Message from the EAST President

Friday, October 1, 2021

One of my duties as President is to write a few President’s Messages.  As I am approximately half way through my year of serving on EAST I thought I would share openly part of the statement I wrote two years ago when I was asked about my interest in being considered for the position of President. 

I am doing this to be transparent with what my personal goals for the organization were and give myself a midyear evaluation of said goals.

Below is my initial submission that I sent to the Nominating Committee at that time.  In this draft however, I only changed two words.  I changed the word “young” to “early and mid-career” and “senior” to “later career.”

“It is with great humility and gratitude, but extreme awkwardness, that I write this personal statement for my candidacy for EAST president.  I am sharing my confidential story to the committee in hopes that they recognize why this simple scrappy guy has a passion to mentor and make others’ lives better.

What is my vision for EAST? I would like to see EAST become the most influential organization in trauma and acute care surgery in the world.  This is well within reach, but it will involve leveraging our strengths, acknowledging our opportunities, and going all in.  We have amazing early and mid-career leaders. We must continue to give leadership opportunities to these members and let them lead, but provide advice and coaching from later career members.  We must continue to maintain our leadership in the area of PMGs and be the resource that other organizations reach out to and request as a partner.  I would like to continue to foster and grow our relationship with APPs.  They are a growing number of bright and motivated individuals that have time to dedicate to the organization, especially if we make it “theirs”.  We must figure out how to keep later career members from moving on to other organizations and abandoning EAST.  We should fully support having leadership positions lead by early and mid-career faculty, but we also need to be vigilant in developing supportive leadership roles for later career members.  If not, EAST is at risk for always being the “children of AAST and the COT.”  Current and past leaders of EAST freely state that EAST is where you “cut your teeth”, and AAST and the COT is where you really get the opportunities.  I am convinced that this is not what EAST is, nor what we should be.  I would also like to create a way to be more immediately responsive to important real-time membership questions via social media or website.   I would tackle this as one of my goals in leadership under the project name of “Just Ask EAST.”  I would like us to continue to move forward and be the trauma organization that people look to first. “

Now half way through my term as president of this fantastic organization I have had the opportunity to serve an amazing group of colleagues.  I stand behind by my statement and goals that I wrote two years ago.  We have worked to make EAST inclusive, and thus I eliminated terms around “young” and “old” that I had in the original draft.   As evidence of the strength of our organization, EAST raised a little over $106,000 thanks to the many donors.  I would like to give special thanks to the leadership of Drs. Jeffry Nahmias and Thomas Duncan when we came up with the “Trauma Center Challenge” idea.  This is also in large part to the great work by Kinga Litwiniuk who was the gifted staff member who worked to help reach this landmark level of donations.

In closing, I really hope to see everyone in person at the 35th EAST Annual Scientific Assembly.  Please be safe and thank you for all you do in caring for our patients.  I would leave you with one last foreshadowing message…  GO BIG… BUT…. GO HOME.

Jeffrey A. Claridge, MD, MS, FACS
President, Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma

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