A National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer: A Long and Winding Road
In the late 1990s, Dr David Rothenberger, past president of The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS), did the preliminary work on developing a national program to elevate the care of patients with rectal cancer in the United States. This initiative did not gain momentum until the late 2000s under the direction of Drs James Fleshman, Steven Wexner, Feza Remzi, John Monson, Mariana Berho, and David Dietz, among others. In 2011, the Consortium for Optimizing Surgical Treatment of Rectal Cancer (OSTRiCh) was launched. The consortium members included representatives of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Commission on Cancer (CoC), ASCRS, Society of Surgical Oncology, Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, and Society of Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons. OSTRiCh was convened with a specific directive to organize a multidisplinary group to develop an education module and clinical standards to improve outcomes of patients with rectal cancer in the United States.1,2 The goal was an accreditation program for centers in all geographic areas, which would later be developed and implemented under the ACS-CoC, as the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC). The OSTRiCh consortium was able to accomplish this initiative over 6 years of tireless effort and dedication of its members, especially Drs Remzi, Monson, and Dietz. The ASCRS thanks the OSTRiCh consortium for this laudable and nationally important program: a job well done! The NAPRC model will become the template for future ACS-CoC national accreditation programs, including those focusing on pancreatic, hepatobiliary, and other GI cancers.