Asian Society of Thoracic Surgery (ASTS) was officially launched: collaborate across Asia and the world

Published: 2016-09-06

On July 31, the 2nd Consultative Meeting on Asian Cooperation in Thoracic Surgery was successfully held in Beijing (figure 1). The panel for the meeting include Prof. Jie He (Chairman & Host), the President of Cancer Hospital Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Director of National Cancer Center of China, Academician of Chinese Academcy of Sciences; Prof. Alan Sihoe (Moderator) from University of Hong Kong; Prof. Jose Luis Danguilan from Lung Center of the Philippines; Prof. Shugeng Gao from Cancer Hospital Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences; Porf. Diego Gonzalez-Rivas, the director of Minimally Invasive Surgery Center, Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital and Coruña University Hospital; Prof. Jheon Sanghoon, the President of Seoul National University Bundang Hospital; Prof. Ali Zamir Khan from Medanta The Medicity; Prof. Lee Jang-Ming from National Taiwan University Hospital; Prof. Toriaki Morikawa from Jikei University School of Medicine, Meinoshin Okumura from Osaka University, Graduate School of Medicine; Prof. Punnarerk Thongcharoen from Siriraj Hospital and Mr. Stephen Wang, Founder and CEO of AME Publishing Company.  

Figure 1. Group photo of representatives for the Second Consultative Meeting on Asian Cooperation in Thoracic Surgery

Witnessed by a group of expert authority around Asia, the 2nd Consultative Meeting consolidated the consensus from the 1st Consultative Meeting on 23 April, 2016 and went deeper into the specific moves towards building collaboration amongst Asian thoracic surgeons(figure 2). 

To be noted, just the day before the 2nd consultative meeting, the first Pan-Asian Forum On Cooperation In Thoracic Surgery was held, themed on ‘Challenges and Opportunities in Pan-Asian Cooperation in Thoracic Surgery’, ‘Experiences in Driving Innovation and Collaborations in Asia’ and ‘Training the Next Generation of Thoracic Surgeons in Asia’. The inspirational and enlightening presentation and freely sharing of ideas complimented the second day round table meeting. 

Following from the discussion, the panel unanimously agrees that a Asian Society of Thoracic Surgery (ASTS) should be established to execute the above objectives and fill this current gap in Thoracic Surgery collaboration across Asia.

The historical moment came with the expert consensus on the establishment of Asian Society of Thoracic Surgeons (ASTS) (figure 3). The objectives of ASTS include: 1. Education and Training, including certification of standards reached. It is hoped for setting up of Asian Guidelines for clinical practice in Thoracic Surgery and facilitating exchange programs for trainees to gain clinical and academic experiences in different countries across Asia; 2. Enhancement of research through databases and working groups; 3. Facilitation of cooperation between members and also with other international societies. 

With the establishment of ASTS, panel members of the First and Second Consultative Meetings on Asian Collaboration in Thoracic Surgery have been nominated to form the inaugural Executive Committee of the ASTS (figure 4-5). An anonymous ballot was conducted to select the inaugural Honorary Officers. According the ballot result, Prof. Jie He was elected as President, Prof. Alan Sihoe as Secretary General and Prof. Lee Jang-Ming as the Treasurer. 

Figure 2. The 2nd Consultative Meeting on Asian Cooperation in Thoracic Surgery was designed as a round table meeting. 

Figure 3. The inaugural Executive Committee of the ASTS was formed

Figure 4. A. Prof. He; B. Prof. Alan Sihoe; C. Prof. Sanghoon Jheon; D. Prof. Meinoshin Okumura; E. Mr. Stephen Wang;F. Prof. Ali Zamir Khan

Figure 5. A. Prof. Diego Gonzalez-Rivas; B. Prof. Toshiaki Morikawa; C. Prof. Jose Luis J. Danguilan; D. Prof. Jang-ming Lee; E. Prof. Punnarerk Thongcharoen; F. Prof. Shugeng Gao

The launch of ASTS is a landmark for further development and cooperation in thoracic surgery across Asia. 

Prof. Alan Sihoe commented, the establishment of an academic organization unitizing Asian thoracic surgeons community had been imperative. The experience in terms of clinical practice and experience with national chest surgery societies varies considerably from country to country in Asia. There were no current initiatives in Asia to bridge those differences, and hence exchanges of clinical and research efforts is limited. Still, the launch of ASTS is just a start. We have much work to do and need to learn from other international professional societies in thoracic surgery.

According to Prof. Jie He, ASTS will strive to provide high quality training activities. Education and training not only establishes standards of practice, but allow vertical cohesion of the society through interaction between experienced surgeons (teachers) and younger ones (trainees).

Prof. Jangming Lee noted that, with its given mission and scope, ASTS will be inclusive in terms of membership and also clinical scope (not only lung surgery but all aspects of surgery of the chest including esophageal, mediastinal, chest wall, airway, and so on) to benefit thoracic surgeons in a broad range. Membership is open for all countries across Asia, including Oceania and countries partly lying in Europe. Pan-Asian collaboration should include countries with greater experience in advanced Thoracic Surgery training or otherwise aiding those less experienced, including provision of certification of standards reached. We will also push forward the cooperation with the well-established societies in thoracic surgery. Membership of any professional society will be tiered so that surgeons from less affluent countries can more readily participate in professional collaborations across Asia.