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B Veenstra, J Lewandowski, C Whitelock, D Deziel, J Velasco, C Cortina, J Myers
Rush University Medical Center

As the field of surgery trends toward sub specialization, the pool of surgical societies continues to increase. Motivations for joining and maintaining surgical society memberships are well established and include networking, research, job and mentorship opportunities. We hypothesized many surgeons allow their memberships to lapse and expire despite these benefits. Our aim was to assess society members motivations for joining, satisfaction with membership, any lapses and if so, reasons for these lapses.

A 26 question survey was sent via email to members of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons (ASMBS), and the Society of Surgeons of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT) using society directories. Duplicate emails across multiple societies were sent a single survey link, which remained open for two months. Chi-squared testing was completed with R version 4.0.3.

587 individuals responded to the survey. 78% were male, 73% identified as white, with ages ranging from 30 to 76 and older. 65% reported being fellowship trained and 44% worked in an academic setting. The majority of participants reported practicing within the United States with less than 1% outside of the US. The mean number of societies members belonged to was 4.9, with the most common membership being American College of Surgeons (ACS) (95.7%), followed by SAGES (65.41%) and SSAT (32.97%). Lead motivations for joining and maintaining membership were knowledge upkeep and advancement, followed by social opportunities. The majority (60%) of respondents felt satisfied with their memberships. 68% reported having let a membership lapse or expire. The most common reason for lapse in membership was cost followed closely by time restraints.

While this survey represents a small percentage of the overall surgical society memberships, the respondent demographics were a fairly accurate representation of practicing general surgeons across the US. Even with a high reported rate of member satisfaction, we found that a majority of respondents had allowed a membership to lapse or expire, with cost and time constraints being the most common reasons. Surgical societies should take these trends into account as they expand and recruit new membership.

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