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Winter Council Meeting Highlights From President Lee

Presidential Update 12/11

W. P. Andrew Lee, MD
W. P. Andrew Lee, MD
December 31, 2011


Your ASSH Council had a vigorous and productive discussion in its meeting earlier this month, which was further enriched by the participation of our Young Leaders on the second day. I am pleased to provide the following summary of the Council meeting highlights.

Task Forces

Last summer, I led the creation of the ASSH Identity Task Force and the Member Engagement Task Force. The two task forces were established to help examine who we are and who we should be, to improve the volunteer experience, and to ensure that advancement and selection of leadership are transparent and effective. Both groups made significant progress over the summer and fall months and reported their recommendations to Council at this meeting.

ASSH Identity Task Force

The members of the ASSH Identity Task Force, chaired by Steven Z. Glickel, MD, met face-to-face this past November, following a series of subgroup conference calls. They discussed means to involve a larger segment of our membership in volunteer activities, including those in private practice. The task force recommended a "new member boot camp" orientation that outlines opportunities for involvement, as well as the development of a mid-career leadership program. The Council also accepted its recommendation to make the criteria and application for the division directors more open and available, with listing of non-academic and other service activities. Finally, a Private Practice Committee will be created to promote issues most pertinent to our private practice members.

With the goals of enhancing transparency and encouraging participation by all ASSH members, Dr. Glickel’s group proposed a number of changes to the Nominating Committee and process. We had a spirited discussion and have asked that the task force continue to refine its recommendations and present a final report at the May 2012 Council meeting. Our goal is to have a more transparent and accountable nominating process in the future.

Member Engagement Task Force

The Member Engagement Task Force, led by Scott Kozin, MD, explored means to enhance volunteer participation in the work and governance of the Hand Society. The group was charged with determining how to optimize member experience to better engage interested individuals and how to reach out to those who are not currently engaged. With this goal in mind, the Task Force recommended exploring ways of matching volunteer interests with appropriate committees. Specific suggestions were approved by the Council to refine the committee application and evaluation process, which will be adopted by the next Committee Advisory Group (CAG), under President-Elect Edward Akelman, MD, to enhance member understanding of our governance structure and promote effective leadership. Finally, qualitative interviews of members currently not involved in volunteer activities will be conducted in order to understand any existing hurdles and broaden member participation.

The First ASSH Clinical Mobile App
Based on the success of the Annual Meeting mobile app, Education Division Director Alex Shin, MD, proposed the first ASSH clinical mobile app – on the treatment of distal radius fractures – with functionalities including video and images, a decision-tree algorithm, and links to references. App development is a logical extension of Hand Society publications as a new and flexible way to share valuable clinical content. Based on Dr. Shin's proposal, Council approved an initial budget to explore the creation of the clinical mobile app. Council also charged the Information Technology Advisory Group (ITAG) with conducting a thorough investigation into the long-term strategic plan for mobile content and applications.

Coming Soon: The JHS iPad App

In an effort to remain current in the digital age, our JHS publisher, Elsevier, is in the process of developing a platform to provide existing print subscribers with JHS content through an iPad app – a service that will be offered at no cost to ASSH members. The reader will be able to download a free JHS app that allows content search of the three most recent JHS issues. Council authorized staff to work with Elsevier to develop the necessary platforms to create this app, currently targeted for mid-2012.

The Robert A. Chase, MD, Library

I am pleased to announce that the multimedia resource library in the Hand Society's new home will be dedicated to 1983-84 ASSH President, Robert A. Chase, MD. This tribute recognizes Dr. Chase's lifelong dedication to innovative education and research, as well as his desire to reach as broad an audience as possible to advance hand surgery and the teaching of upper limb anatomy. The new library will be a resource for the study of the hand and upper limb. It will house scholarly archives and multimedia, as well as valuable collections related to the history and discipline of hand surgery. To date, more than $450,000 has been pledged. We are grateful to Amy Ladd, MD, for leading this project, and to James Chang, MD, Peter Weiss, MD, and Rod Hentz, MD, for their involvement and contributions.

Two-Year Fellowship & HULFG Review Board

In January 2011, a non-conflicted review board – the Hand and Upper Limb Fellowship Grant Review Board – was appointed by ASSH Council. The board was charged with selecting the initial sites that would be participating in the pilot two-year fellowship program. Appointees include Fred Fakharzadeh, MD, Chair (AFSH President); David Lichtman, MD (RRC Member); John Seiler, MD (Former ABOS Chair); and Donald Lalonde, MD (ABPS Chair). Having received nine applications, the AFSH and ASSH are pleased to announce that four programs were selected as recipients of the first ASSH/AFSH Hand and Upper Limb Fellowship Grant (HULFG): Columbia, Stanford, Philadelphia Hand Center, and Cleveland Clinic. The fellowship grant provides partial funding for a second year of fellowship training in upper extremity surgery, to complement a year of an accredited fellowship in hand surgery.

2011 ASSH Young Leaders

Council was joined by 14 of the ASSH Young Leaders. Using the strategic decision-making skills taught by consultant Cate Bower, CAE, they tackled three mega issues: creating digital core curriculum in hand and upper extremity education; developing ASSH mobile applications with embedded and customizable content; and designing patient education templates using the latest technology. It became apparent to the Council from their presentations and subsequent discussion that the insights and perspectives offered by the Young Leaders were exceedingly valuable in our future educational strategy. We are grateful for their enthusiastic participation and look forward to working with them as ASSH task force and committee members.

Inclusion, Engagement, Innovation

The productivity of the Council meeting is evident in the large number of follow-up action items. My goals for this year have been inclusion, engagement, and innovation. They have been reflected in the Council deliberation and endeavor to date, and I look forward to keeping you updated in the coming months on our progress.


W. P. Andrew Lee, MD
ASSH President
© 2014 American Society for Surgery of the Hand