The Southwestern Surgical Congress is an organization that promotes the advancement of General Surgery by representing the interests of academic, community and rural surgeons, surgical residents and medical students through education, advocacy, research and innovation. The goal of the Congress is to promote excellence in patient care and professional development.


Passing of the Gavel
Passing of the Gavel:
Clay Cothren Burlew (2016-17 President) and
John Potts, III (2015-16 President)

SWSC Members:

With my Presidential year underway, we are already beginning to plan for the 2017 Annual Meeting.

Our recent 2016 meeting at the Hotel del Coronado will be a hard act to follow! Under the leadership of President John Potts and Program Chair Mike Truitt we had a spectacular meeting. The meeting included the tried and true (incredible resident and new member involvement, early morning quick shots, sage advice from the College speakers, and invited lecturers) as well as new presentations (the well-received Past-Presidents Panel, luncheons geared toward publishing and surgical education, and a truly hands-on postgraduate course). Highlights of the meeting included the induction of 23 new members and the presentation of the Jack Barney Award to Abdul Alarhayem, MD (Time is the enemy: Mortality in trauma patients with hemorrhage from torso injury occurs long before the “golden hour”) and the Best Poster Award to Cristine Velazco, MD (Comparing IN-111 pentetreotide scans and 18F-FDG PET scan efficacy in carcinoid diagnosis).

During the 2016 annual meeting, the Multicenter Trials Group met to discuss several ongoing projects as well as potential future studies. Data collection on 2 trials are nearing completion with planned abstract submission for the 2017 meeting.

  • Outpatient management of uncomplicated appendicitis
    PI: Richard Frazee
  • EGS operations performed in patients while on irreversible antithrombotic agents
    PI: Mike Truitt
  • An additional study has been opened for planned 2018 meeting submission: A Protocolized Approach to Choledocholithiasis
    PIs: Richard Frazee and Mike Truitt

Further details are available on the SWSC webpage in the members only section.  Please reach out to the PIs for each of these if you are interested in participating.

The latest initiative of the SWSC is the development of The Lowry Fund under our current SWSC Foundation umbrella. Dr. Ernest Dunn and Dr. Ken Murayama have agreed to be the co-chairs of the Lowry Fund, and will helm this project with the support and guidance of the 5 member Budget & Finance committee (Dmitry Oleynikov (chair), Tom White, David Plurad, Frank Wright, and Dennis Kim). They will define the composition of awards and initiatives distributed from the Fund. The first award will be The Lowry Award, which will be given to the best paper presented or senior authored by a new member within 3 years of induction.

Donate Online

The SWSC Council will meet at the annual College meeting in Washington DC this October. Please contact your state representative with any suggestions and concerns that you would like addressed.

As mentioned at the annual meeting in Coronado, we would like to have an online photo directory of all members in the members only section. Please send your most current head-shot to Jill or Marjie for inclusion at

Finally, the deadline for abstract submission is rapidly approaching! Please encourage your residents, students, partners, colleagues and friends to submit their research. The annual meeting is a terrific venue for the practicing surgeon and caliber of the program is dependent upon you! Mark your calendars – all abstracts must be submitted on-line by October 28, 2016.

Thank you for your loyalty and support of the SWSC. It is the members of this organization that make it so special. I am truly honored to be your President.

All the best,
Clay Cothren Burlew, MD
President, Southwestern Surgical Congress