In a changing environment, only the adaptable survive,” is a favorite quote with a Darwinian flavor. How does that apply to the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery? We have been tasked with steering our AACS ship through the COVID-19 pandemic. We have had to adapt with virtual Zoom meetings to share dealing with pandemic issues affecting our offices. We cancelled our Fall Facial Symposium, utilized virtual media for our Annual Review Course, and our 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting will be a Virtual Conference.

Yet for every challenge, the adaptable find ways to succeed. I am proud of Colleen Nolan, our Executive Director, who rallied the staff and quickly implemented COVID-19 physician sessions to help our members with medical and financial issues. Kudos go to Kevin Duplechain, MD, who will chair the 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting with a virtual platform. I believe as a member of the planning committee, his adaptation will present a fantastic opportunity to show case live surgery, panel discussions, and exhibitor presentations. Rania Agha, MD, exemplified adaptability and commitment to our Academy with our inaugural Hands-On Injectables Workshop. She orchestrated the necessary changes to have a COVID-19-compliant Live Surgery workshop held at her office on August 22-23.

To help navigate through these challenges, for the first time, we are having a Summit of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, American Board of Facial Cosmetic Surgery, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Foundation, and the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. This virtual meeting will take place in October and help us align our commonality, improve our shared resources, and plan for our future.

Yet we have many more challenges facing us that will require our adaptability. As our membership ages, we need to recruit younger physicians who have the same passion and commitment our retiring physicians have had. Over the past decade we have transitioned to rely on our certified Fellowship Programs to serve as the only path to board certification. Our goal was to have ACGME equivalency. Perhaps it is time to revisit this issue in order to increase board certification participation.

Financially, many organizations are struggling with increased expenses and decreased revenues. It is extremely important to provide a financially sound organization and your board is diligently striving to accomplish this.

The strength of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery has traditionally been our educational programs. The academy was the pioneer in sponsoring liposuction workshops, live surgery workshops, and more recently, cadaver workshops. However, I receive 3 to 4 weekly emails of cosmetic educational meetings from other organizations in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas as well as international meetings. Thus, we need to define what makes AACS education unique to provide relevancy to our members. Should we focus on monthly webinars or our Digital Library? Perhaps our relevancy is in advocacy. AACS is the one organization who can represent our members at state and national levels. Perhaps we need to direct more resources and efforts toward advocating for our members.

Recognizing the need to adapt is the first step. With the current Board of Trustees leadership, membership input and staff support, we are committed to ensuring the Academy flourishes.

Thanks for the opportunity to serve as President. As always, I welcome your feedback.

Mark Mandell-Brown, MD
President, American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery

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