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APSA Peer Support Program

The American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) is pleased to offer a peer support service for members who have experienced an adverse event or other stressor that could benefit from talking with a pediatric surgeon trained in supporting others.

As pediatric surgeons, our work can be physically and/or emotionally taxing. Often only a colleague can understand what we do. This program seeks to provide the APSA membership with that listening ear. You may refer yourself or a colleague. All requests and conversations are confidential. A trained peer supporter will reach out within 48 hours.

Loren Berman, MD, Peer Support Program Chair.
Watch this video to learn about APSA’s Peer Support program.

As pediatric surgeons, we have one of the world’s most rewarding jobs, but we all know that although the highs are very high, the lows are very low.

Edward Barksdale, Jr., MD, APSA President 2021-2022.
Listen to Dr. Barksdale’s journey.

I felt the weight of the burden and over the next 6-12 months I could not get this out of my mind. It was intrusive to my thoughts and my sleep. It was disruptive to my personal life, my family life, my ability to operate. I could not seem to shake it.

…what I really missed was peer support. I missed the ability of having someone like me, not in my own environment, who would not be judgmental and who had maybe gone through this before and that I could relate to. Dr. Barksdale

Marjorie Arca, MD
APSA Treasurer 2020-2023
Listen to Dr. Arca’s Journey

Pediatric surgery is the highest stakes poker game. When you win, you win big: the health and well-being of that child for the rest of his or her life. But when you lose, you lose big: the potential of that child’s life at its fullest. – Dr. Arca 

Steve Stylianos, MD
APSA Foundation Treasurer 2021-2023
APSA Governor 2023-2026
Listen to Dr. Stylianos’ Journey

I assumed time would allow me to return back to normal. This did not occur. The missing piece is that I never spoke of this event out loud to someone who would understand the visceral aspects of what I was going through. – Dr. Stylianos 

Referral Form

If you would like to refer yourself or someone else who has experienced an adverse event or other stressor and could benefit from talking with a pediatric surgeon peer supporter, please enter name and a brief description of the situation below. If you know preferred contact information, please enter that as well. 

All referrals are confidential. You may choose to remain anonymous or provide your contact information.

    What do you think the person will want to discuss?

    Does the person know you referred them?

    Please let us know if you would prefer to speak with a specific peer supporter from the list of trained members.

    Would you like to nominate a friend or colleague to get trained as a peer supporter?
    Contact Loren Berman at

    Additional Resources

    APSA’s Peer Support Program is funded by your generous donations. If you would like to support this effort, visit the APSA Foundation donation page and select the Education Initiatives for Members and Trainees category.

    Disclaimer for Peer Support Program
    Disclaimer: APSA provides the Peer Support program as a resource to its members and other pediatric surgeons. All peer supporters are volunteers and their inclusion on the list of peer supporters does not imply endorsement by APSA. APSA makes no representations, guarantees, or warranties regarding the program or that any information exchanged or provided in the program will be suitable or appropriate in any given circumstance. Peer support conversations are NOT to be considered, and do not take the place of, professional or legal advice and may not be relied on as such. DO NOT USE THE PEER SUPPORT PROGRAM FOR EMERGENT CONCERNS. If you have any concerns about self-harm, contact your medical provider or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255. APSA expressly disclaims all liability for damages of any kind arising out of the use the peer support program by any person.