I am honored to assume the presidency of this incredible organization. I would like to thank my predecessors on the Presidential Line, Past Presidents Ken Cheung, David Polly, and John Dormans and President Elect Peter Newton, who have helped guide me and partnered with me through these last years leading up to my presidency. Their work and dedication to the society, along with those who work in the office under Tressa Goulding's oversight, is amazing to me and unlike any I have seen in a volunteer organization. We should all be lucky to have them in our midst.
These are exciting times for our society to fulfill the overarching mission of leadership in spinal deformity and the patients we care for. There is much to contribute to both education and to research. I call upon every member to offer their service in whatever way suits them. There are multiple opportunities in our educational efforts at the committee level, the volunteer level, in writing and in advocacy. It requires a contribution of time, effort, and intellect from each one of us to continue to make our society even greater than it stands today. In education, our two premier offerings include the Annual Meeting and IMAST. This year, IMAST will be held in Los Angeles with a terrific program being created by Ron Lehman and Henry Halm, the Co-Chairs of the IMAST Committee. Our Annual Meeting will be held in Bologna, Italy, a superb city, and gastronomic capital of Italy. Again, there will be a wonderful academic program with excellent additional symposia, a pre-meeting course being put together by Suken Shah and the Education Committee. I thank them for their time and effort on these important meetings.
The Educational Task Force instituted by Ken Cheung over a year ago has made exceptional progress with the help of consultant Joe Green in templating the way our education could be delivered in a consistent fashion. Our goal over the next year is to begin to invoke this in our educational offerings, e-textbook, and through the Spinal Deformity Journal. There will be organized curricula for spinal deformity that we will be able to fill in with our educational offerings throughout the world. It will include offerings from the most basic needs of some of our members around the world to sophisticated educational offerings for advanced spinal deformity.
Our research will continue to offer both a top down and bottom up approach so that our members will be able to obtain grant support for projects that may ultimately lead to larger funding possibilities. We will target both direct requests for important needs such as adult deformity and prediction of growth remaining as well as value analysis in spinal deformity. All members are invited and encouraged to submit grants to be awarded on a merit basis.
There will also be offerings defined by leadership for earmarked funding for those topics felt to be most important for our membership and spinal deformity. This year, those will likely include increasing publications related to the Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) that was supported by the SRS on adult degenerative lumbar spinal deformity and potentially another AUC related to degenerative spondylolisthesis. These projects will likely take a few years to come to fruition and some may be added over time as the leadership changes and evolves in its thinking.
There is a tremendous amount happening within the SRS around the world related to our patients, to the care we render and the ability to improve their lives. We continue to invoke a distributive leadership model where our council and committee chairs have more voice and ownership of their councils and committees respectively. I encourage every one of you to become involved in some way in improving our society and improving the ability for us to care for those with spinal deformities from birth to older age.
If you have any ideas or comments, never hesitate to reach out to me. I look forward to seeing each of you over the course of the year and working together to improve our wonderful society.
Todd J. Albert, MD
SRS President 2017-2018