SEPTEMBER 2018 Presidential Message

Dear CSPS Family,

As we approach Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day, October 17, 2018, I wanted to highlight some of the great things our members are doing to increase patient and public awareness around the area of breast reconstruction and showcasing the real benefits this has on women’s lives.  In addition, I wanted to announce a new support fund for breast cancer patients of CSPS members as well as update our members on the activities of our Legislative and Political Action Committees.  Finally, I invite you to share about your BRA Day events so we may help promote them for you.

CSPS Member Dr. Subhas Gupta

Now in its 10th year, Loma Linda University’s Pink Runway was started by the university’s Department of Plastic Surgery.  Dr Subhas Gupta, Professor and Chairman of the department shares, “This is a very important event for my Department and for our family personally.  We started this annual charity gala as a tribute to our breast cancer survivors.  These include my mother-in-law who passed away from breast cancer in 2008 after a wonderful life of philanthropy, and we give an annual award in her honor, The Sunshine Award, to researchers who work diligently to shine light on the lives and survivorship of our breast cancer patients.”   Over its previous 9 years, there have been panels of expert physicians, nutrition and diet lectures, yoga sessions, and other forums educating and promoting wholeness to our survivors.  The event crescendos to the fashion show featuring models who are all breast cancer reconstruction patients.  Suby proudly states that the Pink Runway has grown from 200 to 700 attendees over the several years and “truly serves an unmet need for promoting wholeness during breast cancer survivorship.”  Please join me in supporting and attending this year’s event on Sunday, September 23, 2018 at the Riverside Convention Center! For more information, please follow the link to and click the link to the promotional flyer.  You may also click here to view the promotional flyer.

Scott Barttelbort, MD

CSPS President-Elect Scott Barttelbort’s grateful patient, Susan Mollenkopf, motivated by her own journey with breast cancer and reconstruction, completely understands the impact of reconstructive breast surgery. In response to learning of some patients’ financial challenges keeping them from completing their reconstructions, she and her husband Steve established the Mollenkopf Breast Reconstruction Fund. In addition to their own generous donations, matching funds were donated by The Qualcomm Foundation. A total of $300,000 has been contributed to date.  The Fund, originally established for patients of ASAPS/ASERF members in San Diego, is now generously being expanded to include patients of CSPS members throughout California. Each $5000 Mollenkopf Grant is for breast reconstruction patients who are deferring revisions to complete their reconstructive surgery due to financial difficulties.

Dr Barttelbort and I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Susan. Effervescent, she shared, “It saddens me to know that financial considerations or large deductibles might keep a woman from finishing their reconstruction.” She continued, “I am thrilled to be able to help the women of California complete their reconstructions and move on with their lives.” Dr. Barttelbort added, ”We are grateful to Susan and Steve Mollenkopf for generously expanding their commitment to include the patients of CSPS members and giving hope to women of California. The administrative requirements have been kept to a minimum, there is no financial screening, and the benefits to our patients can be life changing.”

This is clearly a wonderful opportunity for CSPS and its breast reconstruction patients. The collaboration with the Mollenkopf’s, Qualcomm, ASERF, and CSPS will positively impact  ourpatients and members throughout California.  If you have a patient who might benefit from a Mollenkopf Grant, please click here for more information.

Our breast cancer patients have all benefited from the hard work of the CSPS and our Legislative Committee.  Past efforts such as the Breast Reconstruction Advocacy Project (BRAP) launched by ASPS and supported by CSPS and other Societies led to President Clinton signing the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act in 1998 that requires insurance companies to cover the cost of reconstructive breast surgery after mastectomy. A second bill was later passed insuring contralateral breast surgery after reconstruction for symmetry. Despite this coverage, breast reconstruction rates remained below 25%, thus a Breast Cancer Patient Education coalition was created by ASPS and supported by CSPS and other Societies in 2012, which ultimately resulted in the passing Breast Cancer Patient Education Act (BCPEA) in 2015. This Act requires patients be educated in their breast reconstructive options by their treating physicians. While we have these legislative victories under our belt, the CSPS Legislative Committee continues to advocate and our Political Action Committee continues to educate legislatures on issues important to our patients.  Stay tuned for an update by our Legislative Committee Chair and PAC President, Terry Zimmerman in the future.

Dr. Terry Zimmerman (right) pictured with Dr. Michael Wong and Dr. Deb Johnson

We know that many of our members have special BRA Day Events and we would like to help promote them.  Please send information regarding your event to the CSPS Office and we will help get the word out through e-mail, our webpage and our other social media platforms.

Thank you for all you do for our patients to help them move beyond their breast cancer…and remember to wear your pink!

In continued service with you,

Michael S. Wong, MD, FACS President, California Society of Plastic Surgeons