The Corporate Advisory Council (CAC) has recently evolved following advances achieved through industry interaction by the ASSH Commercial Support Committee (CSC). The mission of the CAC is to promote the advancement of upper extremity surgery through physician and industry cooperation.
Although the CSC was formed in 2001, it wasn't until the 2000 Combined Meeting of the American and Japanese Societies for Surgery of the Hand in Hawaii that it began to take an active role. Previously, the Combined Meeting had run in the red, and our mission was to make it a "break-even event."
By soliciting corporate sponsorship for the meeting – including the very first set of Product Demonstration Workshops (PDWs) – the efforts of the CSC helped the meeting not only break even but actually generate significant funds, which have since provided seed money for traveling fellowships, allowing young Japanese surgeons to visit centers in the United States.
This cooperative venture between the ASSH and industry did not go unnoticed and spurred the evolution of similar coordinated efforts between the ASSH and industry partners to fund our Annual Meeting.
Building on this positive relationship with industry, ASSH leadership recognized the potential for ethical cooperation at higher levels to meet our goals of enhancing education, research and the practice of upper extremity surgery through greater cooperation at the highest levels with our industry leaders.
Necessary and Beneficial
The ASSH and AFSH leadership realizes that a collaborative relationship with industry is both necessary and beneficial for the future of medicine. Industry relies on us for medical expertise, and our members rely on industry for product innovation and to improve patient care. The Corporate Advisory Council was developed to uniquely position members of ASSH and AFSH leadership together with key leaders from industry to find working solutions to real problems faced by surgeons providing hand and upper extremity care.
The CAC mission is to promote the advancement of upper extremity surgery through cooperation between physicians and industry partners in a transparent and ethical fashion. To do this, we have worked to coordinate efforts of pre-eminent surgeons and industry leaders in the field of upper extremity surgery to collaborate on all aspects, including medical, governmental, business, and public education. The goal of this collaboration was to facilitate thoughtful decision-making in research and education in our field to continually improve the quality of care for all patients.
The CAC's goals are: promote transparent and ethical relationships between industry and upper extremity surgeons; collaborate on increasing public awareness of the field of upper extremity surgery; communicate goals and strategies for success at the ASSH Annual Meeting, thereby structuring these meetings to be mutually beneficial to the members of the Hand Society and the industry partners that support them; and to share thoughts and ideas regarding the future of continuing medical education.
CAC membership includes the Presidential line of the ASSH, the AFSH President, the ASSH Corporate Advisory Council Chair, the ASSH Commercial Support Committee Chair, and the highest-level executives of our leading industry partners including: Acumed, Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Biomet, DePuy, Integra, Medartis, OsteoMed, Small Bone Innovations, Stryker, Wright Medical Technology, and Zimmer.'Ten Commandments'
These industry participants have demonstrated the ability to and interest in supporting the CAC mission and strategic goals. In the three short years that the CAC has been in existence, it has already made significant achievements. The evolution of our credo for appropriate society and industry collaborative behavior was established (The "Ten Commandments
" for Ethical Collaboration Between Industry and the ASSH) and was released in December 2009. These "Ten Commandments" represent not only a clear set of guidelines for our relationship with industry, they also have been recognized as a model for all professional societies as they interact with their corporate partners.
During our CAC meetings – which occur twice a year, preceding ASSH Council meetings – we have developed mechanisms for discussing and exploring areas of common interest. It has been made clear that industry, as well as the ASSH, need member feedback from you, the leaders in hand and upper extremity surgery to provide direction for research and development within our specialty.
In 2010, we developed our first market research survey covering the frequency of hand conditions seen by ASSH Active Members and gathered important data about dissatisfaction with treatment options available. We received a one-third response rate (higher than any commercially solicited market research survey could possibly achieve), a demonstration of our ability to gather valuable information to guide research and development initiatives.
Industry has demonstrated its interest in working with us to expand graduate medical education, as evidenced by the fact that three of our corporate partners have committed funds to support our initiative for the expanded two-year upper extremity fellowship initiative, allowing us to fund inaugural "beta-site" complete upper extremity fellowship programs.
Through a cooperative effort by the CAC in 2010 at the ASSH Annual Meeting, a symposium was presented on "The Relationship between Industry and Hand Surgery
" which was well attended by our membership and included leadership of the ASSH and corporate representatives of the CAC. Subsequently, we published a paper on the ethics of professional society and industry collaboration titled "Crossroads: the intersection of personal, professional society and industry relationships" (St. Louis University Press).
Hitting the Road
This past year, the CAC made a proposal to the ASSH Council to expand upon the highly successful product demonstration workshops – which take place at our Annual Meeting – and develop a "traveling corporate road show." The proposal was accepted, and through the corporate road show, the ASSH will provide access to hands-on demonstration workshops in regional facilities throughout the country. This will give ASSH members and future members access to new technology, taught by our members who are champions of the technology.
Our plan for the next five years is to further develop and refine our market research initiative to find out from you, our members, what direction research should be focused. We will explore areas of need for solutions. Through industry and physician focus groups, we will try to pair members with interest in innovation with industry partners that are capable of fostering such innovation.
As we move forward, we will be working with industry partners to continue to expand funding of upper extremity fellowships. Our discussions with industry have also led to scholarship funding for residents and fellows to attend our Annual Meeting. Through our collaboration with industry, we've gone from being able to provide $1,500 scholarships to a handful of residents and fellows to being able this past year to fund 50 residents and fellows each for $1,500.
Our industry partners recognize the importance of nurturing our emerging leaders, and they have done so by supporting our Young Leaders forum.
We will continue to develop market research initiatives to get your input and combine them with industry capability. All members of the CAC, your ASSH leadership and AFSH leadership are committed to seeing that the CAC continues to enhance the future of Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery.
The leadership of the ASSH encourages member involvement. To that end, the Commercial Support Committee is interested in any and all feedback you can give us regarding our efforts through the CAC.
William H. Seitz
Chair, Corporate Advisory Council