Robert M. Szabo, MD, MPH
June 7, 2010
The ASSH Council recently spent a few days in California’s beautiful wine country for our spring meeting. It was a great setting for our vigorous discussions about the extensive and exciting agenda. Here is a brief recap of the highlights from our meeting.
Progress on Expanding and Enhancing Education Initiative & Spectrum of Upper Extremity Education (SHUE) Curriculum
The Hand Society continues to explore ways to improve hand surgery training. At this meeting, James Chang, MD and Marty Boyer, MD presented the astoundingly comprehensive work of the Enhancing Education Task Force. First, Jim presented the group’s 300 page document, outlining proposed competency-based goals and objectives for a two-year fellowship and five and six-year integrated residencies. Marty then discussed their efforts to outline the entire body of knowledge in surgery of the hand in an initiative to be entitled SHUE – Spectrum of Hand and Upper Extremity Education. In the coming weeks, we will release more information about this effort and its potential impact on our specialty.
To support these efforts, we must understand the knowledge and skills necessary for competent hand surgery practice and determine the responsibilities and activities of hand surgeons. The last time comprehensive data was collected in this area was 1986, so Council approved a “Scope of Hand Surgery” survey to collect data that will be crucial in building a comprehensive training program. We are excited about this progress and deeply appreciative of the immense effort put forth by Jim, Marty, and the entire team.
Combined Upper Extremity Fellowship and GME Funding
Steve Glickel, MD joined Council to discuss a proposed pilot program for a combined two-year fellowship with the Shoulder and Elbow Society. Along with increased training comes the need for increased funding. Council also explored GME funding options, and voted to partner with existing organizations and also ask the AFSH to become a home for the collection and dispersal of GME funds. I appointed Marty Boyer, MD to chair a task force to further explore the implementation of a two-year fellowship and develop a plan of action for soliciting industry funding for this initiative.
Improving Online Technologies
The Hand Society takes great pride in using technology to become more efficient while increasing your member value. Our newest initiative is to improve the online membership directory, including better search mechanisms, new options for displaying the results, and various reports for you and your patients. Watch for improvements later this year. Council also asked staff to explore the requirements and feasibility of developing an online version of the Self-Assessment Exam. Their findings will be considered at the October Council meeting.
Military Task Force
Alexander Shin, MD, chair of the Military Task Force, reported on his attendance with L. Andrew Koman, MD at the 2009 SOMOS (Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons) meeting. While there, they announced the creation of the Military Surgeon-Scientist Research Grant and informed attendees about discounts available to Active duty military on ASSH products, meetings and membership dues. Our support and initiatives were well received by attendees. Council also approved three new scholarships for military surgeons to cover Annual Meeting registration, travel, and lodging. These outreach efforts are essential and ongoing, and I am pleased to announce the creation of a standing Military Relations Committee, chaired by Eric Hofmeister, MD, USN and Andy Koman, MD.
Program Advisory Group
The Program Advisory Group, created in 2008, evaluates all ASSH programs over a three-year cycle to assure that we are utilizing our resources effectively. Last year’s review resulted in nearly $28,000 in savings. In its second year, the Program Advisory group members, Dan Nagle, MD, Bobby Chhabra, MD and myself, reviewed 28 programs. All of the programs we reviewed this year are contributing in great ways to our mission, and after rich discussion, we recommended a few program improvements to enhance education, to utilize ever advancing technology and to increase our local and global impact.
Corporate Advisory Council
The Corporate Advisory Council held its fourth meeting to continue the dialogue between physicians and industry representatives in a transparent and ethical fashion. Praising the Hand Society’s capacity for collecting and organizing our membership data, our industry partners suggested that we could fill a void in the market for valuable research. Based on these conversations, the Society will investigate options for offering our existing and future market research to our industry partners, guided, of course, by the principles of our Ten Commandments for Ethical Relationships.
Meanwhile, the ER Hand Care Task Force, chaired by Scott Levin, MD has been hard at work communicating with the American College of Surgeons (ACS) in an effort to standardize hand trauma care and mandates in the Green Book. Scott has made some fantastic headway through member and trauma center surveys. The next step will be to write a white paper based on this data to present to ACS which will further facilitate discussion about future change to the Green Book.
Jim Chang, MD and the Research Management Committee have been quite busy over the past several months with various new research initiatives. Most excitingly, Council approved their request for the ASSH to submit its very first NIH grant on behalf of the Surgery of the Hand Outcomes Workgroup (SHOW). This is a tremendous opportunity for the ASSH to centralize future multi-center trials and allow future Research Directors to oversee the administrations of grants.