Muharrem Yazici, MD
SRS President 2020-2021
We are all going through very difficult times together. We've never seen days like these in our lifetimes. A living organism of 60-140 nM did what weapons and embargoes could not and made the whole world kneel. For almost a year, our lives have changed completely. Today, we are living a life that last year, we could not even imagine, and we internalize it more and more every day and accept it as the new normal.
We all - more or less - are angry with COVID-19 for what it does to us. We are quite right to be angry with untimely deaths, painful treatment processes, and economic difficulties. But when these hard times are behind us and we reach the good times again - I hope we will not have to wait too long for this - we will not remember the virus only for the evil it did. We will also be grateful for some of the good things it taught us:
- Whether the color of our skin is black or white, we are rich or poor, wherever we live in the World, we remember that we have the same chromosome number and the same physiological mechanisms. In short, our common denominator is to be HUMAN.
- We have seen that all our inequalities are equalized against the virus.
- Even though we have the most effective treatments, the most expensive healthcare infrastructure and the strongest vaccines, we realized that we cannot get rid of this trouble until the whole world gets better (developing immunity). We realized that it is not a sustainable situation to constantly have one side of the world crying and the other side laughing.
As a Global Society, SRS has been trying to reach out to all geographies for many years, aware that as humanity, we are all cruising on the same ship. SRS strives to share its knowledge and skills with everyone without being confined to physical or metaphysical boundaries. COVID 19 justified this policy and encouraged us to be even more active in this direction. For a Society that has accepted education as one of its main missions, you will appreciate how difficult it is to complete a whole year without being able to do a single training activity! IMAST and the SRS Annual Meeting have been like a feast day for all spine deformity surgeons, whether SRS members or not, for many years; it is a fair that brings us all together. Not being able to come together on these special days has upset us all. However, although COVID 19 distanced SRS from its members - temporarily - physically and socially, it did not decrease the motivation and enthusiasm of SRS. I can wholeheartedly say that we have completed the year 2020 very actively.
Just before the pandemic imprisoned us in our homes, we gathered in Washington, D.C. for strategic planning under the leadership of Paul Sponseller and made very important decisions. Immediately thereafter, in line with these decisions, we established seven Task Forces (TF): Organizational Structure, Needs Assessment, Platforms for Performance & Outcomes, Patient Focus, Podcast, Early Career Surgeon, and Blended Learning. In the following days, we added two more task forces to this list: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and SRS-AANS Joint TFs. All of our TFs have started their work with extraordinary effort thanks to the devotion of our members, and have already completed a significant part of their missions. The reports they will be presenting in a very short time will illuminate the future of SRS.
Although the TF names are self-explanatory, I would like to briefly touch on the topics we will focus on in 2021:
- We are trying to identify and fix the aspects that do not work well by reviewing our current organizational scheme.
- We aim to contribute to the education of SRS not only for spinal deformity surgeons, but also for all stakeholders who have any contact with spinal deformity patients, and we try to determine the needs for this.
- By revising the M&M reporting system, which is a very unique thing for SRS, we are looking for ways to transform it into a format that aims to improve both research and surgeon performance.
- We want to understand our patients better and create a platform where they can find answers to all their questions about their problems.
- We are determined to use podcast technology, one of the most popular modern communication tools, much more effectively.
- One of our main goals is to eliminate all kinds of inequality and discrimination under SRS. For this purpose, we are developing new projects to make our young colleagues more visible in SRS, and to maximize the contributions of spine deformity surgeons with a background in neurosurgery.
- Finally, in order to further strengthen the World-leader position of SRS in spine deformity education, we are focused on a new plan with a holistic approach that takes our educational activities and evaluates traditional and modern education tools together.
Before the end of 2021, I hope to share with you much more concrete results of this work.
Last but not least, I would also like to brief you on our Congresses:
We dreamed of meeting in Dublin for IMAST. However, the circumstances forced us to be realistic. We turned the Congress into a virtual format by taking early action to reduce the financial burden of our Society and to allow our members to plan ahead. We made very important changes in the format in the light of the lessons we learned from the past year. Our committee, led by David Skaggs, works for the perfect meeting. I hope that you will block the time on your calendar to attend the live sessions, April 23-25, 2021. To view the program and to register, please visit www.srs.org/imast2021.
We all missed the Annual Meeting again in 2020. We would love to fulfill this desire in St. Louis and are preparing to meet again in St Louis, Missouri, USA. Our Education and Program Committees are working with great enthusiasm to make the 56th Annual Meeting one of the most iconic meetings in SRS history. I wish you a happy year, hoping to meet under Arch on healthier days.