More than 2,000 attendees will attend the five-day event (6-10 May 2024), which is the largest multi-disciplinary surgical meeting in the southern hemisphere.

Royal Australasian College of Surgeons President, Associate Professor Kerin Fielding said the theme of this year’s Annual Scientific Congress is Responsibility of a Surgeon.

“The Congress will see some of the world’s top surgical and medical minds pause and explore the critical role surgeons play in both the surgical system and the broader healthcare community,” Associate Professor Fielding said.

“We will delve into the ethical considerations, decision-making processes, and patient-centred care that define a surgeon’s responsibility. 

“Through diverse and engaging presentations, we will aim to illuminate the dimensions and depths of the complex responsibilities of a surgeon.

“The Congress will also explore how this responsibility defines the surgical profession and empowers us to elevate the standards of surgical practice.”

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

Professor Suzanne Pitama, who will deliver the Syme Oration, the College’s most prestigious address.

Professor Pitama is the Dean and the Head of Campus at the University of Otago and has received a number of awards including the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for tertiary teaching excellence and both the Indigenous Leadership Award and Lifetime award from the Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education. Dr Pitama was awarded the Joan Metge Medal for her research in Indigenous medical education, and the Dame Marie Clay Award for contributions to educational and developmental psychology.  

Dr Basil Leodoro, who will deliver three presentations, including Cyclone trauma – how to plan and how we can help.

Dr Leodoro has held multiple national roles including Coordinator for Vanuatu Emergency Medical Teams, National Surgical Obstetric Anesthesia Planning (NSOAP) and Academic Program Leader for the Medical Internship Training Program. As a Vanuatu-based surgeon, he has also been involved in disaster and humanitarian work. Dr Leodoro is the founder of Sanma Food Revolution and Vanuatu Children’s Health Network and currently, he serves as Director of Operations for Respond Global’s marine vessel, MV HELPR-1, a unique logistics platform for provincial missions and disaster response in Vanuatu. 

Professor Shelley McKellar, who will deliver three presentations, including The greatest obstacle to becoming a surgeon was being a woman.

Professor McKellar is the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry and a tenured Full Professor in the Department of History and the Department of Surgery at Western University, London, Canada. She earned her PhD degree in History from the University of Toronto, after which she worked on a documentary medical history project at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. She has authored four books, and at Western University curates the Medical Artifact Collection, which consists of 19th and 20th century medical instruments and devices and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the history of medicine, disease, and society. 

Dr Pringl Miller, who will deliver five presentations, including Founding the Surgical Palliative Care Society.

Dr Millar is an Associate Member of the American College of Surgeon’s Academy of Master Surgeon Educators, and a former American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Hearst Scholar. Her clinical and research interests include integrating palliative medicine and clinical medical ethics into the care of seriously ill or injured surgical patients and this passion has led to her becoming a founding member of the Surgical Palliative Care Society. She is a fierce advocate for gender and racial equity, diversity and inclusion in medicine and surgery and is the founder and executive director of Physician Just Equity (PJE), a 501c3 organisation that supports physicians and surgeons experiencing workplace injustices.

For more information about the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Congress, please visit:


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