2nd Annual L.D. MacLean General Surgery Visiting Professor: Ajit K. Sachdeva


Dr. Sachdeva was invited based on his long and illustrious career as a surgical educator. He has received the Lifetime Master Educator Achievement Award of the Association for Surgical Education and has served as its president. For 12 years he was chairman of the Curriculum Committee of the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hahnemann School of Medicine and oversaw major changes during three successive terms.

We began with five excellent paper presentations, three from Dr. G. Fried's laboratory, including a paper from Dr. Melina Vassiliou, who is enrolled in the Master's of Education Program in the Faculty of Education at McGill. Dr. Simon Bergman reviewed the experience with laparoscopic living donor nephrectomy while Dr. Chris Andrew, the laparoscopic fellow, reviewed the experience with laparoscopic incisional hernia repairs. Dr. Gabe Chan presented his work from his master's on prognostic markers in breast cancer, work that he completed under the supervision of Dr. S. Meterissian and molecular oncologist Dr. Morag Park. Dr. Moishe Liberman presented exciting data that demonstrates that bariatric surgery decreases the mortality of the morbidly obese as compared to matched controls from the general population. Those in attendance, including Dr. Sachdeva, were very impressed with this work, which, much to the credit of Dr. Christou, will be presented at the prestigious American Surgical Association meeting. First prize was awarded to Dr. M. Vassiliou, second prize to Dr. M. Liberman and third prize to Dr. G. Chan. This was followed by three papers on surgical education by Dr. Ken Shaw, pediatric surgeon at the Children's and a 2003-04 Teaching Scholar, who summarized his ongoing research work in developing learning modules and looking at speed-reading as a method to enhance learning. Dr. Cynthia Weston, acting director of the Centre for University Teaching and Learning and a consultant to the General Surgery Program, talked about her approach to teaching residents how to teach. Dr. Sarkis Meterissian talked about his research into using a new assessment tool, called the Script Concordance Test, to evaluate residents' intra-operative decision-making skills.

The highlight of the afternoon was a tough, no-holds-barred debate between Drs. Meterissian (pro) and Metrakos (con) on the topic "Residents can follow Article 12 and still become competent surgeons." The presentations were exciting and heated and in the end a selection committee of 11 judges chose Dr. Meterissian as the winner.

Dr. Sachdeva concluded the day with an excellent presentation entitled "Leadership training for surgeons: A concept whose time has come."

We then headed to the Ritz-Carlton for a fantastic evening which was well attended, where we celebrated not only Dr. L.D. MacLean but also McGill General Surgery. Three retired surgeons in attendance were recognized: Dr. Roberto Estrada, Dr. John Hinchey and Dr. Alexander Peter Henry McLean. This is the beginning of a tradition which the Division of General Surgery is trying to develop, whereby the L.D. MacLean Day we hope will develop into an opportunity for alumni of McGill General Surgery to return to their alma mater.

Awards were given to the Best Resident Teachers (Drs. Prosanto Chaudhury and Kosar Khwaja) and Best Staff Teacher (Dr. Peter Metrakos). Drs. Suneel Khetarpal, Barry Stein and Sarkis Meterissian were also recognized for their teaching efforts.

Dr. Sachdeva presented an excellent Grand Rounds on the Core Competencies and this concluded an excellent and invigorating General Surgery Day. Another person who needs special mention is Ms. Rita Piccioni, who was instrumental in organizing the day.