Executive Committee



Donna Guinto, AS, C-TAGME

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania





Professional Development Chair

APDS Representative for ARCS

Linda Shaffer, C-TAGME

West Virginia University

Morgantown, West Virginia




Executive Secretary

ACS Liaison Representative

Lillian Figueroa, BS, C-TAGME

Hospital of Saint Raphael

New Haven, Connecticut




Membership Chair & Certificates


Mary Burda

University of Toledo

Toledo, Ohio




SCORE Representative

Newsletter Chair & Dine Outs

Stephanie Rowe

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Nashville, Tennessee




Past President

Sandy K. DelCoglin, BS, C-TAGME

Christiana Care Health System

Newark, Delaware




























Past Executive Committee Members


Association of Residency Coordinators
in Surgery (ARCS)

1988 The Association of Residency Coordinators in Surgery (ARCS) began in 1988 in Dallas, Texas at the Annual Spring Meeting of The Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS) with Paula Ruscio and Sarida Paley organizing the first meeting with approximately thirty coordinators attending. A workshop on "The Role of the Education Coordinator" was presented and it generated interest and enthusiasm for the start of an organization of coordinators.
1989 The ARCS met during the APDS meeting in Salt Lake City. It was the focus of this meeting to discuss the importance and need of a coordinator. An ARCS business meeting was held following the closure of the APDS meeting. Representatives from the Residency Review Committee for Surgery spent time talking with coordinators.
1990 San Antonio, Texas was the site of the Spring APDS Meeting in 1990. The business meeting established our organization's name and preliminary discussions were held with Dr. Arthur Aufses, President of the APDS with the decision being that ARCS would be formally recognized by the APDS. A national newsletter was generated as a result of this meeting. The conclusion of this meeting brought together the first Steering Committee. It was decided that a steering committee planning meeting would take place in the fall of each year to organize the upcoming annual meeting.

The first planning session was hosted by Monna Finkle in Kansas City, MO, Sept.14 -15, 1990. It was during this meeting that Paula Ruscio became the official Chair of ARCS.

1991 The APDS/ARCS met in LaJolla, California with 71 coordinators in attendance ARCS membership continued to grow.
1992 Eighty-eight coordinators attending the conference in New Orleans in March of 1992
1993 At the conference in Dallas, Texas in 1993, a formal subcommittee was set up to tackle the issue of the generic job description. Guidelines were discussed but not in place at this time
1994 Orlando, Florida turned out to be a great site for the 1994 meeting with 113 attendees. Important changes were introduced at this time - the establishment of the Guidelines and a new program format incorporating extended ARCS sessions at the annual meeting. The annual "New Coordinators Workshop" was begun.
1995 The annual meeting was held in Boston, Massachusetts to a larger membership.  With this meeting, the Chair of ARCS now attends the APDS Board of Directors meetings and will have voting privileges. At this time, the revised Guidelines with regards to the term of the Chair, were accepted.
1996 The annual meeting was held in Phoenix, Arizona. Interactive sessions with Steering Committee members acting as facilitators was introduced into the conference format.
1997 The annual meeting held in San Diego, CA boasted a registration of 143 coordinators. This was also the first meeting to have the RRC Executive Director, Dr. Boberg, address ARCS.
1998 Baltimore, Maryland was the site of our 1998 annual meeting with a recording breaking attendance of 159 coordinators! The unveiling of the ARCS Survival Guide took place and was used as a reference throughout the meeting. ERAS was introduced, and Thomas Biester presented "Improving Interactions with the Board (ABS)".
1999 Orlando, Florida was the location for our 1999 annual meeting with 147 coordinators in attendance. The ARCS Guidelines (now ARCS Bylaws) had been revised and were approved by the APDS. For the first time, the APDS President addressed our organization and we're hopeful that this will become an annual appearance in our program. An Open Forum at the conclusion of the meeting was successfully initiated.
2000 Phoenix, Arizona was the site for the 2000 annual meeting and attendance at the meetings continues to increase. The Open Forum was held to wrap up the meeting with topics for next years meeting being discussed.
2001 The breath taking Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee was the site for       the 2001 annual meeting. This was the first year the APDS/ARCS joined with the Association for Surgical Education and formed the "Surgical Week".   ARCS was pleased to have Dr. David Leach, Executive Director from ACGME, as the Keynote Speaker.
2002 Brought us back to the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, Maryland for our annual       meeting. The sessions focused on the ACGME Outcomes Project and legal issues confronting the management of residency programs. Breakout sessions were utilized for small group discussion. The growth of the organization was evident in the topics brought up in the Open Forum:  coordinator credentialing and internet-based residency management software programs.
2003 The ASE/APDS/ARCS meeting for 2003 was held in Vancouver, Canada.  Despite a war in Iraq and the threat of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in Canada, 130 surgery residency coordinators gathered in this awe-inspiring city.  Numerous topics were covered with the 80-hour week for the residents being a central focus. Doris Stoll gave an in depth presentation on the implementation and continuing expansion of the competencies.  The most recent revisions to the Common Program Requirements were also presented.  Included in the broad range of topics presented were updates on the Family Medical Leave Act, Visas, changes in the Board application process for the American Board of Surgery, the new PIF and the required competency addendum, a salary survey of coordinators, and portfolios for the residents.  A very hot topic was the credentialing/certification of coordinators.  After discussion, a vote was taken and the coordinators unanimously voted to start the process of applying for a credentialing/certification status.  Ruth Nawotniak was named chair of the committee to be formed for the implementation of this process.  The breakout sessions for Community/Military/University were well attended and will continue to be a part of the program in future years.
2004 ARCS, along with the APDS and ASE, met in Houston in 2004 with a record  breaking attendance.  For the first time since its inception, ARCS invited coordinators from all of the surgical subspecialties to attend the meeting and quite a few did so.  This year, the new coordinators’ workshop was presented by a group of former ARCS Presidents, which will now be a tradition each year.  This year seemed to encompass quite a few “hot topics”, i.e., the new PIF, the 80-hour work week and its documentation, and residency coordinator credentialing.  All of these topics were covered quite thoroughly by presentations from within our own ranks, as well as two Program Directors that joined our panel discussion regarding a RRC site visit.  This year, the Presidents of ARCS and APDS jointly endorsed the ARCS Task Force on Certification, and the ARCS Steering Committee will appoint a liaison to serve on this task force.  Everyone had a great time in Houston and look forward to next year’s meeting in New York City.

The Surgical Education Week, which includes ASE, APDS, and ARCS was held in New York, NY, with another record-breaking attendance record.   

ARCS continues to invite Coordinators of all Surgery subspecialties with great success.  Highlights of this meeting included a great presentation by   Dr. Doris Stoll (which can be found as a link on our website) which keeps coordinators informed of changes at the ACGME/RRC level.  Additionally, for the first time, certification was given to coordinators who were certified by the National Board for Certification Training Administrators in Graduate Medical Education of which our own Ruth Nawotniak, MS is the President.  At this meeting, 15 Coordinators were certified by the Board.  This was indeed a milestone meeting for Coordinators who will now be recognized at our Annual Meeting to be presented their Certification.  Everyone had a great time in   NYC.  The weather was fantastic for meeting and sightseeing.  We look forward to our meeting in Tucson, Arizona in March 2006.

The organization continues to grow. ARCS is dedicated to educating our members in both the established and current trends in surgical education. With the support and network ARCS has established, we are able to promote the advancement of the professional stature of coordinators across the country.



I guess you could say we brought the rain and cold with us to Arizona.  It rained for the first time in over 200 days and the temperature was slightly chilly for Arizona during the 2006 APDS/ARCS/ASE held at the Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa in Tucson, Arizona.  The White Sox Baseball team left when we arrived and Vice President, Dick Cheney arrived when we left.   The meeting opened with the Workshop for New Coordinators in Surgery presented by Sandra Dubard, President along with other past Presidents, Donna Turovac, and Ellie Gray.  Little did we know that this would be the last time we all would have the opportunity of enjoying Dr. Doris Stoll's presentation on the ACGME.   Her humor, honesty, and commitment to graduate medical education will not be forgotten.  Other goodbyes were said to our fellow coordinators, Kathy Garvin, University of Florida Health Science and Heddy Bergstrom, Temple University who both retired to pursue quiet, relaxing days at home (somehow we all doubt that, but it   sounds good).  Both of these women contributed greatly to our organization.  New this year to ARCS was "Coordinator's Jeopardy".  Three teams - the East, Central, and West participated and made this session a fun-filled hour of learning that everyone seemed to enjoy.  The Central Team are the reigning "Champs".  Let see who wins in 2007!  Sessions about the ECFMG, Mock Oral Examinations, American Board of Surgery, Conducting your Program's Annual Evaluation, Technology, Coordinator's Stress, and Evidenced Based Practice were presented.  A new area that will continue to be developed  throughout the upcoming years will focus on the education and promotion of the residency coordinator as a professional.  The first in this new series was given by Ruth Nawotniak on the "Attributes of a Professional" which was well received by all.




Washington, DC – 20th Anniversary of ARCS.  Imagine 20 years since the birth of our organization – we certainly have come a long way.   From a group of 30 coordinators to over 270 in attendance for the 2007 “ARCS Anniversary” Celebration.  What a growth spurt!.  What an honor it was to have Paula Ruscio   speak to us at the 20th Anniversary Celebration Banquet!   What insight she provided to us about the beginning stages of our organization.  A slide show of the 20 years was one of the many highlights of the evening.  President Ava Fulbright led the Steering Committee during this year to produce an up-to-date version of the “Coordinator’s Handbook”.   There were two interactive sessions during this conference:  “Coordinator’s Jeopardy” in which three teams of ten coordinators participated and “General Surgery Program Requirement Review” which was interactive session with responders. The New Coordinator’s Workshop was totally revised and all members of the Steering

Committee presented various topics to all the new coordinators present.  For the first time, many coordinators both new and old joined the Steering Committee for what we called “Dine Out” groups.  Approximately 60 coordinators had dinner together and it was an enjoyable evening for all.   Absent due to a much deserved retirement was Dr. Doris Stoll, Executive Director-RRC Surgery who kept us all abreast of the new requirements, what to look for in the future, and certainly her famous quote, “What is said in this room, stays in this room” was sorely missed.  The 2007 ARCS Conference was filled with many wonderful and educational sessions that included:  Dr. Robert Rhodes-ABS, Kerry Richards, Esq., Ellie Fitzpatrick-ECFMG, Barbara Gerkens-ABS, Pamela Rowland, Ph.D.-Maine Medical Center, Tom Richter-ACGME, plus all those members of ARCS who presented some very worthwhile topics to our membership.  Well, here is to another 20 years and off to Toronto in 2008 – Don’t forget your passports!


Toronto, Ontario Canada – Anyone not having a passport had to get one for this meeting, the last time we had our meeting in Canada we were allowed to use our birth certificate and drivers license to enter the country.   The extra paper work was well worth it as we had a great meeting with very informative and interesting presenters.  

After the New Coordinators workshop, the dine-out groups organized by Donna Guinto were once again a great success.  New as well as seasoned coordinators joined the dine-out group and new and lasting friendships were established.

We had excellent guest presenters with topics of interest to all coordinators.  Some of those were:   Barbara Gerkens, Examination Coordinator with the ABS gave a talk on the Surgery Qualifying Examination Application; Dr. Robert Rhodes gave his last update from the American Board of Surgery;  Doris Stoll, PhD, GME Consulting joined us once again in her new position and gave a talk on Graduate Medical Education Compliance for Surgical Residencies; Dr. Richard H. Bell, Jr., Assistant Executive Director, American Board of Surgery and Dr. Heather Yeo, gave a talk on the Prospective Study on Surgical Residency Training and Attrition; Patrice Blair, MPH, Associate Director, Division of Education ACS gave a update on the American College of Surgeons; Margaret Tarpley, MLS, and Dr. John Tarpley gave a talk on Including Cultural Diversity and Cultural Sensitivity in Surgical Curriculum; Peggy Simpson, EdD. Executive Director, RRC for Surgery and Tom Richter, Systems Manager, Department of Operations and Data Analysis, ACGME gave an update on ACGME and Operative Log; plus several other physicians and coordinators gave informative presentations.

The Toronto Coordinator’s Jeopardy session yet again, was such a huge success.  Numerous coordinators requested we keep this fun and informative game in the program each year.  It is amazing what we learn when someone gives the wrong answer?!

The meeting in Toronto gave us all motivation to return to our jobs refreshed. Somehow sharing ideas, difficulties, and success stories - we all come back invigorated to complete the year and begin a new one.


The snowcapped Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City, Utah welcomed the Association of Residency Coordinators to the 2008-2009 ARCS Conference.  We welcomed a record number of new Surgical Residency Coordinators on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 to the New Coordinator’s Workshop.   2008-2009 would mark the beginning of a brand new era for the Association of Residency Coordinator as we went “GREEN” to help the environment.

All those in attendance received a “flash drive” with all the presentations and job descriptions copied to it.  This year also marked the introduction of the “Professional Development Curriculum” established by the ARCS Steering Committee.   This curriculum was introduced with sessions from Dr. Pamela Rowland – “Designing your Professional Armor”, Ruth Nawotniak, MS, C-TAGME – DeMystifying Goals & Objectives, and Maggie Tarpley, MLS and Dr. John Tarpley – “I Know You Can’t Read this….the Principles of Powerpoint Presentations and Public Speaking”.   The Professional Development Committee was developed and implemented in order to facilitate the coordinator’s personal and professional growth in their field.  Attendees to any of the Professional Development Session received a “Certificate of Attendance”.

The 2008-2009 conference also marked a first for our counterparts in vascular surgery.  We were asked by Dr. George Fuhrman, President of the Association of Program Directors in Surgery to assist our fellow coordinators in vascular surgery.  The Vascular Surgery Coordinators wanted to form an association of vascular surgery coordinators which was headed up by Ms. Julie Gulley (former general surgery coordinator).  The vascular coordinators would attend sessions at the ARCS conference, but would also have one or two separate sessions which applied to their specialty only.

An interactive workshop session on the “Common and Specialty Program Requirements” was coordinated and presented by Ava Fulbright, Judy Olenwine, and Linda Shaffer.   We were fortunate once again to have the American Board of Surgery – Barbara Jalbert-Gerkens as well as Dr. Jo Buyske speak to our group.  Dr. Peggy Simpson and Tom Richter from the ACGME gave us an update and answered many questions from those in attendance.  We were very honored and excited to have Ms. Laurie Curtin from the National Residency Matching Program give us an overview of the policies, rules, and regulations of this very important aspect of our jobs.   Dr. Tom Whalen and Dr. Mark Wallack gave us a report from the RRC in Surgery and Dr. Richard Bell and Melissa Banker educated us on the new SCORE curriculum.

Once again, ARCS was asked by Dr. Ajit Sachdeva to present to surgical students at the American College of Surgeons meeting in October.  

Since the inception of the Surgical Residency Coordinator Recognition Award in 2006-2007, the ARCS Steering Committee continues to receive many excellent nominees.

In 2009, we honored two Surgical Residency Coordinators.   Ms. Michele Bowman - Washington University – Barnes Jewish Hospital received the Surgical Residency Coordinator Recognition Award and was nominated by her Program Director, Dr. Mary Klingensmith.

When reading through the nominations, the Steering Committee felt that we must recognize Ms. Valerie Goussman from Tulane University  for the 1st ARCS Humanitarian Award.   Valerie’s program was just about lost to Hurricane Katrina.   Dr. Korndorffer, Valerie’s Program Director stated “the oldest residency program in the United States would have ceased to exist had it not been for Valerie.”

Another year gone by with many of our fellow coordinators stepping up to educate us and keep us informed.   Buy your cowboy hat and boots because we are off to San Antonio, Texas in April of 2010......YIPPEE KI YAY…


Boston, Massachusetts

An unusually high number (44) of coordinator’s registered for the New Coordinator Workshop (NCWS) which was held on Wednesday, March 23, 2011.   The Workshop was a huge success and well attended by new and seasoned coordinators alike.   With the help of Linda Shaffer, and using audience responders provided by Turning Point, the session was interactive, educational, and fun for all.     

The ARCS Welcome Reception was held following the NCWS.   The reception was a delight as always followed by Dine Outs / Dine Ins. This year, our traditional Dine Outs became Dine Ins and actually took place inside the hotel at the Side Bar & Grille.  A good time was had by all and no one seemed to mind staying in as it was cold, windy, and snow flurrying outside.   It was really nice to catch up with old friends and get acquainted with new ones.  “Whoa” a few of us even had our picture taken with Fonzie (Henry Winkler for those of you too young to know who Fonzie is) on the elevator – “Aaay”….                

Patricia Reilly, Administrative Program Coordinator at the University Of Connecticut School Of Medicine, was the recipient of the 2011 Coordinator Award.    Pat is a 19 year member of the Association of Residency Coordinators in Surgery and a past ARCS President (1996).  Pat has published in several journals and is actively involved in her local American College of Surgeons Chapter & Surgical Societies.   Pat has made substantial contributions to her residency program, and has served both locally and nationally as a mentor to colleagues.  Over the years, Pat has always been someone that I have looked up to and who has inspired me, it was my privilege and honor to present her with this prestigious award.      

With over 160 coordinators in attendance, our robust 2011 program went off without a hitch with a variety of educational presentations that were of interest to all.  James C. Hebert, M.D., Vice-Chair of the RRC, kicked off the formal presentations with our annual RRC Surgery update presentation.  His presentation was followed by an update on ACGME and Operative Logs by Peggy Simpson, EdD., Executive Director, RRC for Surgery and Thomas Richter, Systems Manager, Department of Operations and Data Analysis.   Additional presentations included, Mary Klingensmith, M.D. with SCORE updates;   Barbara Jalbert-Gerkens, ABS updates; Susan C. Haynes, presented On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!,  Ava Fulbright  and Judith Olenwine, provided a session titled Rx. For Accreditation which was very well attended.  Innovative Strategies in Utilizing the Fundamentals of Surgery Curriculum was presented by Kim Echert, Kim Agretto and Gretchen Lynch;  Kyla P. Terhune, M.D., Arna Banerjee, Stephanie Rowe and Allison Watts from Vanderbilt University presented a Multidisciplinary Clinical Orientation:  Using Simulation to Usher in July 1.   Lillian Badurina and Jeannine St. Pierre presented the Universal Job Description and Survey Update. 

One of our program highlights was a presentation given by Program Director, Paul J. Schenarts, M.D., East Carolina University, Brody School of Medicine.  His presentation Caught in the Middle:  Generation Y Residents, The Surgical Faculty and the Coordinator was very well received and a real eye-opener. 

Also making time to present, inform, and educate our organization was Jeff Kirk from New Innovations, Jill Anderson of E*Value, Laurie S. Curtin, PhD from NRMP and Angelique Johnson from ERAS.      

Additionally, four Professional Development sessions were held over the course of the conference and included:  Turning Your Presentation into a Manuscript, by Ruth Nawotniak, MS, C-TAGME; Professional Etiquette – If Looks Could kill. by Pamela A. Rowland, PhD.; Coming of Age – Taking the Step to Introduce Interactive and Social Media into your Residency Program by Meredith Meier, and The Engaged Coordinator:  Activating Your Inner Educator by Carissa O’Neill, BA and Gayla Jewell, PhD.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Association of Residency Coordinators in Surgery Steering Committee members met with Dr. Ajit Sachdeva and were again asked to present to 3rd & 4th year medical students at the American College of Surgeons 97th Annual Clinical Congress in San Francisco, October 2011.   The ARCS Steering Committee is honored to be provided this opportunity.   Maybe I am bias, but each year our presentation at ACS seems to get bigger and better.   In 2010 it was estimated that over 150 medical students attended our presentation in conjunction with ACS.     

As the meeting in Boston drew to a close, coordinators, seasoned and new alike, sat in awe trying to absorb required changes, new ideas, updated strategies, and endless possibilities that were presented over the past several days.   After the initial shock wore off, all were invigorated and eager to return home and begin incorporating the creative and innovative approaches and tactics into our own training program.  

It was my honor and privilege to serve as President of such an esteemed organization, The Association of Residency Coordinators in Surgery.  I grew both personally and professionally from my experience and I would like to thank all ARCS Steering Committee Members, all ARCS members, Dr. Michael Rhodes (my chair) and Dr. Frederick Giberson (my PD) for affording me this opportunity and offering their support.   I can’t wait to see everyone in San Diego next year and I look forward to another great conference.  





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Edited 16 Jan 2012