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Presidential Address
November 1998

Surgical Infection Society—Trials and Tribulations: The Importance of Clinical Trials

Arch Surg. 1998;133(11):1192-1197. doi:10.1001/archsurg.133.11.1192

IT IS A SPECIAL honor and pleasure to be with you here today as the 18th president of the Surgical Infection Society (SIS). This meeting is the 18th that I have attended since the founding of the society in 1980, and I am deeply grateful to the membership for this opportunity. My interests in surgical infection were sparked by the inevitable series of surgical infections that every surgical resident witnesses in the early stages of training, and particularly by the inspirational example of 2 of our early leaders, William Altemeier and John Burke, whose works I eagerly read and whom I had the good fortune to meet during this time. The history of the founding of this society and the pivotal role that William Altemeier played in that process have been discussed in several presidential addresses, most completely by Wesley Alexander in 1986. More recently, Ori Rotstein's address last year returned to an examination of the Society's purpose as stated in our bylaws, "[to] promote and encourage education and research in the nature and prevention, diagnosis and treatment of surgical infections."1 He examined the Society's history in fulfilling that purpose through basic, laboratory-based research and papers, clinical papers, symposia, position papers, and the support of education and training, especially through our fellowship grants. He closed with a strong commitment to the continued importance of clinical research in the life of the Society and with the announcement of an effort to establish a Society fellowship devoted specifically to training its fellows in the skills and knowledge essential to the conduct of good clinical research.