Interviews from the AUGS/SGS Joint Scientific Meeting held July 29-31, 2004 in San Diego, CA
Roberta Speyer: This is Roberta Speyer reporting from the meeting in San Diego and this year we have a joint meeting of the American Urogynecologic Society and the Society for Gynecologic Surgeons. Today, I have the pleasure of talking to Thomas Nolan, who is an LSU Professor.
Thomas Nolan, MD: Thank you.
Roberta Speyer: Which chair?
Thomas Nolan, MD: The Abe Mickal Professor and Chair.
Roberta Speyer: You are also the treasurer?
Thomas Nolan, MD: Secretary-treasurer of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons and I will have that post for the next three years.
Roberta Speyer: Tell us a little bit about the Society? Why should a gynecologist, and is it restricted just to US? Why should they get involved?
Thomas Nolan, MD: We have international members, many have been from the United States. The Society of Gynecologic Surgeons evolved from the Vaginal Surgery Society which was an informal group of mostly professors and individuals who were interested in the study and the advancement of gynecologic surgery. What makes us a little different from the American Urogynecologic Society is that we do not limit our membership or our meetings to purely urogynecologic procedures. We have oncologists, reproductive endocrinologists, but a lot of our focus over the last ten years has been with pelvic floor disorders, as well as pelvic prolapse surgery. Many of our members are university-based; however, we do not necessarily go after university professors, per se, but people who are interested in and practice more exclusively doing a lot of pelvic floor and pelvic-type surgery. Over the years, we have tried to enlarge our membership. We do have certain things that make us different in that you have to present a case list, as well as go through a presentation to become a member, however, we have expanded.
Roberta Speyer: What are some of the benefits of being involved? How do you feel that your society is helping the members and their practices?
Thomas Nolan, MD: Well, I always go back to a story: one of my colleagues was interested in vaginal surgery and Bob Shull, a past president and who has been very active over the years, was standing there and this individual said, gee, can I go talk to Bob Shull, can I approach him? I said, look, we’ll just go over and talk to Bob, so we went over and had a very nice conversation and eventually he became a member because of the free dialogue. You are working with some of the world’s experts in areas and most of these people are very approachable. People do not realize this and our society tries to have an informal attitude toward it so that people can approach and speak to these individuals. It is a very nice group of individuals. There are leaders, but they are very approachable and that is what we try to push as a membership in our society – this inter-mixture of ideas and people.
Roberta Speyer: So for someone coming to one of your meetings, the caliber and the quality of the presentations is quite high?
Thomas Nolan, MD: Yes, and we screen all of the papers, we make sure we have excellent discussions, we make sure the discussions are longer than in most meetings and there is an informal period afterward during which people can discuss the papers. So a lot of what goes on in our society is formal on one end, but we stress the informality and the information transfer as much as we can.
Roberta Speyer: Are the meetings only open to members?
Thomas Nolan, MD: Members have to bring guests, but we have been very liberal. As an officer, many people have put my name down as a guest and I have been more than happy to have them come so even though a guest is required to have a member bring them, it has usually not been a barrier to attending the society’s meetings.
Roberta Speyer: Tell us when your next meeting is and what you have that is hot that is coming up?
Thomas Nolan, MD: Our next meeting will be in Palm Springs, that will make it hot, and it will be April 4 to 6, 2005. We are talking about running a cadaver course in conjunction with it, as well as some of the courses we give for doing research for fellows, teaching people how to do better presentations, certain educational aspects of the meetings. We always have a good time, we have a great group and we would really love for people to come.
Roberta Speyer: There you have it. Keep your eyes open and see about attending this meeting. It sounds like a good opportunity and I am sure that you would be happy to be contacted by people who are interested. Give us the url of your website.
Thomas Nolan, MD: The url would be www.lsuhsc.edu and go to administration and you can find me very easily there, or just email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roberta Speyer: Thank you very much, Dr Nolan.
Thomas Nolan, MD: Thank you.
For more information on the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons visit: http://www.sgsonline.org/