SRS Newsletter
December 2011
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Presidential Address

SRS president

I hope all of you in our great society have a happy holiday season, and have the opportunity this month to spend time relaxing with those who are close to you.

Let me take a moment to thank you for this opportunity to serve as your 41st Scoliosis Research Society President. This is a tremendous honor for me to have this chance to work with outstanding society leadership, and to make every effort to maximize this society’s effectiveness. With this year’s Presidential Line, Board of Directors, committee members, and outstanding administrative staff, SRS will continue to make great strides in fulfilling its mission statement, that being “to provide optimal care for all patients with spinal deformity.”

I want to personally thank our Immediate Past President Lawrence G. Lenke, MD for his work, leadership, and friendship over this past year. Dr. Lenke was extraordinary in his energy and vision and, as a result, moved our society forward. His globalization retreat in February provided clarity to the SRS’ goals for expanding our presence worldwide. A product of this meeting was the creation of the Globalization Committee with Dr. Lenke as chair, whose charge is to explore the benefits of regionalization of SRS, starting with Asia, Europe, and Latin America. During Dr. Lenke’s tenure, the society-owned journal Spine Deformity was established. With John E. Lonstein, MD as Editor-in-Chief, manuscript submissions will begin January 1, 2012, and the first volume for publication will be January 2013. However, a preliminary publication of Spine Deformity will be presented during the 47th Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, USA and will include the presentations from the 2012 Pre-Meeting Course “Techniques for Optimizing Safety and Outcomes in Spinal Deformity Surgery” with Joseph H. Perra, MD as the course chair. Also under Dr. Lenke’s leadership, the Research, Education, and Outreach (REO) Fund was established. This new fund allows SRS members to gift directly to the society with society-wide acknowledgement (more on this later).  Dr. Lenke, a heartfelt “thank you” for the outstanding work you did this past year.

I welcome our newest members to the Board of Directors. These include Vice President Steven D. Glassman, MD; Directors-at-Large: Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD; David Marks, FRCS; and Suken Shah, MD; as well as Education Council Chair Daniel J. Sucato, MD, MS. Our current Board of Directors consists of a very talented mix of SRS members, all of whom have a keen interest in providing effective leadership for the SRS. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, MD; George H. Thompson, MD; Steven M. Mardjetko, MD, FAAP; Serena S. Hu, MD; and J. Abbott Byrd III, MD recently completed their board responsibilities, and I thank them very much. All of these individuals will be missed for their wisdom and informative input.

In October, we held an extremely productive Cabinet Meeting in Dallas, Texas, USA and all of the committee Chairs were in attendance. We had the opportunity to go through detailed committee charges and expectations for the upcoming year, a useful exercise as we expect much synergistic work between committees that have similar duties. One day prior to the Cabinet Meeting, we held a seminar in healthcare economics. Covance, a company with expertise in the field, presented a Medical Decision Modeling seminar on the development of appropriate use criteria. Both of these topics are of significant importance to our society today as we increasingly face the issues of determining optimal allocation of healthcare resources within a budget. SRS will become more engaged in the development of this Medical Modeling Concept, as we think it will prove useful to us in responding to new healthcare policies and challenges.

Let me take a moment here to describe the REO Fund in greater detail. Before the REO Fund, our international and neurosurgical members lacked an appropriate avenue to give financially to SRS, as the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) is oriented primarily toward orthopaedic surgeons residing within the USA. The REO Fund provides an avenue for all members to give directly to SRS by creating two different recognition tracks, International and US. Within these two tracks there are several levels of recognition based on the amount of donations contributed. These levels are Contributory, Sustaining, Benefactor, Presidents, Founders, and Legends. For further information on the REO Fund, please go to the SRS website and look under the “Support” tab at the top of the homepage. Our goal is to provide additional resources to fund the ever-increasing research grant proposals, educational opportunities, and outreach programs. As we near the end of the 2011 calendar year, I ask all of you to consider making a donation to SRS through the REO Fund. For those of you who are inclined to donate to OREF, in which half of that donation goes directly to the SRS, please do so. Either one of these funds will greatly benefit our society now, and in the future.

Through the work of our CME Committee, Chairman Glenn R. Rechtine, II, MD and our SRS administrative staff, our application to become an accredited Continuing Medical Education provider has been submitted to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). Should we be successful in this endeavor, we will have opportunities to increase our CME offerings over time. We will find out the results of our application by July 2012. Dr. Rechtine, Tressa Goulding, CAE, CMP, Courtney Kissinger and her staff, have worked endlessly to create a strong application. We are optimistic for a successful outcome.

Following a discussion at the October SRS Cabinet Meeting, the Board of Directors voted to make the E-Text available to everyone who visits our website. Not only does this resource provide valuable educational opportunities to members, it has great potential for residents and fellows in training, international spine surgeons, and many ancillary personnel. This has already increased the traffic to our website. Please pass this information on to all of your residents and fellows.

Society-wide interest in spine research continues to grow as evidenced by the 40 grant proposals submitted during the fall cycle. The Research Grants Committee, with John M. Flynn, MD as Chair, is beginning its review process. In addition, preliminary grant applications for the Directed Research Project, “Pediatric Quality, Safety and Long-term Outcomes” were due by December 1. The Directed Research Taskforce will review these and encourage further development of promising proposals.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ (AAOS) Board of Specialty Societies (BOS) has requested all sub-specialty orthopaedic societies to become involved with the development of Performance Improvement Modules (PIMs). These PIMs will eventually replace Part 4 of Maintenance of Certification (MOC). The SRS is developing two modules; one for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis and the other for adult scoliosis. Members of the Education Committee with Mark B. Dekotowski, MD and John R. Dimar, II, MD as co-chairs are underway with this task.

This month, two SRS Worldwide Conferences are being held, in Israel and Malaysia. The Worldwide Conference Committee with, Ahmet Alanay, MD as chair, has been very busy developing future courses and, in doing so, has made the SRS the leader among spine societies for worldwide education. At this time, we are anticipating having 2012 worldwide courses in India, Vietnam, Netherlands, and Israel. However, other countries have expressed interest in hosting additional courses in 2012.

These are but a few of the activities underway in 2011-2012 for the Scoliosis Research Society. All of the committees have important tasks, and are led by energetic motivated chairs. I am excited to work with everyone as we face new challenges that lie ahead for our society, enhance the educational opportunities worldwide, financially build our organization, and increase our membership. This continues to be a very exciting time for the Scoliosis Research Society. Many great things are forthcoming.

I sincerely thank all of our members involved in leading efforts for this society. There is always room for more interested members who wish to participate in committee work, and I encourage everyone to give this strong consideration. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to lead SRS throughout the 2011-2012 year. All of us on the Presidential Line: President-Elect Kamal N. Ibrahim, MD, FRCS(C), MA; Vice President Steven D. Glassman, MD; and Immediate-Past President Lawrence G. Lenke, MD; and I wish you the happiest of times during this holiday season.

My best to you,

B. Stephens Richards, III, MD
2011-2012 President