Highlights of the Spring Council Meeting by President Nagle

Presidential Update 06/11

Daniel J. Nagle, MD
The ASSH Council recently completed its spring meeting. Here is a brief recap of highlights from our meeting.

On the Horizon 
President-elect W.P. Andrew Lee, MD created two task forces that will begin work this summer and continue through his presidential year.  The Member Engagement Task Force will explore methods for improving the ASSH volunteer experience and maximizing member engagement and involvement.  The second task force, The Identity Task Force, will look at the identity of the Hand Society from three perspectives: scope of practice, case mix and setting, and degree of specialization. These task forces will begin their work soon and will report to Council during the coming year. 

The Future of ASSH Policy on Hand Transplantation
In 2001, the ASSH released its first position statement on the topic of hand transplantation, stating that the ASSH supports continued research into this area but had reservation about patient outcomes and overall risk of the surgery.  This statement, authored by past presidents William Cooney, MD and Vincent Hentz, MD, was revised in 2003 by W.P. Andrew Lee, MD,  Dennis Phelps, MD and David M. Lichtman, MD.  The revised statement echoed the sentiment of Dr. Cooney and Hentz’s paper and called for even further investigation into patient selection and the use of immunosuppressants to counter donor rejection. 
Since 2003, remarkable progress has been made in hand transplantation. This progress has prompted Council to revisit the ASSH position on transplantation. Council approved the formation of a Hand Transplantation Task Force, chaired by L. Scott Levin, MD, to revise our current policy.  We hope to have an updated position statement in time for the upcoming Annual Meeting.
Results from the Member Values Survey
Every two to three years the Hand Society conducts an evaluation of all the ASSH member products, services and programs to be certain these programs continue to be of value to ASSH members. This year we learned that members are largely aware of all 51 Hand Society programs.  The highest valued programs are the Journal of Hand Surgery, Self-Assessment Exam and the Annual Meeting.  We invite you to view the complete results of the Member Values survey. Thanks to each of you who completed the Member Values Survey. 

Image Library Task Force
The online Image Library is a web-based, members-only benefit that provides an easy method for uploading and sharing surgical case images.  The Image Library was launched in September 2010 under the leadership of Michael Hausman, MD and the Educational Technology Task Force.  Thus far there have been 201 images and 38 cases uploaded to the site, but there has been limited use of the site by our members. Bobby Chhabra, MD and the newly formed  Image Library Task Force will work to increase not only the content of the library but also its visibility. 
Policy on the Use of Social Media 
The Hand Society is now actively involved in social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) to communicate with our members and the public.  As the use of online technology continues to increase, many organizations are finding it helpful to create a social media policy that explicitly outlines the principles and guidelines for employees, members and other users communicating publicly online.  For this reason, Council approved the ASSH Social Media Usage policy as a reminder that all of our standards of professionalism extend to any form of online communication, regardless of the platform.  Read the complete Social Media Usage policy on our website.  
Program Advisory Group
The Program Advisory Group (PAG) was established in September 2008 to determine the member value of the Hand Society’s current program portfolio. Each year one third of all ASSH programs are reviewed. This year marks the third year of the PAG, led by Robert M. Szabo, MD, MPH, and the completion of the first full three year PAG cycle.   Over three years, the decisions recommended by the PAG and acted on by Council have realized a savings of over $93,000 in direct and indirect expenses for the Hand Society.  Next year, Edward Akelman, MD will chair the PAG and will continue to ensure the health and growth of our program portfolio.  
New Home for the Hand Society
The AAOS, our current landlord, has indicated it will be building a new headquarters in the near future.  This news prompted Council to consider the future “housing” needs of the ASSH. All options were considered and after very thorough and thoughtful deliberation, Council decided the time is right for the ASSH to purchase its own building. Treasurer Peter Weiss, MD has led our effort to find a new home for the ASSH.  Peter and the search committee (Mark Anderson, David Hood and Dan Nagle) have spent countless hours during the past year analyzing possible locations for the new ASSH office. As of this writing one particular building has caught our eye but whether our negotiations will bear fruit remains to be seen.  I will keep you informed of the outcome of this significant and exciting undertaking. 
Nominating Committee
This year the Nominating Committee, led by Robert M. Szabo, MD, was charged with nominating the Education Division Director.  After one year as a very effective and successful Education Division Director, Alexander Y. Shin, MD has been nominated to continue in that role for three years.  His nomination was unanimously approved by Council, and now ASSH Active members are requested to vote on the recommendation via e-ballot. Please don’t forget to cast your votes for Education Division Director and 2011 new members by June 27th.
Summer is just getting under way which means the Annual Meeting is just three months away!  Tom Wiedrich, MD and James Chang, MD along with Angie Legaspi and the entire ASSH staff are getting things ready for you in Las Vegas. 
I wish you a very pleasant summer and I look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas.


Until next time,