December 2017

Governance Council Update

Mark Weidenbaum, MD
Governance Council Chair

Greetings and Happy Holidays to all! The SRS Secretary is the Chair for the Governance Council which includes the following Committees: Awards and Scholarships, Bylaws and Policies, Coding, Ethics and Professionalism, Fellowship, Global Outreach, Health Policy and Historical. Each of these vibrant Committees are important contributors to our Society.

Recently, under the guidance of the SRS Presidential Line and Board of Directors, the SRS has started to carefully embrace the world of digital media. In 2016, Marcus John, a creative director and fashion stylist, approached SRS with several very creative proposals focused on using digital media to raise awareness, empower, and educate the public about spinal deformity. Once approved by the Leadership, this effort came under the purview of the Health Policy Committee and numerous members of the SRS staff have been actively involved. SRS partnered with Marcus and his nonprofit organization, the StraightForward Foundation (#IAmStraightForward), for mutual benefit: Marcus has used his artistic creativity and network of contacts in fashion and design to help raise awareness about spinal deformity and to let people know about SRS on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. In return, SRS has provided seed funding as well as professional guidance to keep the message focused and accurate.

This year’s campaign began with eight scoliosis patients who attended a professional photo shoot in June. These patients and their photos/biographies were then featured at a Gallery Opening in New York City on 9/11/17. Included in the group were two Victoria’s Secrets Angels, one young boy, a woman who was nine months pregnant, a professional dancer, a retired teacher, an activist, and a recent college graduate, all of whom had compelling stories. Several hundred people attended the opening and many others visited the photo gallery during the following week. This event was featured in a Huffington Post article on October 6, 2017.

Many ideas are in the works and SRS is very excited about this bold new effort. Although this year’s inaugural activities took place in NYC, the plan is to take this effort nationally and internationally. We look forward to continuing this collaboration in order to better reach to our patients via the digital space.

Photos from the 9/11/17 Straightforward Gala:

Dr. Todd Albert, Lily Atonio, Christina Liedtke, Marcus John, Tressa Goulding, Dr. Mark Weidenbaum

Follow the campaign on social media with #IAmStraightForward.