By Ron Kruzel, MA, CAE, CST, ARC/STSA Executive Director

Despite the cooling weather, it is heating up at the ARC/STSA! Busy is an understatement; many projects are underway and yet there’s so little time … I bet that sounds familiar to you all. With that said and time so precious, let me get right to the latest ARC/STSA updates.

Surgical Technology Standards

The public comment period and open hearing for the Surgical Technology Standards is complete, with all comments recorded and in the hands of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) for review. The next step is review and determination by the CAAHEP Board of Directors. The Standards are on the agenda for the CAAHEP’s next meeting on November 19. Thank you to all who participated in the public comment and open hearing process. ARC/STSA will reach out to all of our programs and communities of interest subsequent to the CAAHEP board action in November.

Surgical Technology Standards Interpretive Guide Revision

Our SIG-ST revision task force continues to meet and make progress on an update to the Surgical Technology Standards Interpretive Guide. Rebranded as “Best Practices in Surgical Technology Accreditation,” the document is due for release in January 2022. Simultaneous to this and the implementation of the Surgical Technology Standards, ARC/STSA will be providing a series of policy updates to assist our programs in maintaining compliance with the Standards. Much more to come on this!

Pandemic Update

Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for an ARC/STSA survey to gather current information on your program’s status as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. ARC/STSA is committed to a return to normal operations once it is safe, and the status of our programs is the primary factor in our efforts to do so. We need your help and ask for your participation in the upcoming survey process.

Accreditation Management System

As mentioned in my last update, ARC/STSA is working with Heuristic Solutions to implement the Learning Builder Accreditation Management System. Work began in July and we are pleased with its progress. We are looking at an early 2022 launch of the system, which will include the newly revised and simplified ARC/STSA Annual Report, program accounts, and enhanced accreditation services and communication. Currently we are testing the annual report process and I hope to provide more details on it in our December newsletter. We are excited for this new system here at the ARC/STSA!

Yes, Meetings!

I’m not talking about Zoom! ARC/STSA was thrilled to support and attend the live AST Surgical Technology Conference in July — our first face-to-face meeting in more than 15 months. As pandemic restrictions have somewhat eased, ARC/STSA has attended and represented our accreditation community at two additional meetings this fall. Director of Education Christy Baily-Byers and I attended the annual fall meeting of the Association of Surgical Assistants (ASA) in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as the annual meeting of the National Network of Health Career Programs in Two Year Colleges (NN2) in September. Congratulations to Christy for her election to the NN2 Board of Directors!

As I mentioned earlier in this update, ARC/STSA is committed to our return to “business as usual” when safe to do so. We are hoping for more opportunities to network live with all of you in 2022 as we celebrate our 50th anniversary.

I look forward to your questions and comments. Please feel free to reach out to me at and we will set up a time to talk. And on behalf of all of us here at the ARC/STSA, thank you to the nearly 250 attendees who attended the ARC/STSA virtual Accreditation Fundamentals for Educators (AFE) workshops in 2021. It was great to see you all, albeit virtually!