September 2017

IMAST Committee Update

Ronald A. Lehman, Jr., MD
IMAST Committee Chair

We have just concluded our first Scoliosis Research Society meeting on the continent of Africa with the 24th International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques (IMAST) in Cape Town on July 12-15, 2017.  We had over 25% of the delegates from Africa attend this meeting, and we have already begun to plan the 25th IMAST meeting to be held in Los Angeles, CA in July 2018.   It is hard to believe that this will be the 25th iteration of this game changing meeting that first allowed our society to explore with more vigor the innovation and novel techniques that have significantly advanced our field over the past few decades.  With the help of Henry F. H. Halm, IMAST Co-Chairman, and SRS President Elect Todd Albert, we anticipate an outstanding venue and program.  Los Angeles has much to offer, and is located within a few hours’ drive to numerous parks, beaches, and historical sites, allowing for the entire family to enjoy this amazing area.

In conjunction with the Program Committee, the IMAST Committee reviewed over 1,506 abstracts for the recent meeting.  We selected 129 four and two minute podium presentations.  In addition, we had an exciting educational program, featuring symposia on innovative methods and safety and quality that were all well received. Each abstract was reviewed by 5-7 different reviewers in a blinded fashion, and then graded on both an Olympic format (similar to Olympic judging) as well as average grade format.  Interestingly, nearly half of all abstracts were submitted from outside of North America, further enhancing this as a truly global society.

There were 17 Hands on Workshops (HOWs), and 28 Exhibit spaces that were filled by 19 companies.  Many of these HOWs were “standing room only”, and generated some very interesting debates and discussions.  We will continue to expand this aspect of our sponsored educational component moving forward.  We also changed the sessions this year, by holding no more than three concurrent sessions.  This was to allow participants the ability to attend every symposia and instructional course lecture that they felt compelling.  We took the feedback from past years, and continue to restructure the meeting to meet the goals and suggestions of the membership.

In addition, Henry and I reviewed the suggestions and course feedback.  As a result, we have already met with the Presidential Line (PL), and will continue to focus our educational program.  As always, the SRS and the IMAST Committee are committed to meeting the needs of our membership.

I would personally like to thank our President, Kenneth Cheung, MD and the IMAST Committee, as well as the other members of the Presidential Line for their support and guidance through this process.  As well, I would personally like to thank Henry Halm, MD for his assistance and partnership with the endeavor. We look forward to working closely with Todd Albert, MD and the committee for next year's meeting.  Also, the staff at the SRS, namely Courtney Kissinger, Ann D’Arienzo, Lily Atonio and Tressa Goulding, have been invaluable.

Finally, we owe a debt of gratitude to the IMAST Committee, Program Committee and ad hoc reviewers for their tireless work in assisting with the grading of over 1,500 abstracts.


Chair: Ronald A. Lehman, Jr. Co-Chair: Henry F.H. Halm Committee: David H. Clements III (CME), Andrew H. Jea, Dean Chou (C), D. Kojo Hamilton (C), Mun Keong Kwan (C), Robert Lee (C), Ibrahim A Omeis (C), Juan S Uribe (C), Jeffrey Dean Coe, Yong Hai, Hossein Mehdian, Stefan Parent