September 2019

President's Message

Peter O. Newton, MD
SRS President 2018-2019

I hope you are all set for the SRS Annual Meeting later this month! We will be gathered in Montréal, Canada, September 18-21, 2019 for what is shaping up to be another fabulous Annual Meeting. You can read my Welcome Letter in the final program for the details and highlights to expect. In addition to the science, I am especially looking forward to René Castelein’s Harrington Lecture entitled “Dropping the 'I' in AIS, What will it take?” and the Steel Lecture, presented by Normand Laprise, Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux at TOQUÉ! Restaurant and co-owner of BRASSERIE T! and BEAU MONT, who will share with us his perspective on Quebec's culinary tradition.

We had a wonderful IMAST meeting in Amsterdam with a vibrant atmosphere and discussion of a host of topics focusing on the innovations in spinal surgery. I want to remind everyone that IMAST is undergoing some changes we believe will allow this meeting to continue to thrive and meet our members needs for a venue to evaluate and debate the latest technologies that our field has to offer. The next IMAST meeting will be in Athens, Greece on April 1-4, 2020. That’s right, IMAST is moving to April. With this change, IMAST will also have a separate abstract and ICL submission deadline. Abstracts (with the expanded categories – not just deformity, minimum 1 year follow up on clinical outcomes) will be due November 1, 2019. The leadership structure of IMAST has also been adjusted to mirror that of the Annual Meeting (4 years of service, 1 year as chair). I congratulate and thank Henry Halm for his efforts as Chair of IMAST (’19). Han Jo Kim (’20) will take the reins with David Skaggs (’21) and Ahmet Alanay (’22) following.

Our educational programs will be enhanced by the recent purchase of a “Learning Management System” (LMS) that will allow SRS to organize online and in-person educational activities we believe will improve your learning experience. A task force has been working on early onset scoliosis content which we will introduce at the Annual Meeting. There is much more content to produce, but expect the SRS to take a leadership role in creating and offering a wide spectrum of education courses related to spinal deformity care.

Under the leadership of our research council chair, Marinus de Kleuver, his task force has taken on a strategic planning effort based on SRS research. The board approved a new research mission and vision that guide our activities. Through an inclusive and transparent process, the SRS will create a 3-year research priority agenda to guide new directed research efforts and requests for applications with funding levels of up to $150,000 per year. In addition, further investigator-initiated grant offerings have been approved that range from smaller pilot grants, new investigator awards as well as increased standard grants. I am particularly pleased to announce a new research award designed for young investigators with an emphasis on Innovation - Lutz Biedermann Innovation Award will be granted for $50,000 per year. We are most grateful to Mr. Biedermann’s generosity and commitment to advancing spinal deformity solutions.

You will see our Journal of Spinal Deformity under a new publisher beginning in January 2020. John Lonstein continues his tireless work as editor to bring you the most relevant articles in spinal deformity (Thank you John!). The online version will come to you for free, and if you prefer to flip the actual pages, you can get the print version for a reduced fee as a member of SRS.

The membership of SRS continues to grow both in numbers (>1300) as well as our global footprint with more than 60 countries represented. The Fellowship Committee and Board of Directors have been evaluating our membership requirements and dues structure given the diversity of our current members. Our membership outside of North America continues to grow and the SRS mission involves education and spinal deformity care for all. With careful consideration, we have shortened the time period of candidacy membership to 3 years (it had been 5 years). The requirements for advancing to Active membership in SRS have been modified, but remain appropriate to ensure SRS attracts the brightest minds and most dedicated individuals in the field. The dues structure has also been eased for some, but will continue to follow the World Bank tiers (1-4) based on each country’s gross national income.

SRS will begin sporting a new logo design that will be featured at the September Annual Meeting. This new design places a special emphasis on the global nature of SRS and a more recognizable symbol of spinal deformity. We are continuing to move the organization’s priorities throughout the world, both in the healthcare providers we educate and the patients to whom they deliver care. This global effort of SRS starts with the staff in our Milwaukee office and our executive director, Tressa Goulding. The 9 members of the SRS staff arrange more than 10 educational events each year as well as the coordination for the activities of our 33 committees and task forces. The SRS is a spectacular organization that each of you make so impactful. Along with my friends and colleagues on the Presidential Line and Board of Directors, we thank you for the opportunity to serve you and our patients.

I hope to see you soon in Montréal where we will fill our minds with new knowledge, our hearts with new/renewed friendships and pass the torch to our 50th President, Paul Sponseller, MD.

Most sincerely,
Peter Newton, MD
SRS President 2018-2019