SRS Newsletter
March 2012
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Global Outreach

Kenneth Paonessa

Kenneth Paonessa, MD
Global Outreach Committee Chair

The Global Outreach Committee has been very active since the 2011 Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. The committee has encouraged the membership to help care for affected patients in developing countries as well as teaching surgeons in these areas to be able to provide care of spinal deformities. Part of the charges is also to encourage surgeons in developing countries who are interested in deformity care to attend the Annual Meetings or consider becoming a member. This helps foster the development of SRS as a truly global organization. With this in mind we have had several conference calls, a meeting at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Annual Meeting, are planning several more calls and possibly a meeting during the 19th IMAST in Istanbul, Turkey.

Many of the Global Outreach Committee members have already been active in global outreach with countries they have visited including Ghana, Indonesia, Columbia, Bulgaria, Uganda and the Dominican Republic. Most of us who have had a chance to participate in these programs feel we learn as much by being involved in these programs as we potentially give back to the patients we treat.

There are several main projects that the committee has been working on this year. The first project is updating the Global Outreach Program's website. For each endorsed site, we hope to have a current description of the program with up-to-date information, including who to contact if an SRS Member wants to consider volunteering with that program and how often the sites are visited.

We will also continue to expand the list of developing countries with endorsed sites. Currently for a site to be considered an endorsed site, a SRS Member needs to complete an application, which includes information on the local surgeon's or physician's commitment to provide follow-up care of patients who have been surgically treated, and the local hospital's ability to care for patients with spinal deformities. Usually a site is visited by the Global Outreach Committee Chair, as well as an individual from the Presidential Line. Potential endorsed sites include Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Iran and possibly a site in the Middle East. Egypt is currently being investigated as a potential endorsed site. Unfortunately, the political situation has left Syria as a site that is not currently felt to be safe enough to be considered.

We plan to send out a questionnaire to the entire SRS membership to query how many SRS Members have been active in global outreach and to ask what would help encourage more SRS Members to volunteer their time and skills. The results of this survey will be presented to the SRS Membership either by future newsletter or at the Lunchtime Symposium at the 47th Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, USA in September 2012.

Since many of the current Global Outreach sites see patients with rare diseases, such as tuberculosis and deformities that are worse than those seen commonly in developed countries, we would like to create a Global Outreach Database and Study Group. By combining the information from several of these endorsed sites, we hope to provide some information about the prevalence of these severe deformities and potentially provide some guidance in their best treatment. We hope to be able to also present this information at the Lunchtime Symposium.

Another on-going project is helping the current active Global Outreach Sites with the never-ending need to obtain donations of equipment to perform surgical treatments and have access to the neurophysiologic monitoring necessary to do safe treatment of spinal deformities. This is a project that Global Outreach Committee Past-Chair, Theodore Wagner, MD has been very active in pursuing a steady source of implants for patients in these developing countries along with our current committee. We are also working to see if a source of neuromonitoring technologists or neurophysiologists can be obtained through collaboration.

Lastly our Global Outreach Committee will present a Lunchtime Symposium at the 47th Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, USA. We hope to provide the results of our survey to the SRS Membership and some early results from our Global Outreach Study Group. Please remember to sign-up for this when you register for the Annual Meeting.

Chair: Kenneth J. Paonessa, MD Committee Members: Theodore A. Wagner, MD; Saumyajit Basu, MD; Samuel KW Cho, MD; Anthony S. Rinella, MD; Youssry MK El-Hawary, MD; Michael J. Mendelow, MD; Mohammed M. Mossaad, MD; Anthony P. Schnuerer, PA; Ahmet Alanay, MD; Kyu-Jung Cho, MD; Matthew J. Geck, MD; Hossein Mehdian, MD, FRCS(Ed)