June 2017

Program Committee Update

Muharrem Yazici, MD
Program Committee Chair

This year, SRS/IMAST programs received a total of 1506 abstracts submissions. We have been consistently receiving approximately 1500 abstract submissions annually for the past five years.

Per a decision made last year, a new abstract submission system, developed by DEKON Company, was utilized. This system was developed under the direction of previous program committees and SRS staff with extensive experience in the matter. Through a short questionnaire that I administered to a number of people in my circle, I received feedback that generally the system worked quite well, and was more efficient than those of previous years. As with all new computer applications, it is unavoidable that some problems occur. It is my belief that none of these were severe enough to affect the process significantly. I have no doubt that all complaints will be collected by the central office until the Annual Meeting and SRS-appropriate solutions found through discussion in the Program Committee.

In order to achieve a more rapid and efficient reviewing process this year, we had decided to assign no more than 100 abstracts per reviewer. For this purpose, aside from the 30 reviewers, and program committee members of IMAST (14 members) and SRS (16 members), 11 new members were invited as reviewers. The reviewing process began with a total of 69 reviewers and an average of 104 abstracts (range 71-122) on February 6.

Per the decision accepted by the Program Committee and approved by the board, this years’ abstracts were evaluated in two rounds. After the first round by the general reviewer group, twice the amount of the 130 podium papers were re-reviewed by 14 volunteer members (seven adult, seven pediatric spine surgeons) of the program committee. The reviewers read approximately 130 abstracts in this second round.

Objectives of this second round:

  1. Minimizing the differences between reviewers by allowing a smaller group to make the final determination
  2. Better grasp of the big picture by looking at 260 instead of 1500 abstracts
  3. Ability to choose the better papers from a slew of similar ones
  4. In the case of multiple papers with similar content from the same institution, contacting authors and encouraging them to join their findings in one stronger paper
  5. Enabling a more scientific and democratic paper selection process by making the program selection process longer and involving a larger group, instead of the traditionally rushed reviewing process by a limited number of people, as previously done during the Academy meeting

The re-scored final list was presented at the March 14 San Diego meeting. As in the past six years, we were planning to have 130 papers presented on the podium. In addition to this, as in previous years, 12 cases were selected for case discussion session. Again, per a new process approved by the Board, 15 papers were selected for the new E-Presentation session. These papers will be included in the program book with their titles and abstracts, and on the website, appear the same as standard podium presentations. The E-Presentations will receive the same credit as the standard podiums, similar to the e-text feature employed by some journals. However, they will not be presented in front of the attendees in the plenary and concurrent sessions. Papers left over from the second round after podium and E-Presentation were selected, will be presented as E-Posters, provided their authors agree.

As in previous years, the papers with the highest scores—six basic and nine clinical—will be presented in the award session.

Regarding podium presentations, other than having received the higher scores, we will also executively ascertain that all topics related to spine deformity are represented equally (more or less) and the program has a balanced spread, much like previous years.

The preliminary program is now available on the Annual Meeting webpage at I am glad to say now we have a great program as usual. I am pretty sure that you will enjoy listening to them. Have a nice summer and see all of you in Philadelphia in early fall.

Chair: Muharrem Yazici, MD Committee: Gregory M. Mundis, MD; Justin S. Smith, Jr, MD, PhD; David W. Gray, MD; David H. Clements, III, MD; Daniel P. Borschneck, MD, BSc, MSc, FRCSC; Kai Cao, MD, PhD; Stuart H. Hershman, MD; Michael P. Kelly, MD; Han Jo Kim, MD; Hillard T. Spencer, MD; Tyler Koski, MD; Yong Qiu, MD; Stephen J. Lewis, MD, MSc, FRCSC; Isador H. Lieberman, MD, MBA, FRCSC; Firoz Miyanji, MD, FRCSC