SRS Newsletter
June 2013
Return to Newsletter >

President's Message

SRS president

Dear SRS Members,

Greetings again from the windy city, Chicago. We are coming out of the cold winter and looking forward to a pleasant spring. I hope you all will enjoy the spring and the summer.

Summer for SRS leadership, committee chairs, and our dedicated staff is a very busy time, as we prepare for our most important functions: the 20th International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques (IMAST) and the 48th Annual Meeting & Course. The 20th Annual IMAST will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada from July 10 to the 13. It will be a great meeting with Instructional Course Lectures (ICLs), Debates, and Panel Discussions with global and diverse faculty. There have been 185 podium presentations and 135 posters accepted for IMAST. There will be 20 Hands-On Workshops (HOWs), conducted by numerous companies and vibrant exhibits, with more than 25 exhibitors showing their latest products. The 20th IMAST will be the first meeting where SRS will issue its own Continuing Medical Education (CME).

Congratulations to all of you and thanks to the many members who participated in the efforts to obtain the CME accreditation. Don’t forget to purchase your tickets for the Friday Night Course Reception, which will be held on Friday the 12th of July. It will be held at the terrace within the convention center with a spectacular view of the harbor and the mountains, along with plenty of food and drink. It will be a great opportunity to socialize with your friends and colleagues.  I look forward to welcoming you all to the beautiful city of Vancouver. My appreciation to Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD, Justin S. Smith, MD, and the IMAST Committee for planning an outstanding IMAST meeting.

The preparation for the 48th Annual Meeting & Course in Lyon, France will be held from September 18th to the 21st is progressing ahead of schedule. John R. Dimar, MD and the Education Committee did an outstanding job in planning the Pre-Meeting Course entitled A Global Perspective of the Management of Spinal Disease & Deformity. There will be six Lunchtime Symposia of diverse topics and three Half-Day Courses for Thursday afternoon covering: myelomeningocele, sagittal deformity, and non-operative treatments. The chosen faculty consists of both SRS and SOSORT Members, and will cover different treatment schools from around the world. The Program Committee, chaired by Suken A. Shah, MD, received 1,439 abstracts, which is a record number. After all were blindly peer reviewed, 125 papers and 106 posters were chosen for the Annual Meeting, in addition to those chosen for IMAST. My sincere thanks go to John R. Dimar, MD, Suken A. Shah, MD, and the Education and Program Committee Members.

As my presidency year will come to an end in few months, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize all members who keep SRS progressing on track and contribute to its success. We have 33 committees and 11 task forces, all of which have been busy fulfilling their charges and diligently completing any added responsibilities during the year. In this newsletter, you will find the reports from some of the committee chairs, which highlight their activities. I sincerely thank all committee and task force chairs and members for their dedication and tireless efforts. 

The Fellowship Task Force, under the leadership of Mark Weidenbaum, MD completed its charges and was disbanded. The Fellowship Task Force created the equivalence criteria for certification to fairly judge member applicants that live outside of the United States. It also studied the case list reporting process. You will read more about it in this newsletter from Laurel Blakemore’s, MD Fellowship Committee report. My sincere appreciation goes to Dr. Weidenbaum and the task force for achieving their goal in a timely fashion.

June is Scoliosis Awareness Month. SRS launched a nationwide campaign to get all 50 states to issue a proclamation declaring June as Scoliosis Awareness Month. These efforts are led by SRS Communications and Program Manager, Shahree Scarborough, MS and National Scoliosis Foundation President, Joseph P. O’Brien, MBA. Thanks to many of you who helped Shahree to get proclamations issued in your state. If your state did not issue the proclamation for this year, please contact Shahree and she will work with you to get this accomplished. Last year we had 40 states and 10 cities who issued proclamations, and we would like to get all 50 states to recognize June as Scoliosis awareness month.

Developing the appropriate use criteria (AUC) for adult degenerative deformity is progressing as planned. The funds from SRS, American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) as well as DePuy Synthes, Medtronic, and K2M have been received by Collaborative Spine Research Foundation (CSRF). CSRF will be in charge of distributing it to RAND Institute to perform the AUC. We should have the results in 12-18 months. Speaking of CSRF, I met with its leaders during the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois in March, and they invited and encouraged SRS Members to submit to CSRF for research grants. This year the SRS Board of Directors authorized $300 thousand for the two research grant cycles, plus 40 thousand dollars which was given by the Golf Champion Stacy Lewis for a named research grant.  Still, the Research Committee is not able to fund all of the grant requests. Therefore the CSRF is another resource to obtain research grants.

The Awards & Scholarships Committee, under the leadership of Lawrence L. Haber, MD has completed their award selection and awarded the highest number of awards ever, 26, thanks to the newly created awards for Robert B. Winter Fellowship and OrthoPediatrics scholarships and fellowships. You can read more about these award winners in Dr. Haber’s report in this newsletter.

Two important subjects, which are a part of my platform, are surgical safety and new educational venues. I assigned Kit M. Song, MD, MHA to lead the Surgical Safety Task Force. The Task Force will present a Lunchtime Symposium in Lyon, France about how to address surgical safety when problems arise and is working on creating checklists in the case of unexpected neurological events during spine surgery. These will be available by the time of the Annual Meeting. Frank J. Schwab, MD is leading another task force to explore new CME accredited educational venues. The Task Force is sending out a survey to all members asking for their suggestions for new educational venues. Please respond to this survey, as every member’s input is very important and valuable. One of the fulfillments of this task force is the accredited Cadaver Course, which will be conducted in Chicago, Illinois, October 3-5, 2013. The co-chairs Lawrence G. Lenke, MD and Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD have assembled an excellent faculty for a completely hands-on course.

The Worldwide Conferences Committee, under the leadership of the current chair, Ahmet Alanay, MD and Chair-Elect Marinus de Kleuver, MD, has presented six courses for 2013. The first was in Brazil in April in association with the Brazilian Spine Society (BSS), which I attended, and was very successful with approximately 350 attendees. Thank you to the course co-chairs, B. Stephen Richards III, MD and Luis E. Munhoz Da Rocha, MD. I invite all of you to attend any of these courses; beside the high quality of the educational program, it is a good opportunity to visit new places and meet new friends. All courses are listed on the SRS website.

As I have done in my previous communications, I would like to encourage all of you to donate to Research, Education, and Outreach Fund, “REO Fund.” Your gift will ensure the continuous success and strength of this great society. Our goal is to have all members participate regardless of the amount. I would like this year to fulfill the 100x100 slogan: 100% participation through a gift of at least $100. Donations can be done with online registration for the Annual Meeting, your Membership Dues payment, as well as on site at either meeting.

In closing, I would like to thank the Presidential Line: President-Elect Steven D. Glassman, MD, Vice President John Dormans, MD and Past President B. Stephen Richards, III, MD for their continuous support. I also express my sincere gratitude to our very capable staff under the leadership of the Executive Director, Tressa Goulding, CAE, CMP their dedication, expertise, and hardwork are exemplary. Thanks Tressa, Courtney, Cydni, Nilda, Katy, and Shahree.
I look forward to seeing you in Vancouver.

Best wishes to all,

Kamal N Ibrahim, MD, FRCS(C), MA
2012-2013 President