Steven Glickel, MD
May 30, 2008
The recent Council meeting on May 23 and 24 resulted in numerous discussions and decisions about important issues for the Society. Here is a brief recap to keep you up to date.
Ethics and Professionalism
Ethics has been at the forefront of medicine in recent years and is part of the theme of the upcoming Chicago Annual Meeting. In an effort to keep ASSH moving forward, I created the Ethics and Professionalism Task Force last year and asked Ghazi Rayan, MD to lead this important work. At our recent meeting, Ghazi gave a comprehensive overview of various organizations’ ethics policies, and he presented the task force’s recommendation to adopt a Code of Ethics and Professionalism for Hand Surgery.
The code outlined thirteen standards that we expect our members and other hand surgeons uphold throughout the various elements of their professional conduct. The Council enthusiastically approved the new Code. Its adoption is a great step towards educating our new members and the public about our high standards of conduct.
Education Director Edward Akelman, MD, presented Council with the Education Division’s strategic plan to revitalize the functioning and processes of our courses and publications and to create greater cohesion between these two important educational components. Both the publication group and courses group will be creating three year timelines to coordinate their efforts. Kevin Chung, MD led a course planning task force that worked extensively to plan our future courses and better integrate content with our publications. Andy Lee, MD led another task force that worked on the publications (e.g., books and DVDs) side of our educational offerings. Both Kevin and Andy worked closely with Dr. Akelman to lay out a vision for the next three years, and equally important they are creating a methodology to closely coordinate the requests that courses and publications make of our members. Member feedback generates content that becomes the basis of our future education. In addition, the Central Office has been considering ways to streamline the publication process to make it easier on editors and improve cost effectiveness.
We will soon be welcoming a new category of members to ASSH! After approving this new membership type in concept last December, the Affiliate Membership Task Force, led by Thomas Trumble, MD, set to work on the details and presented a comprehensive series of recommendations at the meeting. Pending members’ approval of the necessary bylaws changes, licensed allied healthcare professionals with a recommendation letter from one of our active members will be eligible to apply and enjoy various membership benefits , including Journal of Hand Surgery¸ the Membership Directory, access to the members-only portion of the website, and the opportunity to serve on Hand Society committees. We look forward to publicizing this exciting opportunity later this summer. .
Based on feedback we received from those participating in the Young Leadership Program last December, it was clear that advocacy was a topic of interest to many of our new and younger members. In the early 2008, I asked Dan Nagle, MD to chair a task force whose purpose was to assess the advocacy opportunities that are currently available to our members and determine if ASSH should become more active in this area. I also appointed some of our young leadership to participate on this task force and voice opinions about future advocacy efforts. The background paper on this topic is available on our website (insert link). In addition, we invited Andy Gurman, MD, a member who is currently Vice Speaker of the AMA House of Delegates, to help provide a realistic perspective about successfully advancing the cause of physicians. Dr. Gurman urged that we must educate ourselves about the issues and build personal relationships through visits with our representatives and their staff. It is clear that for the voice of hand surgeons to be heard, we must partner with other organizations in the house of medicine.
With the Capital Campaign in full swing, we engaged in a discussion about the future leadership structure of the American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand. Last fall, I asked Bob Szabo, MD to chair a work group that included the President of our Foundation, Anne Miller, MD. I asked Bob and Anne to look for ways to make the work of the Foundation more impactful and to ensure that we retained the energy, commitment and leadership that the Future in Hand campaign is generating among members and in the field. The AFSH task force recommended expanding the board of the AFSH by adding new officers to help develop future strategy and to build upon the initial success of the capital campaign. The new board structure will feature a Chair and Vice Chair who will set the vision of the AFSH and work hand-in-hand with the AFSH President who will see to the day-to-day operations and attend Council meetings. We believe a combination of senior leaders in the field and those in mid-career is the best blend of leadership for the Foundation. We are confident that this new structure will invigorate the Foundation and lead to continued success.
The Society has enjoyed steady financial success in recent years, due in no small part to the hard work of our members and staff. With this success comes an opportunity to consider our long-term investment strategy. We currently use a passive investment policy, allowing our assets to reap the general benefits of the market through investment in indexed mutual funds. We also save considerably on fees with this type of investment management.
Now that our assets have grown, I have created a task force, chaired by our Treasurer, Thomas Trumble, MD, to assess our current asset allocation and consider the possibility of moving to an active investment policy. In an active model, we would rely on managers to continually reassess our investments and optimize returns. Council is looking forward to hearing the task force’s report on this matter in September.
There are a lot of exciting new initiatives underway at the Hand Society, and we truly appreciate your continued support.
Steven Glickel, MD