Message from the EAST President

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Elliott R. Haut, MD, PhD EAST President

Better Together

Professional organizations such as the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST) continue to shape the landscape of American medicine. EAST’s drive to improve the care of the injured patient has not wavered in over 30 years. However, the way in which we approach our mission is reengineered, reconsidered, and reevaluated nearly every day. EAST’s path forward has always focused on the young and early career surgeon as a key variable in the outcomes of trauma patients. Many EAST programs fall exclusively under the exclusive purview of EAST and aim directly at these young surgeons. For example,  our Leadership Development Workshop and Mentoring Program are signature EAST items.

However, some endeavors we undertake rely on collaboration with other organizations to achieve our mission. We do not exist in a vacuum. There are dozens of professional societies whose work might overlap with EAST’s. To truly change the world we need to work together under the overarching umbrella of trauma surgery- rather than splintering off into the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST), the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACS-COT), or the Western Trauma Association (WTA). We must not see these groups as direct competitors. We are working to change that landscape. The most vivid analogy I can provide is to the world of board games. There's a new style of non-competitive, cooperative games such as “Forbidden Desert” and “Pandemic” where the players don't try to beat each other but they try to work together to collectively beat the game. The National Trauma Institute (NTI) and Coalition of National Trauma Research (CNTR) are ideal examples of this type of collaboration. A single individual trauma organization could never have done what we have been able to do together; by using one collective voice we convinced the federal government to provide tens of millions of dollars for trauma research. Next up, a dedicated trauma research institute in the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Our ongoing decade long relationship with the Society of Trauma Nurses (STN) reemphasizes the multidisciplinary nature of trauma care. We collaborate with nurses every day in the trauma bay, ICU, and operating room. Why wouldn't this relationship flow over to our respective professional organizations? We continue to build alliances and create practice management guidelines in collaboration with sister organizations such as the Pediatric Trauma Society (PTS), the Chest Wall Injury Society (CWIS), the Trauma Anesthesiology Society (TAS) and the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM). Most recently we have been growing our connections with other organizations, expanding beyond the traditional scope of trauma surgery. Our new relationships with the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), the American Burn Association (ABA) are bringing EAST expertise and programming to their national meetings and hosting their members to present at the EAST Annual Scientific Assembly. We have partnered with the Society of University Surgeons (SUS) to fund and enroll participants in the “Promising Leaders Program.”

Finally, EAST is growing our affiliations to reach out to the public regarding injury prevention, one of our most important roles, especially in this time of heated debate about gun safety. Earlier this year I had the honor of representing EAST in Chicago at a collaborative meeting of nearly 50 professional organizations for a Medical Summit on Firearm Injury Prevention. Our collective voices will remind the country that gun violence and firearm safety are matters of public health rather than partisan or political issues. #ThisIsOurLane Just this month, a new public service announcement co-sponsored by EAST, alongside three leading national organization (Brady, Giffords, and End Family Fire) debuted to improve awareness of safe storage of firearms. By working together, we have the opportunity to reach a wider audience and make a larger impact on the public locally, nationally, and around the world.

Please contact me any time via email ( or Twitter (@elliotthaut) about EAST related matters. 

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