A More Inclusive Nominating Committee

Presidential Update 07/12

W. P. Andrew Lee, MD
July 10, 2012

Participate in the Selection of ASSH Leaders

One of my Presidential themes this year is inclusion, and we have strived to provide our members with more opportunities to be included in all aspects of the Hand Society. In addition to enhancing the Council Director application and eliminating any bias toward academics, the Identity Task Force, led by Steve Glickel, MD, has taken an additional step toward promoting transparency and openness in leadership selection. I am pleased to announce that for the first time in ASSH history, we will open two positions on the Nominating Committee for nomination and election by you, our members.

The Nominating Committee reviews and recommends a slate for Officer, Director and At-large positions on Council. During the Members Business Meeting at our 67th Annual Meting in Chicago this September, we will accept nominations for the two new positions from the floor. Self-nominations are also welcome, although all nominations will require a second from another member in attendance at the meeting. All nominees from the Members Business Meeting will be placed on an e-ballot that will be sent to all eligible, voting members shortly after the annual meeting. The two people receiving the most member votes will join the four appointed members to serve on the 2013 Nominating Committee, which I will chair.

This change marks an important step forward for our Society. In order to formally support this historic change, we will require an amendment to ASSH Bylaws which currently only delegates the power to appoint Nominating Committee members to the President. You should have received a ballot with the proposed bylaws changes necessary to accomplish the changes outlined above. I hope you'll join me in my enthusiastic vote to accept this change on the ballot.

Inaugural Mid-Career Leadership Program to Begin in 2013

Thanks to the diligent work of the Member Engagement Task Force chaired by Scott Kozin, MD, another exciting volunteer opportunity is on the horizon. In the spring of 2012 we surveyed mid-career members between the ages of 42-55 to learn if there were programs or opportunities that would encourage their involvement with the Hand Society. Based on responses to the Member Participation survey, I am pleased to announce that we will test a pilot Mid-Career Leadership program. Beginning in the summer of 2013, Active members with more than eight years in the Society will be invited to apply for a program that will be conducted in December 2013. The program will introduce the principles of knowledge-based governance while involving the participants in the actual conduct of Council deliberation.

Private Practice Committee

Another area of growth in inclusion pertains to our private practice members. A 2011 survey showed that nearly 70% of ASSH membership described themselves to be in private practice, yet a majority felt the ASSH programs and services are focused more on the academic member needs. In order to enhance their membership experience, the Council has established a Private Practice Committee to bring relevant issues for timely consideration, to identify private practitioners interested in committee involvement and governance, and to address concerns and challenges specific to our private practice colleagues.

Member Capture Task Force

Despite the steady growth in ASSH membership, there has been an increasing number of surgeons who have completed a hand fellowship but did not proceed to obtain the Subspecialty Certificate in Surgery of the Hand (formerly Certificate of Added Qualification) by their respective boards in orthopedic, plastic surgery or general surgery. In order to maximize the pool of potential ASSH active members, I have appointed a Member Capture task force. Led by Chuck Goldfarb, MD, this task force will obtain additional data on conversion from fellowship to certification, then from certification to ASSH membership. It will also recommend means to minimize such drop-offs for the future. The Council believes that maintaining a continual flow of well-qualified hand surgeons is essential to our Society's future.

Candidate Members on Find-A-Hand-Surgeon

Since the Candidate membership category was added in July 1999, we have seen a steady and significant increase in our dues-paying Candidate members- individuals who are not yet eligible for Active membership. Furthermore, we have also seen increased involvement of those members, particularly through the Young Leaders program. However, Candidate members are not presently listed in the Find-a-Hand-Surgeon tool available on the ASSH website to the public, as this feature is currently available only to our dues-paying Active, Senior, Lifetime and International members. At the suggestion of a few graduates of our Young Leaders Program, Council reconsidered our policy regarding the Find-a-Hand-Surgeon reference. Recognizing the tangible contributions that many of our Candidate members have made to the Society, Council approved listing Candidate members who have completed their hand fellowship on Find-a-Hand-Surgeon. There will be a distinction explaining the difference between Active and Candidate members in a manner to be determined by the Membership Committee, chaired by Ed Akelman, MD.

American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand

As the American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand celebrates its silver anniversary, we are delighted to continue the 25-year tradition of support for the highest quality research and education in hand and upper extremity. In consultation with the AFSH Officers, Ed Akelman, MD and Peter Weiss, MD have recommended broadening the themes and purposes of the AFSH. The 25th Anniversary campaign will now focus on three key areas: research (basic science and clinical), education (especially focusing on digital educational materials) and outreach to underserved populations. Keep an eye out for more information to learn how you can support the AFSH in its 25th year of excellence.

Opportunities to Name Areas in the New Central Office

As of June 8th the Hand Society has a new home in Chicago's "West Loop" neighborhood! Our Central Office and staff have moved to 822 W. Washington Blvd. We are excited to have finally moved into our new home and look forward to hosting many of you while in Chicago for the annual meeting.

Some hand surgery programs and centers have expressed interest in honoring a mentor or colleague by dedicating a space in the new Central Office. The Council approved four new spaces that would be available for dedication and set suggested donation as follows:
First Floor Foyer, suggested minimum: 250K
Innovation Ranch (2nd Floor), suggested minimum: 150K
Rooftop Deck, suggested minimum: 100K
2nd Floor Glass Conference Room, suggested minimum: 50K
In addition to these four spaces, Council also approved offering donors an opportunity to have a cast of their hands elegantly displayed in the conference room located on the first floor. While a suggested minimum donation has not yet been set, there will be a limited number of hand casts available on a first come, first serve basis.


I am pleased to let you know that Council recently approved a work group to take the first steps toward building a digital, web-based learning platform - SHUEHORN (Surgery of the Hand and Upper Extremity Curriculum - Hand Online Resource Network). President-elect Ed Akelman, MD, presented a comprehensive background proposal for SHUEHORN at our May Council meeting. It is important to acknowledge the 2011 Young Leader Class for originating this idea last December. The idea is to digitally curate all ASSH content: technique videos, meeting presentations, JHS articles, instructional videos, symposia, digital course captures and perhaps even book chapters.

SHUEHORN content would be organized into "learning units" that align with the SHUE curriculum. Council approved the creation of a task force to study this matter, research the very significant infrastructure costs and present detailed business plans and pro forma. With this important information, Council will be able to make a final decision towards the end of 2012 regarding whether or not the Society will embark upon the journey to implement SHUEHORN. Michael Hausman, MD and Ray Raven, MD will chair this important task force.

The volunteer leaders and staff of ASSH have no plan to slow down this summer! This has been an action-packed and fulfilling year, and we look forward to seeing you and updating you further on our progress at the annual meeting in September. See you in Chicago!

W. P. Andrew Lee, MD
ASSH President