‘Equity in Surgery’ will be the theme as surgeons from across Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and the world gather in Adelaide for the 91st Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) Annual Scientific Congress (ASC).

More than 2000 attendees are expected to gather for the event, making it the largest surgical conference to be held in Australia in the last five years.

RACS President Dr Sally Langley said that she was excited to welcome the large contingent of medical professionals to Adelaide, and that the Congress provided the ideal opportunity to reflect on the profession's role in serving diverse communities equitably.

“Historically, RACS’ surgeons have not been a diverse group and have mostly worked in our own locations. We have not fully represented the gender nor the diverse Indigenous and ethnic composition of our community,” Dr Langley said.

“We also have not served communities who live outside our metropolitan areas well. Upon reflection, we have been working on improving gender equity in all our surgical specialties and further to that, we openly acknowledge our LBGTQIA+ representation in our surgical workforce and society. RACS prioritises equitable services to all communities regardless of their demographics.

“The aim of the Congress will be for us to learn more about the challenges and barriers preventing equity, and what role we play as leaders in the health profession to contribute to improvement of a workforce that is diverse and serves all our people. It will also provide an opportunity for us to self-evaluate and acknowledge the impact of our own biases on our judgement and decisions and their impact on patient care.”

Prominent highlights of the Congress program include high profile speakers delivering named lectures as well as keynote lectures across a range of surgical specialties and interest groups.

Among the speakers will be Dr. Fiona Wood, a highly respected plastic surgeon and researcher who has made significant contributions to the field of burn management. Dr. Wood's accomplishments in her field are numerous, including being named Australian of the Year in 2005 for her pioneering work in treating burn patients.

An impressive array of international presenters will also speak at the conference, including Dr. David L. Stukus, an internationally recognised allergist and immunologist from the United States, who has received numerous awards and accolades for his contributions to the field of allergy and immunology. As well as being a Professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Dr Stukus is known for his book, "Food-Free at Last: How I Learned to Eat Air," which chronicles his journey to overcome severe food allergies.

Among the local presenters will be South Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Caroline McMIllen who has been invited to the Congress to deliver the Syme Oration, the College’s most prestigious address.

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