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Message from the Chair Tim King, MD, PhD

Timothy King, MD, PhD, ChairChair-elect Dr. Justin Sacks has put together a fantastic scientific program which he has outlined in detail. In addition to coming to Birmingham for a great PSRC meeting, I also want to encourage you to come early and/or stay late to enjoy some of the wonderful activities available in the Birmingham area. May is a beautiful time of year in Birmingham. Here are a few ideas for you to consider:

For those of you who love to golf, I highly recommend one of the Robert Trent Jones Golf trail courses. The RTJ trail consists of 26 18-hole golf courses at 11 sites across Alabama. The Ross Bridge Golf Course is close by and is one of the longest courses in the world but offers multiple tees for golfers of all levels. Symbolic of an old parkland style golf course, ten holes play along the banks of two lakes connected by a spectacular waterfall dropping 80 feet between the ninth and eighteenth greens. If you want to stay over Sunday night at the Renaissance Hotel at Ross Bridge and play golf while you are there, please let me know. We may be able to get discounted rates for you. If you are interested in playing golf at one of the local country clubs, I can help arrange that for you as well.

A brand new TopGolf facility has been built 2 blocks from the hotel. TopGolf is a premier golf entertainment complex where the competition of sport meets your favorite local hangout. Anyone can play. There are over 100 climate-controlled hitting bays that overlook a 240-yard outfield with dartboard-like targets in the ground. The closer to the center or “bull’s-eye” you get and the farther out you hit your microchipped balls, the more points you receive

If you want to know what it is like to drive on a professional racetrack, I highly recommend the Porsche Driving School which is located at the Barber Motorsports Park (where we will have the Welcome reception). This is one of two Porsche Driving schools in the world (the other being located at the Porsche factory in Germany) and is considered one of the most challenging racing circuits in the country. This professionally designed, world-class circuit plays host to the Indy Car Series and the MotoAmerica Superbike Series. With 2.38 miles, 16 turns and more than 80 feet of elevation change, the track's demands will keep your attention.

You might want to visit Vulcan Park and Museum. Vulcan is the world's largest cast iron statue; made of 100,000 pounds of iron and 56 feet tall, he stands atop of Red Mountain overlooking the city of Birmingham. Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and forge, was originally created in 1904 as Birmingham's exhibit to the St. Louis World's Fair to showcase the city's booming iron industry. Vulcan Park and Museum features spectacular panoramic views of Birmingham and surrounding areas from an open-air observation balcony atop the statue’s 124-foot pedestal.

If you are in the mood for watching sports, the Birmingham Barons (minor league baseball team) will be hosting the Montgomery Biscuits at Regions Field, May 17-21. In addition, the Regions Tradition golf tournament will be held at the beautiful Greystone Golf & Country Club, May 16-20. You can witness some of golfs greats such as Miguel Angel Jimenez, John Daly, Jeff Maggert, Freddie Couples, Tom Lehman, Bernhard Langer, Mark O'Meara and many more.

To learn more about the importance of Birmingham in the USA Civil Rights movement you can visit the newly named Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument which is less than a mile from the hotel and includes the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute along with the A.G. Gaston Motel, Kelly Ingram Park, The 16th Street Baptist Church and Bethel Baptist Church.

You should also enjoy the local food scene while you are here. I will provide a list of local establishments for you to visit when you arrive but if you want to make reservations at one of the top restaurants in town I would recommend one of the following:

Hot & Hot Fish Club, is one of the city’s finest restaurants with one of the city’s best chefs, Chris Hastings, who won a James Beard award in 2012. You may have seen him on The Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” beating the stew out of Bobby Flay.

Highlands Bar and Grill, the flagship restaurant for James Stitt, the other James Beard Award winning chef in Birmingham, or its sister establishment, Bottega Restaurant.

There are many other adventures within and around Birmingham that you can explore. For example, Red Mountain Park, in Birmingham, is a great place to go hiking, mountain biking or zip-lining. Within a 90-minute drive you can visit the US Space and Rocket Center (home of NASA’s Space Camp) in Huntsville. The home of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide is a short 45-minute drive away and NASCAR’s Talladega SuperSpeedway is also less than 1-hour from the hotel.

I am very excited for you to visit Birmingham and UAB. If there is anything I can do to help you enjoy your visit while you are here, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Timothy King, MD, PhD

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Message from Justin Sacks, MD, MBA

The PSRC 63rd Annual Meeting is only a few months away and I am looking forward with great anticipation to welcoming you all to Birmingham, Alabama. This year we received 485 abstract submissions, a record for the Research Council, and slotted 144 podium presentations, 60 quick shot presentations and 64 posters on the program. This overwhelming interest in our meeting and in plastic surgery research shows us that our field and the PSRC continue to thrive and are more vibrant than ever. Dr. Tim King, the Chair of the PSRC, and I have planned strong scientific programs and engaging social events, which will take place at the Sheraton Birmingham and at attractions around the city. The meeting will be a celebration of Plastic Surgery and all aspects of the basic, clinical and translational research related to the field.

The meeting in Birmingham will start Thursday morning packed with scientific presentations followed by our member business meeting during which we will elect the next PSRC Chair. We will then go into a session organized by Dr. King on “Developing the next-generation surgeon-scientist,” featuring outstanding speakers (Dr. Andrea Pusic, Dr. Babak Mehrara and Dr. Geoffrey Gurtner), followed by more high quality science. Thursday evening we will host the PSRC members dinner at the Birmingham Museum of Art, which has one of the finest collections in the Southeastern United States with more than 24,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and decorative arts representing a numerous diverse cultures. Among other highlights, the Museum’s collection of Asian art is considered the most comprehensive in the Southeast, and its Vietnamese ceramics one of the finest in the U.S. The Museum also is home to a remarkable Kress Collection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts from the late 13th century to c.1750, and the 18th-century European decorative arts include superior examples of English ceramics and French furniture. It will be a great dinner and evening. Members: put it on your calendar!

We will start the program Friday with the Local Program at the University of Alabama Margaret Cameron Spain Auditorium from 8:15 AM to 11:45 AM. The Local Program will focus top-notch speakers including Dr. Herb Chen, Chair of the Department of Surgery at Alabama. After the Local Program we will head back to the Sheraton Birmingham for a networking lunch and to hear some of the highest quality science on the program. Friday evening we will have a Welcome Reception at the Barber Motorsports Museum, featuring the worlds best and largest motorcycle collection. It will be a great social event where we will mix science, career development and good old-fashioned fun.

On Saturday, we will continue with the scientific sessions, host a poster reception, and then host the Mentorship Program and Women in Research receptions in the evening. Dr. Arin Greene has done an outstanding job continuing on the great success of our established mentorship program. This year we matches close to thirty mentor-mentee dyads. Dr. Amy Moore will lead the Women in Research reception again. Last years reception was a great success and we plan on making this a permanent fixture in our program, Saturday night will be free for attendees to explore the great city of Birmingham as no social formal events are being planned as part of the meeting. Knowing the spirit of our group I am sure we have some “unofficial” events to take the PSRC in Birmingham to the next level! Sunday we will wrap up the program with our “quick shots” and awards presentation. The “quick shots” contest will be 3-minute presentations in rapid sequence on two simultaneous podiums with some of the best moderators in the business. To cap it off we will have the audience vote for the best top three presentations with certificate awards and prizes!

A new feature to this year’s meeting, which I would like to highlight, is the program Dr. Scott Hollenbeck and the PSRC Education Committee are organizing to further increase the education and mentoring facilitated by our organization. In an effort to add value to the experience of presenting at the PSRC, podium presentation authors have the ability to receive additional feedback on their presentation this year, aside from any audience discussion. The review process will be anonymous and will be performed by a PSRC member sitting in the audience during the presentation. The feedback will consist of critiques on slide format, presentation style and the scientific merit of the study. Additionally, suggestions for future studies or clarification of current studies may be provided. The feedback will be returned to the presenter only after the meeting in email form, the results of which are not meant for grading or other forms of evaluation, simply to provide education. This is a wonderful opportunity for authors to take advantage of and will provide great value to increase the quality of our science.

Although we still have a few months to go, I would like to thank the PSRC Executive Committee and Dr. Tim King, Chair, for his leadership this past year. It has been an excellent experience working alongside him to organize the 2018 Research Council program and I am proud of the program we have put together. Based on the quality of the abstracts, the depth and breadth of the research and the diversity of the participants we have much to be excited about. I look forward to your visit at our upcoming meeting in Birmingham this May. See everyone very soon.

Warm regards,

Justin M. Sacks, MD, MBA
Chair-Elect and 2018 Program Chair

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Sign Up for the Mentorship Program!

PSRC members are invited to sign up for the fifth year of the Mentorship Program! The Mentorship Program pairs established plastic surgery researchers with young faculty, fellows, residents, or research fellows to provide them with the unique opportunity to gain experience from seasoned research veterans.

The Mentorship Program will be a 1-year time commitment for both mentors and mentees. Recommended activities for the 1-year period include meeting at the 2018 PSRC Annual Meeting Mentorship Reception to kick off your partnership, phone and email exchanges throughout the year, and connecting at affiliated meetings when possible. Reminders are sent throughout the year to encourage regular communication between mentors and mentees.

To participate as a mentor or mentee, complete the online application. Submit your application by Monday, March 26, 2018 to participate in upcoming cycle.

The PSRC Membership Committee will match mentors and mentees and contact all parties accordingly by mid-April so that pairs can plan to meet in Birmingham at the PSRC 2018 Annual Meeting. The application for the PSRC 2018-2019 Mentorship Program is now available.

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PSRC 63rd Annual Meeting

PSRC 63rd Annual Meeting
Important Reminders: #PSRC2018 Annual Meeting in Birmingham
  • The 2018 Annual Meeting preliminary program is now online. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the scientific program and social events before you get to Birmingham!
  • Annual Meeting social events included with registration: Thursday, May 17th PSRC Members Dinner at the Birmingham Museum of Art (Members only, or ticket must be purchased by a member for a non-member to attend), Friday, May 18th Welcome Reception at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Saturday, May 19th Poster Reception, Saturday May 19th Mentorship Program Reception (program participants only), Saturday, May 19th Women in Plastic Surgery Research Reception (by invitation)
  • Register before the early bird registration deadline of Monday, March 25, 2018 to avoid a $50 increase in fees.
  • Reserve your housing by the deadline of Monday, April 23, 2018 to receive the discounted group rate at the Sheraton Birmingham.

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Member Interview: Edwin Wilkins, MD, University of Michigan

Edwin Wilkins, MD1. What was your light bulb moment / turning point into research?
I became interested in outcomes research in the early 1990’s. At that time, there were very few plastic surgeons doing this this type of research. Despite the fact that what we do every day in plastic surgery has such a profound effect on patients’ quality of life, there were few studies attempting to measure these benefits in a scientific fashion. This was particularly true for my clinical focus—breast reconstruction. With the help of colleagues from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, we were able to demonstrate that breast reconstruction conveys significant psychosocial and quality of life benefits for women undergoing mastectomies. To actually be able to measure the positive impact of our efforts on patients’ lives was (and still is) very moving for me.

2. Who was your inspiration / mentor and how did they inspire you?
I was fortunate to have many mentors. Outcomes researchers everywhere are inspired by the work of Ernest Codman a century ago. I was also inspired by Dr. Wendy Schain, one of the first investigators studying the effects of mastectomy and reconstruction on women’s daily lives. Jack Wennberg, a pioneer in health services research at Dartmouth, gave me immeasurable guidance during my graduate years. However, most of all, I’m inspired by the plastic surgery residents and fellows with whom I am privileged to work. They push me to think creatively and unconventionally, a great gift to someone in the later stages of his career.

3. How do you balance being a surgeon and a scientist?
It’s not easy to remain a productive researcher in the face of growing clinical demands. The concept of “protected research time” has become an endangered species, so to speak. Those of us conducting outcomes research do have a special advantage over our basic science colleagues: With the right study designs, outcomes researchers collect data as part of their everyday clinical practices. The results of our analyses can then be taken back to the clinical setting to help us and our patients choose the right surgical options. In essence, clinical practice and outcomes research can (and usually do) have a very synergistic relationship.

4. What is the breakdown of your time?
Since the lines between clinical practice and research are somewhat blurred for me, it’s hard to say.

5. Surgeon-scientists are incredibly busy. Do you have any tips to maintain a productive and valuable mentorship relationship?
Whether you’re the mentor or the mentee, you have to make the time. Unless I’m elbow deep in a wound, I always have time to talk. Frankly, I’m still rather flattered that anyone even wants my advice or cares what I think!

6. What was the greatest challenge you encountered in your research career / research focus?
To put it bluntly—money. With each passing year, finding research funding becomes more difficult. The multicenter prospective outcome studies that we need in plastic surgery require considerable resources, but in the meantime, prospects for extramural funding remain challenging and are likely to become more so.

7. What is the best research /career advice you received?
Don’t be discouraged by failure. When a grant proposal or manuscript gets rejected (and they inevitably will…frequently), use the experience to grow and sharped your skills. And don’t ever quit.

8. What advice do you have for early career scientists?
Doing good research is hard—Chances are, the road will not be smooth. To persevere, it helps to have a “noble cause”. Make sure you choose a research focus that you really care about. In my case, it was helping mastectomy patients. When I was an intern, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Seeing what she and others like her went through motivated me to study the ways in which plastic surgeons can help restore these patients to normal lives.

9. How you have become successful?
Whatever success I’ve had is due to my good fortune in working with the best and the brightest people in our field—Both mentors and mentees. I’ve learned a great deal from both.

10. What do you feel the PSRC represents to surgeon scientists?
As I see it, the PSRC’s primary purpose is to promote high quality research through team-building, skills development, and pilot funding—in essence, a “research incubator” for plastic surgery.

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New Member Interview with Alison Wong, MD, MSE
Alison Wong, MD, MSE1. You are a newly elected PSRC Candidate member. Congratulations! Why did you decide to join the PSRC community?
I joined the PSRC to know what research is happening in our field and to have an active role in it.

2. What are your expectations from the PSRC as an organization and from the Research Council community?
I would like the PSRC to support and promote high quality research in Plastic Surgery! We are an innovative specialty and I think that should be reflected in the volume, scope and quality of the research being conducted.

3. How do you plan to contribute to the Research Council?
As a new member, I hope to contribute research but I also want to get involved in supporting research efforts of other members.

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Donate to the Baronio Fund

The Plastic Surgery Research Council is the pre-eminent research organization in plastic surgery. Those in the field that value research and the role it plays in the specialty also have a special place in their hearts for the Plastic Surgery Research Council. PSRC's Baronio Fund was created years ago as a way to build a corpus of assets and reserves so that the Research Council may ensure the support of its mission to stimulate fundamental research in plastic surgery. Baronio funds can only be used each year for projects devoted to the improvement and access to research in the field, including grants and scholarships, and to the expansion, innovation, and progression of the Baronio mission. The greater the underlying magnitude of the Fund, greater is the PSRC's capacity to impact both the people that do research and the quality of the research being performed in plastic surgery.

The Baronio Fund incorporates various levels of giving. The highest level contributor, the Baronio Patron, amounts to $5,000+ in cumulative donations or more. Other levels of donation include the Gold Patron, Patron and Friend levels.

The PSRC leadership realizes you are asked to contribute to a variety of organizations each year, but ask you to keep the Plastic Surgery Research Council and its Baronio Fund in mind as 2017 comes to a close. You can contribute to the Fund online, or use the donation form which is available for download on the website. You can also email the PSRC administrative office at Note that contributions are tax deductible.

Thank you for your consideration and generosity. If you have already made a contribution in 2017, please accept genuine thanks from the Research Council leadership.

5 Ways to Give $5K to the Baronio Fund

  1. Make a 1-time donation of $5K
  2. Make a multi-year pledge (i.e. $1,000 over 5 years or $500 over 10 years, etc.)
  3. Make a monthly pledge to be credited automatically from your account
  4. Tribute and memorial gifts
  5. Give a gift of honoraria from an institution or organization

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Plastic Surgery Research Council Information
About PSRC
A Brief History of the PSRC by Thomas Davis, MD
A 35-Year History of the PSRC by Peter Randall, MD
The Story of the Baronio Sheep (on the PSRC logo)
PSRC Founding Members
Member Photos
Baronio Fund and Baronio Patrons
PSRC Awards and Past Recipients
Mentorship Program
Lab Directory
Grant Resources
Newsletter archive

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