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Brief history of the Western Thoracic Surgical Association

The Western Thoracic Surgical Association (WTSA) was founded in 1974. It was originally named the Samson Thoracic Surgical Association in honor of Paul "Buck" Samson, a Pioneer in Thoracic Surgery on the West coast with his surgical base in Oakland California. Along with his partner, Dave Dugan, they had a tremendous influence in the development of Thoracic Surgery in the Western United States.

The society was open to board certified thoracic surgeons from 13 western states and the two western provinces of Canada. The past and current membership of the society along with its officers reads like a who's who in thoracic surgery from the Western US and Canada. Special mention should be given to Dave Dugan and Art Thomas for their founding efforts.

The change in name from the Samson Thoracic Surgical Society to the WTSA occurred after Dr. Samson's death in 1982. This was done primarily to have a representative on the American College of Surgeons Board of Governors. The college did not recognize societies named after an individual.

Dr. Samson's name is preserved in the Samson Endowment Fund, the Samson prize for the best resident paper and the Samson "Fun" Run.

From the beginning through Dr. Samson's friendship with Brian Blades, the editor of the JTCVS, arrangements were made to publish papers from the meeting in the JTCVS. In view of this, abstracts were not limited to our geographic area but requested globally. They then were carefully screened (blinded regarding authors) and the "best" abstracts selected. Members of the program committee reviewed the completed papers before submitting them to the Journal. This policy has led to an extremely high acceptance rate by the editorial staff of the JTCVS.

The social aspects of our meetings are extremely important. Families are encouraged to bring children to the meeting and special programs are arranged for them. Most meetings are held in resort type settings where members and families can have a wonderful time during the non professional part of the meeting.

A history of the first 20 years of the STSS-WTSA has been beautifully chronicled by Quentin Stiles. I would encourage all to read this book.

Marvin Pomerantz, M.D.

 

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