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March 2022

Health Policy and Advocacy Committee

Paul Rubery, MD
Health Policy Committee


The Health Policy Committee has worked in three broad areas in support of the SRS and our patients so far in 2021-2022. The Committee is currently chaired by myself, and the chair-elect is John Ratliff, MD.  Our administrative support has been Courtney Kissinger, who has recently handed that role to Michele Sewart. Everyone on the Committee thanks Courtney and looks forward to collaborating with Michele. 

 The HPC reviews and comments on any non-SRS surveys or questionnaires that SRS members or colleagues wish to send out to the SRS membership. We have reviewed two such surveys this year and committee members provided constructive feedback to the authors.

The HPC chair, as well as SRS member Dr. Gary Brock and Executive Director Ashtin Neuschaefer serve as representatives of the SRS to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Board of Specialties (BOS). Through BOS monthly zoom meetings, and in-person events at the AAOS Annual Meeting and the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) the SRS is kept abreast of developments in the Academy and is able to provide input on topics including the AAOS specialty day, the emerging AAOS Resident Curriculum, and the fellowship match process.

The HPC is integral to the Society’s annual drive to have June designated as “Scoliosis Awareness Month” by each of the States. The 2022 effort will begin soon. Members who have relationships with their respective state orthopaedic society, or their Governor’s office are encouraged to support the SRS in this effort. A particularly impactful advocacy moment is a photo opportunity of the Governor with a scoliosis patient. Between schedules and COVID, coordinating such opportunities is challenging and an early start is valuable! Please contact Michele at msewart@srs.org if you think that an in-person event with your Governor is possible. 

For those members outside of the United States who still want to support this effort, International Scoliosis Awareness Day is June 26. It's an opportunity to create positive public awareness of scoliosis, promote education, and bring together those affected by the condition.

The activities of the HPC have traditionally been focused in the United States. The SRS Board and Presidential Line have encouraged the Committee to expand its advocacy efforts in line with the Society’s role as the global resource for spinal deformity care and research. To that end, the membership of the HPC has been expanded to include representatives from all the regions of the world.

In our January 29 zoom, we discussed global needs for deformity advocacy, and learned, not surprisingly, that the needs are slightly different in each region. HPC members are currently compiling a database of other organizations (with whom SRS could interface) that are active in advocacy in their country or region as well as their perceptions of the key spine advocacy needs in their region. If members of the SRS have input for this effort, please send information to Michele at msewart@srs.org. The HPC will presenting the SRS Board with proposed activities to expand advocacy on behalf of spinal deformity patients at an upcoming Board meeting.

Thanks to all the HPC members for their hard work!