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Logo of ccrsClin Colon Rectal SurgInstructions for AuthorsSubscribeAboutEditorial Board
Clin Colon Rectal Surg. 2006 August; 19(3): 107.
PMCID: PMC2780165
Career Development
Guest Editors Harry T. Papaconstantinou M.D. H. David Vargas M.D.

How to Support Military Colon and Rectal Surgery

I believe that military colorectal surgery is a national treasure. Our country is at war, and a major burden of the current conflict has fallen to our military members and their families. As described in the article on military practice in this issue of Clinics, military surgery is under siege and needs to be protected and supported. To become an advocate and promoter of military colorectal surgery, consider the following:

  1. Try to find ways to showcase our military members. Rather than just sitting in the audience at our national or regional meetings, they deserve the podium. We need an affirmative action program for our military members. There ought to be a portion of the program of each American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) meeting for presentations by the military. There ought to be more members from the military on committees. Although many of the military members are early in their career, they should be offered the opportunity to serve as officers for ASCRS and the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery as soon as possible. Perhaps a Military Liaison Committee could be formed or an annual military dinner could be a part of ASCRS. Again, I emphasize that many leaders of our specialty have served in the military but were never fully allowed to lead until they left the military. We ought to allow these sorts of leaders to bloom while yet in uniform. Military members continue to be an invisible force in ASCRS, one that deserves to be tapped and encouraged.
  2. If you teach in a colorectal fellowship program, try to recruit a member of the military as a fellow.
  3. If offered, please accept the opportunity to serve as a consultant. In this role you can elevate the level of knowledge and expertise of military physicians by teaching them better practices, new techniques, and so forth. In a very real way, you will be serving your specialty and your military.
  4. When you see our military members at meetings, please thank them personally for their contributions and the sacrifices of their families.

Our military surgeons are representing our specialty while serving our country. They have earned and deserve our thanks and support.


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the United States government.


The author is a colonel in the United States Air Force, retired.

Articles from Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery are provided here courtesy of Thieme Medical Publishers