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BYLAWS of the Southwestern Surgical Congress

BYLAWS of the Southwestern Surgical Congress

CHAPTER 1: Member States

Section 1. Membership of the Southwestern Surgical Congress shall be open to all states.

CHAPTER 2: Fellowship

Section 1. Every reputable and legally-qualified surgeon who has attained certification by his/her appropriate specialty Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Osteopathic Association may be eligible for Fellowship.

Section 2. Every reputable and legally-qualified advanced practice clinician who is appropriately licensed and credentialed by the appropriate certifying body may be eligible for Fellowship.

Section 3. Individuals who trained outside the United States may be eligible for Fellowship if they possess the following qualifications:

  1. He/she must be able to understand and write English, as evidenced by completion of the application materials.
  2. He/she must have graduated from a medical school acceptable to The Southwestern Surgical Congress.
  3. He/she must possess certification appropriate to the applicant’s specialty practice by the appropriate specialty Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Osteopathic Association or appropriate specialty board certification by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or documentation of the completion of a minimum of five years of formal post-doctoral surgical education acceptable to The Southwestern Surgical Congress.
  4. He/she must possess a valid license to practice medicine in the state, province or country in which he/she practices.

Section 4. Fellowship shall not be denied because of race, creed, color, sex, religion, sexual preference or gender identity.

Section 5. A candidate for Fellowship shall make application in writing on a form provided by the Congress. The application shall contain all specific information deemed important and pertinent by the Congress. The requirement for an accompanying initiation fee is limited to application for Active Fellowship.

Section 6. An application for Fellowship must be approved and signed by a State Councilor.

Section 7. The Council shall judge the qualifications of its applicants for Fellowship. If approved by the Council, each application shall be signed by the Chairman of the Membership Committee of the Congress. If disapproved, the initiation fees will be returned.

Section 8. The categories of Fellowship in this Congress shall be designated as Active Fellows, Associate Fellows, Senior Fellows, Senior Fellows for Life, Honorary Fellows, Advanced Practice Clinicians and Inactive Fellows.

  1. Active Fellows
    Active Fellowship may be conferred upon physicians who have been actively engaged in the practice of surgery for at least one year following the completion of an ACGME-accredited surgical training program, who are of good moral character and professional standing, duly licensed and who are certified by the appropriate specialty Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Osteopathic Association. Exceptions to these membership requirements may be recommended by a State Councilor and considered for approval by the Council of the Congress, after careful and complete review and approval by the Membership Committee.
  2. Associate Fellows
    Associate Fellowship may be conferred upon physicians who are at any level of an ACGME-accredited surgical training program, who are of good moral character and professional standing and are duly licensed, including a training institutional license. Associate Fellowship will be limited to the time period required for successful completion of residency, board certification and one year of practice, at which time the Associate Fellow is eligible for Active Fellowship, Active Fellow registration fees will be applicable to the Associate Fellows for the Annual Scientific Meeting. Associate Fellows will be entitled to the same privileges as Active Fellows except the privileges of voting and holding office. Associate Fellows will pay no initiation fee but will pay a reduced membership fee as set by the Council and meeting registration fees as set for Active Fellows. Associate Fellows who apply for Active Fellowship will have the initiation fee waived and pay the standard membership dues at that time.
  3. Senior Fellows
    Upon the recommendation of the State Councilor, the Membership Committee and subsequent approval of the Council, an Active Fellow in good standing who has attained the age of 65 years and remains in active practice may request change in status to Senior Fellow by applying to the Council. An Active Fellow in good standing who has retired from practice (regardless of reason or age) and is not using his/her professional credentials for employment shall be granted Senior Fellowship. Senior Fellows may receive the official journal upon payment of the member’s subscription fee.
  4. Senior Fellows for Life:
    The status of Senior Fellow for Life may be conferred by the Council upon surgeons who have retired from active practice and have held Senior Fellow membership status for at least one year. This status is intended for surgeons who wish to retire completely from the Congress but remain listed in the membership directory. Senior Fellows for Life may neither vote nor hold elected office.
  5. Honorary Fellows
    Honorary Fellowship may be conferred by the Council upon surgeons who have distinguished themselves by outstanding achievement. Honorary Fellowship may be conferred upon surgeons living in states outside those included in the Congress or upon surgeons living in countries other than the United States. Honorary Fellows shall pay no dues or initiation fees and may not vote or hold elective office. They may receive the journal upon payment of the subscription fee at member’s rates. The Executive Committee may nominate up to one Honorary Fellow each year.
  6. Advanced Practice Providers
    Fellowship shall be offered to Nurse Practitioners, Physician’s Assistants, and Advanced Practice Nurses. Advanced Practice Provider members will have one representative on the Council who is appointed by the President for a one year term and will have full voting privileges in matters of the Council. Advanced Practice Provider members will not have general voting privileges and are excluded from holding office, but will receive the journal and other benefits of membership once annual dues have been paid.
  7. Inactive Fellowship
    Inactive Fellowship may be granted by the Council upon request from an Active Fellow who is serving military duty, engaged in full time post-graduate training, actively engaged in missionary service outside of the United States or has another valid reason as accepted by the Council. Inactive Fellows may not vote or hold elective office. Inactive Fellows are not required to pay membership dues.   While serving on active duty in the United States armed forces, Inactive Fellows will continue to receive the journal without a fee or interruption. Other Inactive Fellows may receive the journal upon payment of the members’ subscription fee. Inactive Fellows must inform the Congress annually concerning their current status. Upon conclusion of the pursuit leading to Inactive Fellowship, the member may resume his/her previous status of Active Fellow.
  8. Non-Surgeon Fellows:
    Reputable and legally-qualified non-surgeon physicians who have attained certification by his/her appropriate specialty Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Osteopathic Association and hold a valid license to practice medicine in the US may be eligible for Fellowship.

Section 9. Fellows shall be certified by the Congress and their certificates shall be signed by the President and the Treasurer of the Congress.

Section 10. The privilege of holding any elected office and voting in the Congress shall be restricted to Active Fellows and Senior Fellows in good standing. Associate Fellows, Senior Fellows for Life, Honorary Fellows and Inactive Fellow shall not vote or hold office.

Section 11. Fellows are expected to maintain professional conduct at all times. This is especially relevant when representing the Congress to outside parties and during the Annual Scientific Meeting.

Section 12. Any Fellow who is censured by or suspended from his/her local or state medical society or the American College of Surgeons, or who otherwise may be disqualified from Fellowship in this Congress for any good or sufficient cause may have his/her Fellowship in the Congress terminated. Request for removal of a Fellow, with cause, may be brought to the Council by any Fellow in good standing. A simple majority of Council members’ vote is required to terminate Fellowship. This vote may be appealed in writing by the Fellow within one month of being informed of the decision. A second vote will then be obtained from the Executive Committee, after reviewing any additional information brought forward by the Fellow in question. A final determination on fellowship will be made by a majority vote of the Executive Committee.

CHAPTER 3: Meetings

Section 1. The Congress shall hold an Annual Scientific Meeting. The time, place, and length of the meeting shall be determined by the Council. Appropriate registration fees for the Annual Scientific Meeting shall be determined by the Council.

Section 2. Each individual attending the Annual Scientific Meeting shall register and secure a badge from the Treasurer or designated representative. This badge is required for admittance to the educational program and all other events at the meeting.

Section 3. During the Annual Scientific Meeting there shall be an Annual Council Meeting, an Executive Committee Meeting and an Annual Congress Business Meeting in order to elect officers and to conduct other business. The time and place of the Business Meeting shall be announced to the membership in the meeting schedule.

Section 4. Distinguished individuals who are not Fellows of the Congress may be invited by the Program Committee, with approval of the Executive Committee, to any Annual Scientific Meeting for the purpose of participating in the educational program.

Section 5. The abstract form for works to be presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting shall be completed and submitted to the Program Committee prior to their deadline in order to be considered for the Program. Such papers shall become the property of the Congress, subject to the approval of both the Publication Committee and the editorial staff of the contracted journal. The papers may be published in the journal serving as the official organ of the Congress.

Section 6. Papers and other works presented to the Congress must not have been published or presented at a major regional or national scientific meeting prior to presentation at the Annual Scientific Meeting, except by prior arrangement with the Program Committee. Failure to comply with this stipulation may result in a 2 year ban on the sponsoring/ senior author and/or the submitting author, on presenting work at the Annual Scientific Meeting, as determined by the Program Committee and with approval of the Executive Committee.

CHAPTER 4: Election of Officers

Section 1. At the Annual Congress Business Meeting, the President-Elect and the

Vice-President for the forthcoming year shall be elected.

Section 2. The Treasurer shall be elected every third year, with the option for re-election. If he/she is unable to complete his/her term of office, the Executive Committee may appoint a Treasurer to serve on an interim basis until the next Annual Meeting, at which time his/her successor shall be elected for a three-year term.

The successor to the Treasurer shall be elected at the Annual Meeting one year in advance of his/her assumption of duties to serve as an understudy to the outgoing Treasurer. He/she shall attend all meetings of the Council and the Executive Committee without a vote.

Section 3. The Recorder shall be elected every third year, with the option for re-election. If he/she is unable to complete his/her term of office, the Executive Committee may appoint a Recorder to serve on an interim basis. The term for the Recorder shall begin in January 1st and end December 31st.

The successor to the Recorder shall be elected at the Annual Meeting in advance of his/her assumption of duties to serve as an understudy to the outgoing Recorder. He/she shall attend all meetings of the Council and the Executive Committee without a vote.

Section 4. The report of the Nominating Committee shall be presented at the Annual Congress Business Meeting of the Congress. Additional nominations may be made from the floor.

Section 5. Elections shall be held by ballot, voice vote, or standing vote, as decided by the presiding officer. A majority vote of members present shall be necessary for election. In the event no one candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, the one receiving the smallest number of votes shall be dropped, the vote retaken, and the balloting shall proceed in this manner until a candidate receives a majority of the votes cast.

CHAPTER 5: Duties of Officers

Section 1. President

  1. The President shall preside at Council Meetings and at the Annual Congress Business Meeting, and shall perform such duties as custom and parliamentary usage may require. During the Annual Scientific Meeting, he or she shall deliver an address on such matters as he/she shall deem of importance to the Fellows of the Congress. He/she shall be Chairman of the Executive Committee, an ex-officio member of all other Committees, and may preside over scientific sessions.
  2. He/she shall appoint special committees, as the need for such committees arises.
  3. At the Annual Congress Business Meeting during the Annual Scientific Meeting, the President assumes his/her duties as President; he/she shall announce the following appointments:
    1. Chairman of the Standing Committees, as needed.
    2. New members to the Standing Committees, as needed.
    3. Regular or acting Councilors as heretofore provided.
  4. The President may, at his/her discretion, call a meeting of the Council or any Committee for consideration of such business as may properly be brought before it.
  5. If a member of the Council is unable to complete his/her term of office, the President shall appoint a successor.
  6. The President may, by and with the advice and consent of the Council, relieve any member of any Committee of his/her duties.
  7. When a member appointed to serve on any Committee is unable to complete his/her term of duty, the President shall appoint a successor to complete the term.
  8. In the event any member of the Council is unable to attend any Council meeting, the President may appoint an alternate to serve for that meeting.
  9. On the President’s death, disability, resignation, or removal, the President-Elect shall succeed to the Presidency.

Section 2. President-Elect

  1. The President-Elect shall serve as a member of the Council and of its Executive Committee.
  2. The President-Elect assists the President in the performance of his/her duties, and shall preside in his/her absence or at his/her request.

Section 3. Vice-President

  1. The Vice-President shall serve as a member of the Council and the Executive Committee.
  2. If the Vice-President is unable to complete his/her term, the President shall appoint his/her successor to serve until the next election.

Section 4. Treasurer

  1. The Treasurer shall be a member of the Council and a member of the Executive Committee. He/she is an ex-officio member of all committees except when designated as a regular member of a specific committee.
  2. Duties of the Treasurer are as follows: Under the direction of the Council, he/she shall supervise the financial affairs of the Congress. He/she shall advise the Business Manager concerning billings and collections and management of all funds received by the Congress. Financial records and bank accounts shall be under the direction of the Business Manager, who shall compile an annual report. The Business Manager will provide the Treasurer with the annual report for presentation to the membership at the Annual Congress Business Meeting. With the approval of the Council, he/she may delegate to the Business Manager such duties as he/she deems appropriate.

Section 5. Recorder

  1. The Recorder shall be a member of Council, the Executive Committee, Chairman of the Publication Committee, an ex-officio member of the Program Committee and function as the liaison officer between the Congress and the journal of the Congress.
  2. The duties of the Recorder will consist of determining, in conjunction with the Chair of the Program Committee, the maximum number of scientific papers presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting that are to be submitted for publication in the journal of the Congress. He/she is responsible for collecting and editing the manuscripts and discussions at the Annual Scientific Meeting for publication in the journal. In addition, he/she will give a report at both the Council and Annual Congress Business meetings regarding the activities of his/her office and of the Publication Committee. He/she shall ensure that minutes are recorded of Council meetings, Executive Committee meetings, and Annual Congress Business Meeting. He/she shall supervise the maintenance of files and records of the Congress.

Section 6. Historian

  1. The historian shall serve as a member of the Council and Executive Committee
  2. Duties of the historian will be at discretion of the President.

The historian shall serve a 5 year term and be limited to two consecutive 5 year terms.

CHAPTER 6. Governance

Section 1: The Council

  1. The Council is the governing body of The Southwestern Surgical Congress. It shall authorize the purchase of property, stocks, bonds, and securities, make loans, and authorize and supervise the expenditures of the funds of the Congress. The Council is responsible for appointing and removing Fellows of the Congress, and addressing all issues and inquiries pertaining to the Congress raised by Fellows or outside parties.
  2. The Council shall meet as prescribed in Article VI of the Constitution, and as often thereafter as may be necessary. It shall be subject to called meetings as prescribed in Chapter 5, Section 1d) of these Bylaws or on petition of five members of the Council.
  3. The President of the Congress shall preside at all meetings of the Council. In his/her absence, the President Elect shall preside. In the absence of the President and President Elect, the Vice-President shall preside. In the event of the absence of the President and President-Elect and Vice-President, the Council shall elect a temporary presiding officer.
  4. The Council is comprised of State Councilors, the Executive Committee, Chairs of Standing Committees, as well as the Congress’ representatives to the American Board of Surgery and the American College of Surgeons’ Board of Governors and Advisory Council for Surgery.
  5. Seven members of the Council shall constitute a quorum.

Section 2. Executive Committee

  1. The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, President-Elect, Vice-President, Treasurer, Recorder, two at-large State Councilors and the two most recent living Past-Presidents.
  2. The Executive Committee shall study the long-term goals of the Congress and formulate recommendations for future operations. This Committee shall represent the Council whenever a full meeting of the Council would not be possible, to consider and act upon such matters as would come before the Council, and report its findings and conclusions to the Council.
  3. The Chair of the Executive Committee shall be the President or the President-Elect in the President’s absence, or any member elected by a majority vote of the members present.
  4. The Executive Committee may be called to meet by request of the President or upon written request of three of its members.

Section 3: Business Manager

  1. The Council shall contract with a business manager.
  2. The Business Manager may be a member of an association management firm.
  3. The Business Manager shall be responsible for the operational management of the affairs of the Congress under the direction of the Executive Committee.
  4. As primary custodian of the Congress’ funds the Business Manager shall be bonded in an amount sufficient to safeguard the financial assets of the Congress.

CHAPTER 7: Standing Committees

  1. The Standing Committees shall each consist of at least three members. Unless otherwise delineated in these Bylaws, one member of each Standing Committee shall be appointed or reappointed by the President at the beginning of his/her term of office at the Annual Congress Business Meeting to serve a three-year term. The Chairman of each Committee shall be designated by the President for the duration of the President’s term. At least one former member shall remain on each Committee each year to provide continuity of purpose. Membership on a Standing Committee shall be limited to two consecutive 3-year terms.
  2. An annual report shall be submitted in writing by each Standing Committee to the Council and shall become a part of the minutes of that Council Meeting. A summary of the Committee reports shall be presented by the Chair of that Committee at the Annual Congress Business Meeting.

Section 1. Constitution and Bylaws Committee It shall be the duty of this Committee to annually review the Constitution and Bylaws and to recommend amendments or revisions as indicated.

Section 2. Development Committee It shall be the duty of this Committee to seek, identify and secure acceptable sources of funding for the Congress and its Annual Scientific Meeting other than fellowship dues and meeting registration fees.

Section 3. Graduate Medical Education Committee t shall be the duty of the Graduate Medical Education Committee to encourage the participation of surgical residents as well as residency and fellowship program directors in the activities of the Congress.

Section 4. Research and Multi-Center Trials (MCT) It shall be the duty of the MCT Chair to approve any scientific surveys or research projects brought by members to be carried out under the purview of the Congress. Primary responsibility for the conduct of the study shall remain with the Principal Investigator of the study.

Section 5. Membership Committee

  1. It shall be the duty of the Membership Committee to solicit applications for Fellowship in the Congress from qualified surgeons in member states of the Congress.
  2. It shall be the responsibility of the Committee to evaluate each application for Fellowship to ensure that the surgeon fulfills the requirements for Fellowship as defined in these Bylaws. The committee will make its recommendation regarding Fellowship for each applicant to the Council.

Section 6. Nominating Committee

  1. The Nominating Committee shall nominate candidates for President-Elect, and Vice-President and such other officers as are required.
  2. The Nominating Committee shall report to the Council at the Annual Council Meeting immediately prior to the Annual Congress Business Meeting. Additional nominations may be made from the floor by Active or Senior Fellows during the Annual Congress Business Meeting.
  3. The Nominating Committee shall also nominate members to serve in the various Southwestern Surgical Congress representative positions in national organizations.
  4. The Nominating Committee shall consist of the two living immediate Past-Presidents and two members of the Council appointed by the President.
  5. The most recent living Past-President shall serve as Chair.

Section 7. Program Committee

  1. The duty of the Program Committee is to select and arrange the educational program for the Annual Scientific Meeting.
  2. The Program Committee shall consist of the President, President-Elect, Recorder and six appointed members, the immediate Past-Chair and a Continuing Medical Education (CME) Coordinator.
  3. The newly elected Vice-President shall appoint two individuals to serve a three-year term.
  4. The President shall appoint one member of the Program Committee to serve as Chair during the term of the President.
  5. The President shall designate a CME Coordinator to ensure that CME credit is obtained for the Annual Scientific Meeting and that individual shall serve as a member of the Program Committee.

Section 8. Publication Committee

  1. This Committee shall review all manuscripts presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting, and select those of highest quality or greatest interest to be forwarded to the official journal for publication. Final selection of papers to be published will be determined by the journal.
  2. The Publication Committee shall consist of the Chair and nine appointed members.
  3. Three members shall be appointed for three year terms each by the President at the beginning of his/her term.
  4. The Recorder shall serve as Chair of this Committee.

Section 9. The Lowry Fund and the Lowry Fund Governing Committee.

  1. The Lowry Fund is a separate, named account within the SWSC organization which was formed as a 501c3 Foundation. Charitable contributions will be tax-deductible and deposited directly into this account.
  2. The Lowry Fund Governing Committee is comprised of a Chair and co-chair who are appointed by the President upon recommendation of the nominating committee, to serve a 6 year term with option for re-appointment. They will report to the Executive Committee and the Council at the Fall Council meeting and at the Annual Council Meeting. The immediate Past-President, President and President-Elect will also serve on the Governing Committee in an advisory role.
  3. The purpose of the committee is to define the composition of awards and initiatives distributed from the Fund. The funds distributed should be for education and research that promote the Congress and its membership. New initiatives and awards may be submitted to the Lowry Fund Governing Committee for consideration via the Executive Committee.

Section 10: Communications Committee

  1. It shall be the duty of the Communications Committee to foster communication amongst members of the Congress through the website and social media. This includes educational, innovative materials as well as Annual Meeting promotions and activities.

CHAPTER 8: Annual Membership Dues

Section 1. Annual membership dues shall be determined by the Council with input from the Budget and Finance Committee.

Section 2. Any Fellow whose dues remain unpaid for a period of two years shall have his/her membership discontinued. He/she shall be notified at least two months prior to this action. He/she may be reinstated upon payment of both the current and delinquent dues.

Section 3. Membership dues for each year shall be payable in advance, shall become due on December 31 of the preceding year, and shall become delinquent on January 1 of the year in which they apply.

Section 4. Newly elected Fellows of the Congress shall pay an initiation fee approved by the membership, based upon the recommendations of the Budget and Finance Committee and approved by the Council.

CHAPTER 9: Amendments

These Bylaws may be amended at the Annual Congress Business Meeting by a 60% approval vote of the members present. A copy of proposed amendments shall be provided for the voting members at least thirty (30) calendar days in advance. Alternately a vote may be conducted by email of all members after the 30 day review period; 60% approval of responding members will be required.

The Executive Council shall approve all proposed changes with a 60% or greater majority prior to submission to the general membership for consideration at the Annual Congress Business Meeting. The general membership will have a period of at least one month to review the proposed changes prior to the Annual Congress Business Meeting, where a simple majority vote will pass the proposed changes. If the Executive Council deems a specific bylaw change to be urgent and that it should occur prior to the Annual Congress Business Meeting, such changes may be approved by unanimous vote of the Executive Council. These will then take effect immediately, but must be ratified at the next Business Meeting in order to constitute a formal bylaws change.

(Adopted 1949, as amended through April 2019)