Greetings from Dallas, Texas, where the springtime's warmth and emerging colors are upon us. This has been a wonderful year to be a part of the SRS team, as the Society's productivity has never been greater.
Much has happened since our last newsletter in December. We held a productive Board of Directors (BOD) meeting during the February 2012 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, USA. From the committee reports delivered, our 33 committees and ten taskforces are hard at work completing their numerous charges. These are year-long tasks and we're fortunate to have strong leaders in the committee chair positions. The next day, we held a half-day seminar on the development of Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) and Medical Decision Modeling. Teryl Nuckols, MD, an expert with the RAND Corporation, joined us as we further explored this concept for our Society. Earlier in October 2011 at the Cabinet Meeting, we'd held an introductory half-day primer course on this topic. James O. Sanders, MD has written a wonderful article about these critical issues of AUC and Clinical Practice Guidelines in this newsletter. I urge you all to read it. These concepts and the criteria and guidelines which will be developed will have a tremendous impact on all of us in the future. SRS is working to be a part of that development and have an input into how this activity proceeds.
Congratulations to Mark Dekutoski, MD and Joseph Perra, MD co-chair and past-chair, respectfully, of the Education Committee, who assembled an excellent SRS portion of the FOSA Specialty Day at the AAOS Annual Meeting. Their program revolved around our Society's beginning involvement with the development of Medical Decision Modeling and AUC in Adult Lumbar Degenerative Scoliosis. This project is important because of its potential to have an impact on public policy makers and third-party payers, two areas of significant importance to Society members. The presentations were very well received by the many spine surgeons in attendance.
The RAND Corporation is submitting a proposal to SRS to further develop this Adult Lumbar Degenerative Scoliosis project, utilizing the RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method, with the goal of creating useful and productive AUC. Our corporate supporters recognize the importance of this project and have made a commitment to assist in the funding of this endeavor.
I had mentioned in my previous President's Message that SRS was exploring the possibility of launching a public awareness campaign to emphasize the importance of spinal deformity care. We contacted three national public relations firms for proposals and scrutinized each of these proposals carefully. We learned a lot. First, this would be an expensive project, and one in which we'd need to rely on the expertise of public relations personnel, none of whom are currently part of SRS. Second we recognized that we are already deeply engaged in many areas of public awareness through our website's patient stories, white papers, interaction with patient support groups (National Scoliosis Foundation and Scoliosis Association) to promote activities such as June Scoliosis Awareness Month, the promotion of scoliosis screening, E-Text development, the emerging social media such as Facebook, and many more. As the SRS BOD discussed this potential project more in-depth, it became increasingly apparent that we should direct our energy and finances toward our Society's strengths, those being education, research, and outreach. As a result, we will not be pursuing a public awareness campaign at this time.
Our Society's final application to become an ACCME accredited institution has been submitted and an interview with the ACCME was held in March. Glenn Rechtine, MD, CME Committee Chair, has been deeply involved in the application process along with Tressa Goulding, CAE, CMP and Courtney Kissinger from our executive office. A final decision will be made by ACCME in July. If we are fortunate enough to become a CME provider, there are many potential educational events for members that would allow for CME credits.
Our international Traveling Fellowship will be slightly different this year. For the first time, we will have a senior member accompany our traveling fellows. Michael McMaster, MD, DSc, FRCS (Scotland) will join Ian Harding, BA, FRCS (Orth) (United Kingdom), Srinivasa Vidyadhara, MS, DNB, FNB (India), and Elias Papadopoulos, MD (Greece) as they tour Philadelphia, Dallas, and St. Louis prior to the Annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
With regard to our primary educational events of the year, the Program Committee (Daniel J. Sucato, MD, MS - Chair), Education Committee (Mark B. Dekutoski and John R. Dimar, II, MD - Co-Chairs), and IMAST Committee (Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD - Chair) have been organizing excellent programs for IMAST in Istanbul in July, as well as the Annual Meeting and Pre-Meeting Course in Chicago in September. This year, more than 1,200 abstracts were submitted for podium and poster presentations. I've had an opportunity to review the preliminary programs for both meetings, and they are outstanding in the quality of presentations, and with regard to the new ideas on organizing the programs. The one-day Pre-Meeting Course will focus on the last decade of changes in spine deformity treatment, with particular emphasis on what has or hasn't led to improvement for patients.
As you'll recall, late last fall the E-Text was made available to everyone who visits the 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. As of the end of January 2012, there have been approximately 2,700 pages viewed by 259 individuals; 150 of whom are non-members. To me, this spells success for this project. Please continue to pass this information on to all of your residents and fellows, as well as patients when appropriate.
In February 2012, New Delhi, India was the site of a very successful SRS Worldwide Conference. Three more Worldwide Conferences are scheduled for this year: in Amsterdam, Netherlands (Spine Week May 30-31), Tel Aviv, Israel (October 18-19), and Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam (November 30-December 2). Currently, there are four Worldwide Conferences scheduled for 2013, including Brazil (April 27-28), Cappadocia, Turkey (April 17), Kharkiv, Ukraine (May 23-24), and Bosnia/Herzegovina (November 1-2). A fifth 2013 Worldwide Conference may also be held again in China. All of these outreach educational endeavors truly reflect the incredible international expansion of our society.
Please take the time to visit the new Research, Education, and Outreach (REO) Fund page on the website and consider making a donation to it. Your financial generosity will strengthen our society and demonstrates your strong commitment to the future of the SRS. Our goal is to have every member make a donation to this fund, regardless of the amount. We'd like to include you in this group!
As before, 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. Soon you'll be receiving a request for submitting your name for 2012-2013 committee appointments. Please respond positively!
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) hope your 2012 is already proving to be a fantastic year.
My best to you,
B. Stephens Richards, III, MD