Greetings from Dallas, where a pretty warm summer is already upon us. These past few months have been very productive for the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) as many of our committees have been actively pursuing their 2011-2012 charges, and completing additional work that arose during the year. Within this newsletter, you’ll find numerous reports highlighting committee activities. To all of the members of the SRS involved with this work, I sincerely thank you for your time and efforts.
This year’s IMAST is scheduled for July 18-21 in Istanbul, Turkey. Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD, IMAST Committee Chair has assembled an outstanding program composed of stimulating debates, informative instructional courses, and high-quality podium presentations. In addition, due to the popularity of the Hands-on Workshops, we’ve scheduled two of them in the late afternoon prior to our opening ceremonies on Wednesday evening, July 18. I hope most of you will have the opportunity to attend IMAST this year as it is set in a fantastic venue. For those who do attend, I encourage you to plan a full schedule in order to take advantage of the exceptional educational opportunities.
Our 2012 Annual Meeting is September 5-8 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Once again, this is going to be an excellent opportunity for education. Daniel J. Sucato, MD, MS, Program Committee Chair, worked hard with the Program Committee to develop an outstanding program of podium presentations and will be introducing one session with concurrent presentations. In addition, the Education Committee, co-chaired by Mark B. Dekutoski, MD and John R. Dimar, MD, organized excellent Half-Day Courses and Lunchtime Symposia to compliment the scientific sessions. The Pre-Meeting Course, entitled “A Decade of Evolution in Spine Deformity Management: A Critical appraisal of Practice Changes, Outcomes, and Technology” promises to be informative regarding the advancements in our discipline over the past ten years.
It is with a great deal of honor that the SRS recognizes our former president, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, MD, for his achievement in creating the Foundation of Orthopaedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS) Orthopaedic Hospital Rehabilitation Institute. There was a formal dedication for the new institute on April 28, 2012 during which our Global Outreach Committee chair Kenneth J. Paonessa, MD, representing SRS, honored Dr. Boachie-Adjei. Dr. Boachie-Adjei established the FOCOS Institute in 1998 which has provided excellent orthopaedic and spine care to underserved communities in Ghana and West Africa for over a decade. Congratulations, Dr. Boachie-Adjei!
The month of June is Scoliosis Awareness Month. At the time of this writing, the SRS (under the direction of SRS’s new Program Manager, Brian B. Lueth, MBA,) and the National Scoliosis Foundation (NSF) (Joseph O’Brien, President) have been successful in obtaining thirty two state proclamations and nine city proclamations declaring June as Scoliosis Awareness Month. Many more states are expected to issue formal proclamations by early June. To date, this has been the most successful nationwide campaign ever for publicizing this very important message of scoliosis awareness. Thank you to all of the SRS members who volunteered to serve as co-sponsors in their respective states, as Brian and Joe made contact with the state representatives.
In the two previous newsletters I made reference to the SRS’s decision to provide financial assistance to a Directed-Research Grant in either safety or long-term outcomes in the pediatric population. We have committed a total of $100,000 over a two-year period, and had solicited proposals from our membership. From the forty abbreviated proposals initially submitted, the ten highest-ranked proposals were selected to submit extensive applications. Under the direction of Kit Song, MD, Chair the Directed-Research Task Force effectively reviewed each of these outstanding applications. I’m pleased to announce that Michael Yaszemski, MD, from the Mayo Clinic was rewarded this Directed-Research Grant for his outstanding proposal entitled, “Long-term pulmonary function, health-related quality of life, and sagittal plane alignment following the treatment of AIS”. Congratulations Dr. Yaszemski. All of us look forward to an outstanding presentation and publication of this very worthwhile long-term outcomes study.
In March, during the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Research Capitol Hills Day, I was fortunate to take one of my scoliosis patients and her mother to Washington D.C., USA to lobby our Senators and Representatives for financial support of National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) orthopaedic research. Research remains one of the primary objectives of our great society, and the SRS’ efforts to continue providing broad support for these programs (many of which provide funding for spinal deformity research) is important. We had excellent responses, and commitments, from the Senate and Representatives’ offices to continue funding NIH and NIAMS orthopaedic research at their current levels.
Also in March, Glenn R. Rechtine, II, MD, Lawrence G. Lenke, MD, Tressa Goulding, CAE, CMP and Courtney Kissinger had the formal interview with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). This represented the final step in the application to become a Continuing Medical Education (CME) provider. The interview went very well, and we are optimistic of receiving a positive response from the ACCME in July. Once their decision is made, we’ll notify our membership. If the SRS does become a CME provider, SRS will have additional opportunities to provide outstanding continuing medical education programs, in addition to the Annual Meeting and the International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques (IMAST).
In April, SRS was well-represented at the 2012 AAOS National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) in Washington D.C., USA. Steven D. Glassman, MD, SRS Vice President organized and led a symposium entitled “Holding Payors to Evidence-Based Standards” which was extremely well-received by those in attendance. Dr. Glassman’s symposium provided excellent clarification on many of the issues we face today when confronted by restrictions from third-party payers. Congratulations, Dr. Glassman, on an excellent symposium.
The Spine Deformity Journal is progressing well under the direction of John Lonstein MD, editor-in-chief. The preview issue, featuring the one-day Pre-Meeting Course from the 2011 Annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, will be distributed at this year’s meeting in Chicago, Illinois.
In January 2013, the journal will formally begin with six issues being published each year. Dr. Lonstein has received a number of excellent manuscripts already. I encourage all of you who have been selected for podium presentations at IMAST and the Annual Meeting to submit your completed manuscripts for publication in Spine Deformity. Doing so will provide you with the opportunity to be published in one of the forthcoming premiere spine-related journals.
We continue to move forward with the concept of developing an Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) for Lumbar Degenerative Scoliosis. The Board of Directors had in-depth discussions with a representative from RAND-UCLA, and a proposal for the AUC project has subsequently been submitted to the SRS by RAND. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) has joined to make this a collaborative effort, and we will be taking this proposal to outside funding sources in an effort to move this very worthwhile project forward. Once completed, we think this AUC will be very helpful in our interactions with third-party payors and policymakers.
Finally, the Research Education and Outreach (REO) Fund was successfully established last summer and has proven to have been a sound investment. Under the direction of Paul D. Sponseller, MD, SRS Treasurer and Steven M. Mardjetko, MD, Development Committee Chair and former Treasurer, this balanced fund is being managed by Rockefeller Financial Asset Management. The REO Fund was originally created to provide a vehicle for our non-North American membership and neurosurgical members who wished to contribute financially to the SRS. Its successful creation has led us to recognize that it may also be the ideal fund for all members (including North America members) who wish to make a donation. In fact, one of the SRS Board of Directors’ goals in 2012 is to establish 100% participation by SRS members in contributing to the REO Fund. There are various levels of recognition that have been established depending on the level of giving, but regardless of the amount you wish to contribute, we encourage all of you to give to this very important fund. Along with the OREF, the REO Fund will be the primary base we draw upon for future research and educational opportunities for our membership. As mounting restrictions are continually being placed on corporate sponsorship of our events, we must build our financial base with the REO Fund from this point forward.
In summary, I thank all of you for your untiring hard work this year within your committees and task forces. Never has the SRS been in a stronger position to fulfill its mission statement, that being “to provide optimal care for all patients with spinal deformity”. Please join me in continuing to make every effort to fulfill our mission. Have a wonderful summer, and I hope to see you at IMAST in Istanbul, Turkey.
My very best to you,
B. Stephens Richards, III, MD