come from all corners of the world, with four women members, demonstrating the commitment of ISS/SIC to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
As President, I will continue to uphold the ISS/SIC's mission to advance the science and art of surgery worldwide. The goal of the society is to work for international teaching of both general and specialized surgery across the world, particularly in low and middle-income countries. The biennial International Surgical Week ISW brings surgeons globally to present the latest advances in surgery through plenary lectures, symposia, debates, forums, and workshops. During International Surgical Week, through its Integrated Societies, we continue to organize workshops and teaching sessions in different parts of the world, particularly in low and middle-income countries. During the Covid Pandemic, webinars were successfully organized, and these activities were essential in keeping in touch with our members and introducing ISS/SIC to potential members.
The official journal of ISS/SIC is the World Journal of Surgery WJS, which has seen an increase in the Impact Factor over the past two years to 3.352 in 2022, thanks to the Editorial team's efforts ably led by Editor-in-Chief Julie Ann Sosa. WJS receives submissions from all over the world, particularly from Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), and has a special section for Surgery in LMICs.
The ISS/SIC contract with Springer ends at the end of 2022, and the negotiation for a new contract will be led by our Past-President John Hunter, with extensive experience as Editor in Chief for over ten years.
Over the next two years, I will work with the Council Members and the Integrated Societies to increase ISS/SIC's worldwide visibility and intensify our drive for new members to add to our current membership. Despite the Pandemic, we saw an increase in active members from 2,083 in February 2020 to 2,431 in August 2022. I would also like to expand our numbers of Fellows (FISS), which was created to recognize those providing the highest standards of surgical practice. I encourage those who have been members for more than five years to apply for FISS on the website at http://iss-sic.com/membership/fellowship.html.
Before the Covid Pandemic closed borders, ISS/SIC developed partnerships with many surgical societies worldwide, particularly in LMICs. Members of these Associated Societies were invited to join the ISS/SIC at discounted rates, increasing our membership's diversity. As President, I will continue the efforts started by my predecessors to expand ISS/SIC membership to different parts of the world.
ISS/SIC now has two foundations, the ISS Foundation ISSF, based in the USA, and the Foundation for Global Surgical Care FGCS, based in Switzerland. The role of these foundations is to support the training of international young surgeons, i.e., members of the IASSS International Association of Student Surgical Societies, an Associated Society of the ISS/SIC. Furthermore, the foundations also will support medical students and surgical residents by providing travel grants to the International Surgical Week ISW.
ISS/SIC, in partnership with the G4 Alliance, launched the Suva Guidelines for Quality Safe Surgery, Obstetric, Trauma, and Anesthesia Care: the 11 Best Practice Recommendations at the ISW 2022 in Vienna. These evidence-based guidelines, chaired by ISS/SIC Past President Andrew Hill, were the culmination of 3 years of work, which began with a meeting in Suva, Fiji, in March 2020, just before Covid locked down the world, and continued online after that. ISS/SIC will continue to support the implementation of these guidelines and advocate for global surgery with its partners, aiming to improve global access to surgery and surgical outcomes worldwide.
I want to acknowledge our team from the ISS/SIC Administrative Office in Zurich, Mike Iliopoulos, Chris Storz, Denise Eggler Braun, and Laurie Lazaro. They keep the ISS/SIC running smoothly together with our Secretary-General, Kenneth D. Boffard.
Finally, I look forward to welcoming you to the following International Surgical Week ISW 2024 on 26-29 August 2024 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, my home country. This is an opportunity for surgeons, surgical trainees, and medical students worldwide to meet and discuss developments and advances in all aspects of surgical practice.
Past Presidents have alluded to the unique nature of the ISS/SIC, in that we have a chance to develop lasting friendships with surgeons from around the world and that ISS/SIC members are based in 120 countries. I indeed found this true when I joined ISS/SIC in 2003.
See you in Malaysia in August 2024.
Cheng Har Yip
President International Surgical Week ISW 2024