Updates on the ASSH Textbook, Journal of Hand Surgery, and more

Presidential Update

Scott H. Kozin, MD

May 2014

After our recent Council meeting in Chicago, May 16-17, it became clear that the Hand Society is advancing in every way.  Our technology-driven projects are blooming, our local and international partnerships are flourishing, and we continue to enhance our educational offerings.  Council members conducted rich discussions and asked all the right questions during our two-day session.  Here is a brief overview of what you can expect in the near future.

Touching Hands
I am truly moved by the outpouring of support the Touching Hands Project has received from ASSH members.  While not every volunteer can participate in our upcoming July trip to Haiti, Mark Baratz, MD and George Dyer, MD will join me in leading this mission along with nine others.  As we learn and collaborate with other organizations such as Operation Smile, I have no doubt that Touching Hands will grow tremendously and allow every volunteer to serve in the future.  As my Presidential Initiative, this project is a global step for the ASSH with an emphasis on hand surgery around the world, especially in places that need our help.  Thank you again for your support!  I look forward to providing an update after we visit Haiti.

Journal of Hand Surgery
The Journal of Hand Surgery Task Force was created in 2013 to support and direct JHS as it approaches an important transition year from 2015-2016 when two contractual terms come to completion: our publishing contract with Elsevier and our Editor-in-Chief contract with Roy A. Meals, MD.  Brent Graham, MD chairs the JHS Task Force, and members include James Chang, MD, Alex Shin, MD, Marty Boyer, MD, and me.  With this meeting, the work of this task force has been completed.

Front and center in our discussion was creating a vision for the JHS of the future.  What should an article look like as we become increasingly less tethered to print?  How can we create an engaging experience for readers and attract the best submissions?  We are using the vision of the JHS Task Force presented to Council last week as we engage in discussions and negotiations with potential publishing partners.  It entails condensing the printed JHS to approximately 60-70 pages that will include only the most impactful articles, and expanding and redesigning JHS online to include more supplementary, multi-media content.  All JHS content will continue to be peer-reviewed and indexed. 

We hope to implement the new JHS early in 2016.  Council authorized me to appoint a Search Committee for the Editor-in-Chief of JHS.  I will chair the Search Committee; other members include Jim Chang, MD, Alex Shin, MD, Marty Boyer, MD, and Don Lalonde, MD.  I will be emailing all members in June with more details about the content strategy for the new JHS as well as details for those who might be interested in applying.  We hope that the current editor and others will apply, creating a strong field of applicants to select an editor who will be steering JHS through 2020 and beyond.  As part of the interview process, applicants for the Editor-in-Chief position will be asked to describe a potential editorial structure for implementing the new content strategy.  We hope to make a selection for Editor-in-Chief by end of the year, and we are all very excited about the future direction of JHS.  

Digital CME
Within the next year, the Hand Society plans to expand an aspect of our educational programs that is now in great demand: online CME.  Your educational future could soon include CME with webinars, online Annual Meeting sessions, and more.  Council determined that the Courses and Meetings Advisory Committee, Chaired by Warren Hammert, MD, will oversee this expansion.  The Strategic Planning Group, led by President-Elect Bill Seitz, MD, will discuss details of these new offerings when they meet in Chicago this fall.

ER Hand Care Committee
Changing the culture of emergency hand care has proven to be a challenging, ongoing process; however, thanks to ER Hand Care Committee Chair Scott Levin, MD, we have taken an important step in doing so.  The American College of Surgeons will soon release the new version of Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient, previously known as the “Green Book” and now commonly referred to as the “Orange Book.”  In the latest version, set for release this summer, there is new important language that requires Level 1 facilities to provide microvascular surgical care.  It reads:

"Many surgical specialists may be needed to properly serve trauma patients.  Level I facilities are prepared to manage the most complex trauma patients and must have available a full spectrum of surgical specialists, including specialists in orthopaedic surgery, neurosurgery, cardiac surgery, thoracic surgery, vascular surgery, hand surgery, microvascular surgery, plastic surgery, obstetric and gynecologic surgery, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, and urology (CD 11–70)."

The book also states that an agreement should be in place for any specialty care transfers.  This language is a positive result of the hard work that Scott has put into developing an invaluable partnership with the American College of Surgeons and the American College of Emergency Physicians, two major organizations.  Representatives from both Colleges recently met at the ASSH headquarters in Chicago.  I look forward to seeing what this collaboration will bring.  Thank you to Scott Levin, Scott Lifchez, MD, and Tolga Turker, MD for representing the Hand Society in this new partnership.

ASSH Textbook of Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery
In 2009, ASSH set out to create its own textbook, an idea that originated with Ed Akelman, MD.  Soon the concept grew to include not only a traditional textbook but also an online platform that could expand access and portability, and perhaps more importantly, allow for new and updated content to be made available to readers on a regular basis.  

The ASSH Textbook, edited by Drs. Weiss, Goldfarb, Hentz, Raven, Slutsky and Steinmann, was published in late 2013, and all purchasers have access to the mobile-friendly platform.  At the meeting, Council approved an exciting and aggressive editorial plan for updating the Textbook.  Drs. Peter Weiss, Chuck Goldfarb, Ray Raven, Jeff Budoff and Ryan Calfee were approved as an on-going editorial team that will roll out regular updates to the platform over the next year.  

We are incredibly proud of the ASSH Textbook platform as a living document that will encompass the entire curriculum of hand and upper extremity surgery and continue to deliver value to users.  We are also grateful for the dedication of our editorial team.  If you haven’t yet, visit textbook.assh.org to check it out.  

Many of you are already active on the new Hand-e, our recently launched online learning platform that brings you endless educational material right to your computer, tablet and phone.  With the help of Hand-e Editor Dan Zlotolow, MD, and his team of content editors, Hand-e will continue to forever progress.  Council approved additional funds during our meeting to give the editorial and staff teams the resources to move forward with numerous enhancements.  These anticipated features will greatly improve your experience, allowing you – for example – to include the Journal of Hand Surgery in your www.assh.org search results.  In the meantime, look for additional content to be posted on Hand-e.  Dan, along with Hand-e Work Group members Ed Akelman, MD, Michael Hausman, MD, and Ray Raven, MD, are working hard to provide you with such comprehensive material.

Practice Division: Multi-lingual products and outcomes data
This year, as we welcome the Brazilian Hand Society to our Annual Meeting, accept fellows from nine different countries to our Traveling Fellows Program, and process nearly 100 applications for International Membership, it’s clear that our international relationships are growing stronger each year.  This is why Council approved the new translation initiative proposed by the Diversity Committee, led by Charles Day, MD.  In the coming months, the Diversity Committee will partner with the Public Education Committee, led by Steve Lee, MD, to offer our most popular patient education materials in Spanish, which our research has shown to be the most commonly spoken language amongst our international contacts.  These new bilingual offerings will allow Spanish-speaking patients to better understand their hand symptoms and conditions.

Also happening in the busy Practice Division is the creation of a new Task Force that will explore the possibility of an outcomes database.  A database, which was originally proposed by the 2013 Mid-Career Leaders, would provide evidence to demonstrate quality and value in hand surgery.  Practice Division Director Dave Ruch, MD, will lead this process in conjunction with the Surgery of the Hand Outcomes Workgroup and Research Division Director Kevin Chung, MD.  I wish the new Task Force much luck as they explore this important but difficult issue.



There’s no doubt that ASSH leaders and members have enough projects and content to keep busy leading up to Annual Meeting.  I look forward to making this year’s meeting better and more innovative than ever before.  Join us in Boston, September 18-20, for the 69th Annual Meeting of the ASSH!


Scott H. Kozin, MD

President, American Society for Surgery of the Hand