American College of Surgeons

The American College of Surgeons is an educational association of surgeons created 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.

Major Activities of the College

  • Sponsors a variety of continuing medical education programs, such as the Clinical Congress and Spring Meeting, 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 Advocacy and Health Policy and Washington (DC) Office. 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 (General Surgery), Thoracic Surgery, and Urology. Supports postdoctoral education in surgery through several scholarship programs.
  • Through its Office of Public Information, provides public education services to patients with general information to help them make informed decisions about surgical care, and distributes a brochure series on frequently performed surgical procedures. Sponsors a national advertising campaign to inform the public about selecting a surgeon who is trained and board-certified in an approved surgical specialty.
  • 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.


Journal of the American College of Surgeons, the College's official scientific journal, is published monthly. The Bulletin is the College's monthly news magazine for its Fellows. It contains articles that the surgeon finds helpful in the daily practice of his or her profession, columns and articles that highlight and analyze socioeconomic trends, major addresses given at the Clinical Congress and Spring Meeting, a news section, and detailed reports on College activities.

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