President's Perspective April 2020

Nelson Photo

The Butterfly Effect
Scott C. Nelson, DPM, FACFAS
ACFAS President

As the sun set on the 2020 Annual Scientific Conference in San Antonio, I couldn’t help but reflect on what an honor it is to a part of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and the successes we all have enjoyed. The meeting was another top performer for not only attendance but also for the quality of medical education offered. I had several members (both DPMs and MDs) comment on how much they appreciated the deep dive each educational session took and how powerful it was to learn new techniques and ways to obtain better outcomes for all of us. The conference not only feeds our thirst for knowledge, but it also gives us a way to connect and reconnect with our colleagues. From offering new members a way to start their network to offering established members a way to stay connected, the ACFAS event is truly the best in the profession on so many levels. Thank you to the Annual Scientific Conference Planning Committee and the ACFAS staff who make this ship sail so smoothly each year.

While there were so many thought-provoking moments throughout the event, a few stood out in my mind, including the words of our opening general session speaker, Ben Nemtin from MTV’s The Buried Life. Ben took his inspiration for his show from the 1852 poem by Matthew Arnold, which states, “But often, in the world’s most crowded streets, But often, in the din of strife, There rises an unspeakable desire, After the knowledge of our buried life.” From these words, Ben and his friends started their own “bucket list” as part of the show where they did things they loved or longed to do while inspiring others to do the same through a ‘ripple effect.’ This concept of a ripple effect should ring through to all of us—if we demonstrate the love of our work to our patients and colleagues, it can rub off onto each of them in their own way and have such a powerful, far-reaching impact on so many people’s lives that we may never fully realize the extent.

In my President’s address, I also had a similar message as the opening general session on how your life can be affected by those around you through what is called, “The Butterfly Effect.” The Butterfly Effect, which was originally used to describe meteorological events and how small events can affect the future, theorizes that “a small positive vibration can change the entire cosmos like a butterfly that beats its wings in one corner of the globe and with that single action changes the weather halfway across the world.” This same type of effect can also be realized in our everyday lives with the decisions we make having an affect on how our future is shaped. For me, there were several life events that lead me down the path of becoming the 69th President of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons—a dream I had worked towards for many years. And, while I will admit not all of my life events were pleasant, decisions and modifications had to be made for me to continue my growth professionally and challenge myself to be better. As I became more involved in the College, I quickly recognized the positive influence this organization has on our members and I wanted to be a part of that. I would contend this organization has given me more than I could ever give back and my role as President will be to continue to serve our membership in the best way I know how.

Over the next year, I will continue to check in with you and give perspective and updates as events transpire. I hope you do as I have done and challenge yourself – both professionally and personally. Find something that will create a positive effect on those around you—either by getting more involved with the College or in other ways. I truly believe if we do create that positivity, we will each be a better person, a better profession and make the world a better place.

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