Reflections on Two Years of A Conversation

Initiatives, Action and Success with ACP President Nick Morrison, MD, FACS, FACPh

by Andrea B. Epstein

Exactly one year ago, VEIN Magazine’s cover story highlighted the breaking news that for the first time in the fifty year history of the Union Internationale de Phlebologie (UIP), the next UIP World Congress will be held in the United States, in Boston in 2013, hosted by the American College of Phlebology (ACP). Instrumental to this major ACP accomplishment was the tireless efforts of Nick Morrison, MD, FACS, FACPh and ACP President. This November, as Dr. Morrison’s two year term as ACP President comes to a close, VEIN sought him out to share some of his personal insights and perspectives on his role and accomplishments during his tenure at the helm of the ACP.

When you assumed the role of ACP President, what priorities did you set for yourself and the organization?

The priorities that I gave particular focus to included the identifying and empowering of new leaders; establishing guidelines for the care of patients with venous disorders; obtaining a seat in the AMA House of Delegates; creating greater awareness of the AcP and phlebology in general by means of public awareness projects; developing of specialized courses for members, such as Advanced Duplex Investigation; increasing participation by the AcP on an international level; widening our advocacy in insurance and government regulation; expanding the Phlebology Fellowship and Preceptorship programs; and last, but not least, furthering the scope and quality of scientific research in the field.

Looking back, do you feel that you achieved much of what you set out to accomplish?

I believe my strength lies in identifying the specific tasks required for the attainment of larger initiatives and objectives. With that in mind, I have encouraged and motivated others to excel and follow through. Yes, I believe we have achieved what we set out to do, and gone even further in some cases. Specifically, our acceptance by AccME for the AcP’s educational programs is one example of exceeding our stated objectives. It is important to credit the efforts over the past two years of dedicated AcP leaders, staff, and membership toward earning greater prominence and standing for the AcP.

How do you think the ACP has changed, progressed and evolved under your watch?

The AcP has become a key player in advancing the field of phlebology. Phlebologists from around the world can now look to the U.S. in general and to the AcP in particular for technological innovation in the treatment of patients with superficial and deep venous disease.

A number of factors have enabled the AcP to assume an international leadership position. Among these are scientific and academic growth, along with the establishment of the American Board of Phlebology, the new credential in Phlebology Sonography, and the Phlebology Nursing Manual. This progression to a leadership role has accelerated what was already started by AcP leaders before my term, and is on track to continue for years to come, thanks to the work by AcP member-volunteers.

You were instrumental in bringing the 2013 UIP World Congress to Boston – the first time it will be held in the United States. What do you think were the key factors that made this a reality and what do you think it means for the ACP and phlebology overall in the U.S.?

This is one accomplishment for which I will take some credit. The vote to hold the meeting in the U.S. was helped by the international relationships I have formed. Also, the respect garnered by the AcP and the American phlebology community was another important factor. With the 2013 UIP World congress, the AcP, possibly in collaboration with other American societies such as the American Venous Forum, will demonstrate a strong commitment to the advancement of the science of phlebology. I cannot overstate the importance to the AcP of hosting this August world meeting.

What is your role as a newly elected Vice President to the UIP Council and how do you hope to contribute in this international leadership role?

Specifically, my role is to implement in North America programs of importance to the current UIP President, Eberhard Rabe, and to President-elect Angelo Scuderi, to follow. I will also help formulate UIP policies and projects along with the other four Vice Presidents and the UIP general council. Being a part of this international effort will further enhance and promote the position of the U.S. in the field of phlebology.

Speak to the ACCME accreditation process and what this means for phlebologists throughout the country.

I could not have anticipated how arduous the AccME application process would be. It required an enormous commitment of volunteer time by several of us, as well as countless hours of work by AcP staff. It means that we will no longer have to go through another society to obtain cME credits for our scientific programs. This accreditation demonstrates to other specialty societies AcP’s strong commitment to high quality educational programming. I believe it also solidifies the validity of our presence among subspecialties.

What are the biggest challenges that remain for ACP for the incoming President and what do you think remain as top priorities?

I would not presume to speak to the priorities our new President, John Mauriello, will set. I do know that we must find a mechanism by which the AcP can bring solid scientific research to the struggle we encounter in the legislative and insurance arenas. We have to find a way for the AcP to advocate on behalf of its members and the millions of patients who suffer from venous disease. That said, it would be a very costly mistake for the AcP to do anything that would jeopardize its tax-exempt status. I know we have the talent pool within our membership to identify mechanisms by which we can continue to provide care to patients in spite of obstacles presented by insurers and governmental entities.

Of all the accomplishments that occurred during the last two years at ACP (of which there are 22 listed on the ACP web site) which is the most meaningful to you personally and why?

All of these accomplishments have enabled the AcP to assume a position of importance on the world stage of phlebology. It is tremendously gratifying to contribute to the science of phlebology internationally. It makes me feel like we have arrived.