Joanne Chang and Jennifer Tseng

Joanne Chang and Jennifer Tseng

The Society of Asian Academic Surgeons held its Fourth Annual Meeting at the Boston Medical Center, Sept. 26-27, with more than 148 scientific presentations and breakout sessions led by multiple department chairs and society leaders. Joanne Chang, James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef and founder of the Flour Bakery, was the keynote speaker and Kuo Family Lecturer.

The Harvard undergrad was a math and economics major who decided to follow her dream in the cooking industry. At the SAAS 2019 annual meeting, she shared a few pearls with her audience:

  • “No swearing in the kitchen.”
  • “Greet everyone at the start and end of your day. Engage your employees. It sets the tone for the work environment.”
  • “My mom is not known for her cooking.”

Dr. Jennifer Tseng delivered the meeting’s presidential address to a packed audience and spoke about the importance of Asian values – family, education, hard work and food – in shaping her career. She also gave the sage advice to “pick your partner well. My husband says I picked really well.” Finally, she offered insight into “How to Roar” as an Asian academic surgeon:

  1. Act, don’t assume
  2. Listen carefully
  3. Have something to say
  4. Consider how you “present”
  5. Copy others
  6. All the world’s a stage
  7. Get out! (of your bubble)
  8. Try
  9. Give others a hand
  10. Do the right thing

And who could forget the amazing reception Dr. Tseng hosted at her house at the end of the meeting? Check out this menu:

Dinner menu from 2019 SAAS annual meeting closing reception, held at the home of Dr. Jennifer Tseng

Dinner menu from 2019 SAAS annual meeting closing reception, held at the home of Dr. Jennifer Tseng

Finally, the chair panel offered a cornucopia of advice from multiple department leaders that was both inspiring and thought-provoking:

Dr. Barbara Bass

Dr. Barbara Bass

“Having the right mentoring environment was the key to my success. Show up, do good work, be responsible.”

Dr. Sandra Wong

Dr. Sandra Wong

“Your first job is very important to the trajectory of your career. Align your clinical and research interests.”

Dr. Nita Ahuja

Dr. Nita Ahuja

“Some people are intimidated by change, but I like change. As a leader, you’re in control and can do the changing. Find good sponsors.”

Dr. Steven Stain

Dr. Steven Stain

“Be a good clinical surgeon, be around smart people, treat people well, meet deadlines. You never know who’s going to help you.”

Dr. Timothy Pawlik

Dr. Timothy Pawlik

“Find your passion. Take time to be introspective. Live in the moment. Optimism is true moral courage.”

Happy holidays from the Lotus Scroll! We look forward to seeing you in the Year of the Rat.

Story Author: Nancy Cho, MD


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Dr. Lindsey Zhang discusses the recent rise in hate crimes, racial discrimination and violence toward the Asian American community.

A Day in Ramadan as a Surgical Trainee

Dr. Hassan Mashbar, a trauma fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses his experience with Ramadan during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q&A: Dr. George Yang

The Lotus Scroll interviews George Yang, MD, PhD, former president of the Society of Asian Academic Surgeons.

SAAS Foundation 2018-2019 Visiting Professorships

Congratulations to the 2018-2019 SAAS Foundation Visiting Professors! SAAS Foundation Visiting Professorships support travel to host institutions for junior faculty to give grand rounds and increase the national visibility of rising stars in academic surgery.

SAAS on Twitter!

This year, SAAS was active more than ever on Twitter! In addition to updates and announcements, more content was created for our followers to improve engagement, highlight issues and events important to our society and members, and promote the activities at SAAS.

SAAS Executive Council: Message on the Rise of Racism

First, as the current pandemic continues to affect our communities and families, we want to express our profound gratitude to our surgical colleagues and to all healthcare professionals who are the frontlines of caring for patients with the SARS-CoV2 virus/COVID-19.

Q&A: Dr. Kenric Murayama

The Lotus Scroll is honored to interview Kenric Murayama, MD, this year’s host of the SAAS Annual Meeting.

Resident’s Corner: Work in the Time of Coronavirus

Sterile technique has leaked into the public domain, marked not only by how expensive Purell has become or how frequently we are reminded to wash our hands, but also by the ways we have come to treat one another.

President’s Message: December 2019

SAAS President Dr. Tracy Wang discusses how far the Society has come and what’s in store for 2020 in her December 2019 President’s Message.

SAAS 2019 Meeting Highlights

The fourth annual meeting of the Society of Asian Academic Surgeons will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, Sept. 26-27, 2019, and promises to be an incredibly fun, impactful and meaningful gathering of academic surgeons, trainees and students from both the U.S. and abroad.

Q&A: Dr. Jennifer Tseng

Jennifer Tseng, MD, MPH, is the James Utley Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at Boston University School of Medicine and surgeon-in-chief at Boston Medical Center.

Welcome to the Lotus Scroll

Welcome to the launch of Lotus Scroll, the official newsletter of the Society of Asian Academic Surgeons (SAAS). Through the Lotus Scroll, we are excited to distribute and enhance the vision of SAAS: to promote diversity and inclusion in academic surgery through the sponsorship and development of its leaders.