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The General Surgery Residency—An Anachronism?

Chester B. McVay, MD, PhD
Arch Surg. 1976;111(4):319-322. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1976.01360220015001.
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It is a singular honor and a privilege to have been elected president of the venerable Western Surgical Association and to preside over its 83rd meeting. George Santayana1 stated: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." To avoid the disaster of delivering a presidential address that has already been given, I have perused all of the presidential addresses presented before the Western Surgical Association. This proved to be a very delightful self-assignment.

The Western Surgical Association was founded in 1891 as the Western Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. As I reviewed the presidential address of William M. Mills,2 our 54th president, I learned some very interesting things about the early years of our association. This organization was the brainchild of a gynecolosist, Milo B. Ward, of Topeka, Kan. At his invitation, 42 charter members appeared at the Copeland Hotel in Topeka in December of


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