Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)
An International Organization Dedicated to the Education, Research and Treatment of Spinal Deformity
Our Mission is to Foster Optimal Care for All Patients with Spinal Deformities
I would, first of all, like to thank the membership for the opportunity to lead the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) this year. This is an exciting time for SRS, as our members are driving substantial accomplishment spanning our primary objectives of Education, Research and Advocacy. While mission statements are often aspirational rather than realistic, SRS is making measurable progress toward our mission, to foster optimal care for all patients with spinal deformity.
We recently completed a dynamic SRS 48th Annual Meeting & Course in Lyon, France, with record attendance, and what seemed like record enthusiasm. One highlight of the program was a wide-ranging discussion of sagittal balance. We heard the insights of pioneers in the field such as Jean Dubousett, MD Pierre Roussouly, MD and Daniel H. Chopin, MD and we debated how best to measure, monitor and correct sagittal plane deformities. Importantly, multiple presentations emphasized our lack of understanding with regard to the etiology and treatment of proximal junctional kyphosis.
We also heard Stuart Weinstein, MD unveil the initial findings of the BrAIST study, which for the first time provides a high level of evidence for the use of bracing to prevent curve progression in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. The Russell A. Hibbs Award for best Clinical Presentation went to Lawrence G. Lenke, MD’s presentation of the ScoliRisk-1 Trial, which will establish a benchmark for neurologic complication rate associated with high-risk spinal deformity correction procedures. Overall, the 2013 Annual Meeting once again demonstrated the dedication of SRS members to high-quality research and solidified the Annual Meeting’s reputation as the best academic spine meeting.
For SRS members who could not attend, a complete video archive of the 2013 Annual Meeting (and the 2013 IMAST meeting) is available on the SRS website.
Beyond the Annual Meeting, SRS is delivering high quality-spinal deformity education around the world through an expanding array of courses and publications. Over the next year, SRS WorldWide Courses (WWC) will be held in China, India, Australia and South Africa, each in partnership with the national spine society of the host country. Responding to last year’s Educational Priorities Survey, SRS will also launch a program of Hands-On Cadaver Courses for complex spinal deformity. In addition, SRS E-Text Spine Deformity Curriculum is freely available on the SRS website, providing both basic and advanced level education for residents, fellows and trained spine surgeons.
While the SRS leadership is gratified by the remarkable success of our educational programs, we are also mindful that this success creates inherent challenges. We need to expand our educational efforts carefully so that we do not oversaturate the market or compromise the quality of the programs. An important element of our strategy for increasing spine deformity educational opportunities effectively is to involve a wider group of SRS members. I would encourage interested members to contact WWC committee Chair Marinus De Kleuver, MD, PhD or Education Committee Chair Lori Karol, MD either directly or via the SRS staff at firstname.lastname@example.org
On the research front, the Research Committee has seen a steady increase in both the quantity and quality of proposed studies. This underscores the need for continued fundraising, and also the need for accountability after grants are awarded. In an effort to optimize the productivity of our research dollars, a Research Outcomes Sub-Committee has been created to closely monitor SRS supported projects.
SRS has also pursued several Society directed research initiatives. These efforts, supported by direct investment, represent areas of research that the leadership has identified as being critical core SRS interests. In some instances these initiatives have involved cooperative efforts with other societies and our industry supporters. One example is the development of Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) for degenerative scoliosis. In conjunction with the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), Medtronic, K2M and Depuy-Synthes Spine, SRS is funding this independent AUC project through RAND/UCLA. This funding approach creates a strong firewall against real or perceived bias. It should therefore help us to protect patient access for effective treatments in the growing population of degenerative scoliosis patients.
At this year’s Annual Meeting, one of the Lifetime Achievement Awards was presented to Ian A.F. Stokes, MD whose basic science contribution to spinal biomechanics underlies much of our recent progress in growth modulation procedures as well as in 3D modeling of spinal deformity. This type of basic science work is critical to future clinical breakthroughs, and if we don’t support it, nobody else will. There is plenty of reason for SRS members to be proud of our research accomplishments, but our job is certainly not done. While we are working hard to broaden the sources of support for SRS research efforts, direct support from our members will always be critical. I encourage every SRS member to make some contribution, either through the SRS Research, Education and Outreach (REO) Fund, or through the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF).
SRS is extremely fortunate to be growing strongly in a difficult environment. We are seeing an expansion of our educational programs, an improvement in the quality of our research activities and recognition of SRS as the primary source of expertise in the field of spinal deformity. Our success is not random. It is based on the dedication of spinal deformity surgeons who, having worked hard to become part of SRS, regard active participation as an important priority.
Perhaps the most satisfying, is the broad and enthusiastic involvement by the SRS membership that creates an atmosphere of fellowship that differentiates SRS from other societies. This characteristic of SRS seems particularly important to me as I begin my Presidential term. I look forward to working with the many committed SRS members who will participate in SRS meetings, volunteer on SRS committees, or serve in the SRS leadership, as committee chairs or members of the Board of Directors.
Steven D. Glassman, MD