I hope this newsletter finds everyone getting ready for the summer season (except for our colleagues in the southern hemisphere!) including some well-deserved time off for recharging one’s batteries. The summer season is certainly the busiest time of year for our society, especially for our dedicated staff as they prepare for our two flagship meetings, IMAST and The Annual Meeting (AM), which are rapidly approaching. Plans are all set for the IMAST meeting to be held in the thriving European city of Copenhagen from July 13-16, and we expect another great attendance for this world-class meeting. Dr. Todd Albert, completing his tenure as IMAST Chair and Program Director, has assembled another top-notch group of SRS members to provide outstanding ICLs on just about every major spinal surgery topic. Additionally, a group of 135 podium presentations selected from over 700 submitted abstracts will be presented during the three day meeting. Support from our industry partners remains strong, and will again provide advanced education on specific techniques, implants and instrumentation devices during the Hands-on Demonstrations (HODs) and Hands-on Workshops (HOWs) as in recent years. Don’t forget to register for the Friday evening event at the Opera House, which is a superb venue with inspiring architecture, that will not only include the beautiful scenery and ambience, but also food (enough for dinner) and drink to compliment the socializing. We look forward to seeing many of you there!
Plans for the AM taking place in Louisville, Kentucky from September 14-17 also are proceeding extremely well. The format remains the same as the top 115 abstracts selected from over 1000 submitted will be presented from the podium as graded and organized by the Program Committee chaired by Dr. Laurel Blakemore. In addition, the ever-popular pre-meeting course, arranged by education chair Dr. Joseph Perra, will focus on Safety in both Pediatric and Adult spinal deformity surgery. In addition, following the Pre-Meeting Course on late Wednesday afternoon, a new forum titled “Case reports” will provide for very clinically based sessions in five simultaneous rooms for a more intimate and personal educational experience. Lastly, multiple lunchtime symposia on Thursday and Friday and ICLs on Thursday afternoon will also be presented and will be CME accredited. The Farewell Reception will be held at the Kentucky Derby Museum, which is a must-see for all visitors to this horse-loving part of the country. Further details on the AM will be forthcoming, but start making your plans to join us in Louisville this September!
From our busy committees, I am pleased to report that a major upgrade to our Website will be forthcoming in the next few weeks and we are now on Facebook! The Web site Committee, co-chaired by Dr. Michael Roh and Dr. John Sarwark has been in full gear the past three months working with an outside consultant to revise our homepage and several other sections, including an upgraded patient and family section. Many thanks go to these two, along with their entire committee and especially Dr. Tony Rinella, for all of their hard work on this. We hope you like what you see, and please provide comments, as there is still much work to do to keep our website the premier source of spinal deformity education and information as per our strategic plan. Great work, Team! Next, research is still prominent within our society as seen by the fact that the Research Grant Committee received a record 37 grant applications for the spring cycle. Dr. Dilip Sengupta, chair of the committee and his team, are actively analyzing the grants, and we look forward to announcing the winners at the AM in September where we will recognize the important achievements of our grant recipient winners prior to one of the breaks in the program. Special thanks goes to all of the committee members who spent so much time reviewing, grading, critiquing and providing constructive changes to the grants not selected for funding. Finally, the CME Committee has started the very important work of making sure our IMAST and AM are presented without bias or conflict of interest. Led by the efforts and expertise of Dr. Glenn Rechtine, chair of the CME Committee, every single presentation in these CME programs will be reviewed by a committee member, and any concerns/issues dealt with on a proactive basis to ensure that both meetings will present the most up-to-date, unbiased material free of any conflict. Certainly, one can imagine that the work involved in this and many of our other committees is substantial and very much appreciated.
From the Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) forefront, I am pleased to report that the Board of Directors (BOD) has approved our entry into society-directed EBM efforts, concentrating initially on the common adult deformity of degenerative lumbar scoliosis (DLS). The BOD approved funding for a structured literature review and evidence-based rating to be performed by Dr. David Polly and his experienced colleagues at the University of Minnesota. Coupled with that, we are moving forward with a planned educational seminar on integrating EBM topics such as Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs), Appropriate Use Criteria (AUCs), medical modeling etc. to be provided on Friday, October 14, the day prior to the fall Cabinet Meeting, to the current leadership (BOD), as well as potential future leaders with the many committee chairs who will attend this important educational session. The initial goal is to utilize DLS as a template for developing society-generated guidelines or AUCs, depending on what appears to be the best avenue to proceed. Next, and probably more importantly, we plan to develop a template and societal level of expertise to produce other guidelines/AUCs on future topics of importance to our society and health care systems around the globe. Please note that the efforts necessary to accomplish these extremely important EBM tasks will require many members to become involved – so please let any of us on the Presidential line, BOD, or the Evidence-Based Outcomes Committee (chair- Dr. James Sanders) know if you would like to help with these efforts.
I am also pleased to announce that plans are proceeding quickly on the upcoming SRS/AOSpine prospective multicenter international clinical research study to evaluate neurologic and all complications associated with complex adult deformity surgery, the “ScoliRisk study.” The following 15 centers were selected from over 200 applications including nine from North America: Johns Hopkins, Hospital for Special Surgery, Mayo Clinic, New York University, University of California-San Francisco (UCSF), University of Louisville, University of Toronto, University of Virginia, and Washington University-St Louis; three European centers: University of Denmark, Nottingham University in the UK, and University Hospital Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona, Spain; as well as three Asian centers: University of Hong Kong, Nanjing University in China, and Hamamastu University in Japan. I would like to congratulate all of the principal investigators at each site for their efforts in providing detailed input on the application form, which allowed us to select such an esteemed group of centers/surgeons. We are planning a kick-off meeting on Thursday, July 14 in Copenhagen in association with the IMAST meeting with plans to begin enrollment by the end of the summer.
Plans are also proceeding regarding our interest in starting our own journal of Spinal Deformity. The BOD has approved the collaboration with Elsevier Publishing Company after receiving a most favorable proposal. We are working on the final contract, which will be presented to the BOD at the July IMAST meeting. Importantly, our Immediate Past President, Dr. Richard McCarthy is chairing a search committee consisting of Dr. Randall Betz, Dr. Kenneth Cheung, Dr. Kamal Ibrahim, Dr. Vicki Kalen and Tressa Goulding, CAE, CMP, to select the inaugural Editor-in-Chief, a position of great importance for the success of our new journal launch. We all look forward to finalizing this project this summer. Please note that we will be requesting applications for other editorial roles for this journal soon as well, so all who are interested, please apply when notified if you are able to help in this important landmark venture for our society.
Lastly, I would like to thank two staff members for their past work with the SRS who have moved on to other positions, Nadine Couto and Katie Agard and welcome both Katy Kujala-Korpela and Cydni Chapman to the SRS staff, joining Tressa Goulding, Megan Kelley, Courtney Kissinger, and Nilda Toro in the day-to-day management of the multitude of activities with which our society is involved. We certainly could not function without this terrific staff and I want to acknowledge their expertise, work ethic, and dedication that are all nothing short of spectacular. The leadership and membership truly appreciate all you do!
I hope to see many of you in Copenhagen soon!
Lawrence G. Lenke, MD