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The Future of ASTS: Trainees Enjoy Winter Symposium

Feb 28, 2024, 15:51 PM by Anna Shults

Written by Steven Wisel, MD, Assistant Professor, Comprehensive Transplant Center, Surgical Director, Pancreas Transplant Program, Department of Surgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

On a Friday night behind velvet ropes, Pints with Professors was the most exclusive event of the Winter Symposium. An innovative networking event sponsored by the ASTS Pipeline Committee, Pints with Professors brought students and residents face-to-face with leaders in transplantation to solicit essential career advice and plot a pathway as transplant surgeons. The event was well-attended and vibrant, showcasing the culture and collegiality of ASTS. Amidst great discussion and new connections, it was clear to all that the future of ASTS is bright.

Medical student, resident, and fellow involvement in ASTS is an essential component to the transplant community, and it was felt throughout the weekend of the Winter Symposium. For many learners, the Winter Symposium is a first opportunity to present on a main stage, to connect with an ASTS President, or to realize how fun a group of transplant surgeons can be! During the Symposium, I had the opportunity to ask some trainees what they enjoy most about their participation in ASTS. For many, these answers will ring true as a reminder of what ignited our own spark leading us to transplantation and the ASTS community:


“Since being here, I’ve met so many surgeons and made some amazing connections. Outside of the conference, the ASTS Academic Universe is an underutilized resource for residents on transplant rotations.”


“ASTS is unique versus other academic groups because of how approachable it is. People really want to meet you and get to know you. It is a place where you can sit and talk to anyone.”


“As a second-year medical student, participation in ASTS puts me in touch with doctors and surgeons at different stages of their careers, to show me the full breadth of what the field is about. For someone like me, transplant was on my radar and it’s nice to know that there’s an organization that will provide me a resource throughout my training.”


“This is my second ASTS Winter Symposium. My favorite part of attending is talking to faculty and having personal communications. ASTS offers interesting presentations and developmental events; it’s not the same at other conferences.”


“Coming from a smaller institution, it’s cool to see innovation and research we don’t experience on a day-to-day basis. It’s nice to interact with a group of attendings supportive of a career in transplant, and make connections with other residents going into transplant.”


“Participation in ASTS is an excellent opportunity to meet fellows and attendings while broadening exposure to transplant. People are nice!”


Events like the ASTS Winter Symposium are a reminder of the importance of our transplant community. Beyond the science, innovation, and policy, ASTS and its annual meetings are an opportunity to appreciate our colleagues, to reconnect with mentors and past co-fellows, and – as I saw first-hand this past January – an opportunity to encourage and inspire the next generation of transplant surgeons.

Finally, we issue a call to all trainee members of ASTS: consider joining the ASTS Communications Committee as a trainee liaison! This is a unique opportunity to reach the entire ASTS community with exciting scientific updates, feature cutting-edge topics in the Chimera, and begin to make your mark in ASTS. Interested applicants may complete an application through our online portal!