The Road to FACS

06 Nov 2020

By Erin Garvey, MD, FACS

Last October, I watched as the new 2019 Fellow initiates processed into Convocation at the ACS Clinical Congress in San Francisco. I felt excited as I imagined myself and the friends I trained with being initiated during the 2020 Convocation ceremony. Despite being in my mid-30s, I thought it would be fun to put on another black robe and march proudly into a room of surgeons as Pomp and Circumstance played for yet another time in my life.

A few months later, my husband and I were thrilled to announce our first pregnancy. Given that we would have a 5 week old at the time of the 2020 Clinical Congress, we made the decision in December 2019 to not travel to Chicago for the meeting. As it turned out, (due to a global pandemic, never thought I would write that!) no one was able to attend Clinical Congress in person. Thanks to the shift to a virtual meeting, I was able to attend Convocation from the comfort of my home with my husband and newborn daughter present to celebrate with me. 

2,125 surgeons were initiated including 1,357 surgeons from the U.S. and Canada with the remaining 768 representing 75 other countries. 585 initiates were women. While I am thrilled to be a part of this group, I was taken back that only 28% of initiates were women.

The clinical practice committee and I have been working on ways to help our AWS membership on the road to becoming FACS. Out of more than 900 lifetime, regular and new surgeon members, 64% of AWS members reported being a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

I imagine the next time I hear the Pomp and Circumstance graduation march, my daughter will be processing into her kindergarten graduation in a construction paper mortarboard hat. Between now and that time, I hope to see 100% of eligible AWS members become Fellows and to see the overall number of women FACS initiates continue to increase as well.

See below for more detailed information on how to achieve the FACS credential before the December 1st deadline. 

Why become a fellow of the ACS?

The FACS credential exists to foster the professional growth and development of surgeons, promote high standards and best practices in surgical care, and establish and maintain patients’ confidence in the ability and integrity of their surgeon.

For more information on FACS benefits and information on how to apply click here

Requirements to become a Fellow:

Be in practice for a minimum of one year
Be board-certified

To Do List:

Complete the online application (, log in and click on My Profile and then My Applications) by December 1st with the below required details:
– Medical education
– Residency and surgical training beyond residency
– Medical liscence
– Board certification by the American Surgical Specialty Board (member of the American Board of Medical Specialties or an American Osteopathic Surgical Specialty Board) or an appropriate specialty certification by the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada
– Current appointment on the surgical staff of a hospital
Give names of Fellows of the ACS to serve as references (two from your speciality and three from your geographic area).
Upload a pdf of your current CV.
Provide a list of your surgical cases for the most recent 12 months:
– Provide a description of each case, date, and the total number of cases
– Remove all patient identifying information
– Include your name in the saved file name
– Click here for more information
The $200 application fee is wavied for current Associate Fellows.

Participate in an interview with ACS Fellows from your region:
– 2020 interviews were conducted via Zoom dur to the COVID-19 pandemic
– Full time military applicants are exempt from the interview process

Pay the $400 initiate membership fee once approved.
Direct any questions to


Application deadline December 1, 2020
Interviews typically conducted March-May
Applicants approved as initiates in July

Initiates may utilize their Fellow status after the Convocation Ceremony at the ACS Clinical Congress in October.

Erin Garvey, MD, is a pediatric surgeon at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Erin was born and raised in Colorado. She earned her Bachelor of Science in molecular biology from the University of Denver and attended medical school at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Her surgical training was completed in Arizona at the Mayo Clinic for general surgery and at Phoenix Children’s Hospital for pediatric surgery. She previously spent her free time at exercise dance classes, reading and traveling with her husband. Now, however, she and her husband have a new favorite pastime – their daughter!

Our blog is a forum for our members to speak, and as such, statements made here represent the opinions of the author and are not necessarily the opinion of the Association of Women Surgeons.

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