I would not expect that many of you have had the need to review the constitution and bylaws of the Western Surgical Association. Article II of the constitution states that the objectives "of the Association shall be the cultivation, promotion, and diffusion of the art and science of surgery, the sponsorship and maintenance of the highest standards of practice, and the delivery of the best possible care to all people." This simple, direct statement of our aspirations places a responsibility on each of us. As I have witnessed the care with which these objectives are nurtured by our deliberations, and by our annual scientific program, I believe we can be pleased that generations of surgeons have been bound by this covenant.
This article of our constitution is the springboard for some observations I would like to share with you today. They concern some of the factors affecting the health, the