My message, therefore, is simple. Surgical education is at a critical juncture today, threatened by diminished funding, competing service obligations, mounting paper work, and the need to do more in less time with less support. However, it is only by maintaining effective teaching and mentoring of surgical skills, concepts, and precepts that our profession will remain strong. SAGES is in a unique position to have a positive impact on surgical education in the foreseeable future. Being a doctor mandates that we teach, and we may choose whether to be a good teacher or bad teacher. I urge you therefore to support the concept of education through appropriate legislative action and strive to be agood teacher and effective mentor in your personal life. The act of teaching itself is free, but it requires personal input. "The only thing we have to offer our students is ourselves. Everything else they can read in a book." . SAGES struck a resonant chord with me because of its emphasis on education. What has kept me working actively in the organization is the wonderful individuals involved in its membership and administration. It is important to find those groups and activities that reinforce one's interests and values and become involved with them. Such is my relationship with SAGES, and I will continue to be involved with the organization after this presidential term has finished. Through our continued efforts to advanced the science of minimally invasive procedures while also advocating for competence in the techniques required to perform with them, we can assure our patients that the educational debacle that characterized the introduction of laparoscopic cholecsystectomy will not be repeated. I want to thank you all for the opportunity to serve as your president. It has been a true honor and privilege, and I have gained far more personally than I could ever contribute in return.
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