New Council President, New Projects

Presidential Update 10/12

Edward Akelman, MD
Edward Akelman, MD
October 2012

As new ASSH President, I would like to thank our outgoing President, W. P. Andrew Lee, MD, as well as Steven Moran, MD and Kevin Chung, MD, for an outstanding Annual Meeting in Chicago. I'd also like to acknowledge outgoing Council members Daniel J. Nagle, MD and Bobby Chhabra, MD for their dedicated service to the Hand Society. Additionally, it is with great pleasure that I welcome our new Council members: William Seitz, Jr., MD (Vice President), L. Scott Levin, MD (Member-at-large >8), and Fraser Leversedge, MD (Member-at-large <8).

Here are a few highlights of exciting projects that we have slated for this fall:

SHUE HORN Task Force

At the heart of one of our most exciting strategic objectives is SHUE HORN (Surgery of the Hand and Upper Extremity-Hand Online Resource Network), a web-based learning platform that will be designed to be the definitive source of hand and upper extremity education for residents, fellows and experienced surgeons. It will include videos, articles, tests, course materials and other educational resources. SHUE HORN Task Force co-chairs, Mike Hausman, MD and Ray Raven, MD, spent the summer thoughtfully investigating best-practices for the development and implementation of an online platform. Because of the very significant financial and staff resources needed, Council agreed that we should carefully review the long-term implications of our various options before beginning such a significant, multi-year project that will consume our available and future resources. We look forward to a detailed plan with options and different financial scenarios late this year.

International Task Force

In May of this year, I appointed Kevin Chung, MD to spearhead ASSH efforts for the International Task Force. I believe it is critical that the Hand Society continues to develop an international identity and brand. The mission of the International Task Force is to improve ASSH outreach to international communities through education, research, volunteerism, and business ventures. As current chair of the International Relations committee and ASSH liaison to the International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand (IFSSH), Dr. Chung has already presented several exciting initiatives that the Task Force will pursue. I anticipate a final report and recommendations in December at our Council meeting.

Women in Hand Surgery

It is with great pleasure that I report on the brand new Women in Hand Surgery group, created and led by Council member Michelle Carlson, MD in recognition of a need to engage our female members. The group held its well-attended and lively inaugural meeting in Chicago. The Hand Society has approximately 300 women in our membership, and 246 women joined the group this year, showing outstanding camaraderie. Clearly this is an important and welcome step forward for the Society. We look forward to hearing about their progress in developing initiatives geared towards enrichment for our female colleagues.

Update on the Membership Capture Task Force

The goal of the Membership Capture Task Force, led by Charles Goldfarb, MD, is to better understand the pathways of hand fellowship graduates in order to maximize ASSH membership. The Task Force presented many findings that cited a lack of communication and education as primary factors for the lag between graduation and applying for active membership. Based on their recommendations, Council authorized the Task Force to develop a comprehensive communication and education strategy. Initially the group will target current residents, fellows and fellowship directors regarding the many benefits of membership and the steps necessary to join.

American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand - 25th Anniversary Campaign

To honor its silver anniversary, the American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand announced the kick-off of the 25th Anniversary Campaign. The theme of this five-year campaign is "Our Future in Hand," and the AFSH, led by Chair, Richard Gelberman, MD and President, Frederick Fakharzadeh, MD, plans to raise $5 million to support an expanding research portfolio, enhanced excellence in hand surgery education through technological innovation, and outreach to underserved populations (through Touching Hands Program). Donors may designate their gifts to support research, education, and outreach or any combination of those three initiatives. To learn more about the 25th Anniversary Campaign or to submit your pledge, visit our Foundation page.

Upcoming Vote for Bylaws Changes

Soon the Active Members of the Hand Society will be asked to vote on an important change to our bylaws. Initiated by Dr. Lee, the "Special Circumstances" Task Force was charged with discussing the ASSH bylaws that define the "special circumstances" by which hand surgeons who are not qualified to sit for the CAQ can be admitted to the Society. With the help of legal counsel, Council approved a recommendation to the bylaws that would allow for greater diversity and inclusion of skilled surgeons. You will be asked to ratify this change.

Among the many initiatives that Council will pursue over the next year, I am most excited to focus on my theme of enhancing education through technology. The Hand Society is on the cutting edge of many trends in technology, and we hope to implement even more improvements that will positively impact your ASSH experiences in your daily life, and of course, at the 2013 ASSH Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Be sure to mark your calendars for October 3 -5, 2013.

Until next time...



Edward Akelman, MD

President, American Society for Surgery of the Hand