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 Presidential Update 06/06

David M. Lichtman, MD
June 8, 2006

The ASSH Council recently spent a few days at The Sea Ranch, CA, located on the isolated and beautiful coast of Northern California.  As a part time resident of the Sea Ranch community, Frankie and I have enjoyed “living gently on the land” (their motto) while watching the seal pups and their mothers bask on a near-by protected beach.  This idyllic setting provided the perfect environment for a Council meeting packed with important and thoughtful deliberations about the future of hand surgery and about the ways the Hand Society can best serve the needs of our members and patients.

Evolving Vision
Three active task forces--the Scope of Practice and Practice Success Task Forces and the Continuing Medical Education (CME) Work group---continued the work begun last summer by our long range planning group (the 2020 Vision Task Force).  Council accepted the recommendations of W.P. (Andy) Lee, chair of the Scope of Practice Task Force, to carefully expand the educational curriculum in the upper extremity, to offer superior course content through collaboration with peer societies (e.g., ASES) and to open new partnerships to build knowledge in overlapping upper extremity areas.  While we intend to keep the Hand Society focused on the hand and wrist, we will also begin to carefully expand the practice scope, beginning first with educational offerings. 

The Council endorsed many of the recommendations of Steve Glickel, chair of the Practice Success Task Force.  One of the initiatives proposed is the creation of a Business of Hand Surgery online email newsletter that will advise members on practice management issues.  We will be nudging former President Denny Phelps out of Council retirement to work on this informative new online newsletter.  Another approved project is the creation of an online electronic searchable database that will share members’ opinions and reviews of the electronic medical record (EMR) database services for members (a kind of electronic Angie’s list for EMRs). 

During the past few months, the CME Work group, chaired by Richard Gelberman, collected considerable data on CME best practices from ASSH members and from our peer CME awarding organizations.  Council voted to support all the recommendations of this work group, including charging the Courses and Meetings Advisory Committee (CMAC) to be   proactive in creating courses that align with members’ interests, to develop a white paper on CME best practices and to coordinate course scheduling while avoiding undue competition and repetition. 

Decisions to Reach out and Lead
Building leadership in our society and expanding our international vision came up on several occasions at the meeting.  Julie A. Katarincic, co-chair of the Diversity Task Force reported on our recent results of the diversity survey.  Council will be supporting this task force in their initiatives to raise awareness about Hand Society involvement and leadership targeted specifically toward women and members from cultural and racial minority groups.  Council voted to approve the Young Leadership program for a third strait year. It will be held from November 30 – December 2nd in conjunction with next December’s Council meeting.  Active and Candidate members who have been in practice for fewer than 8 years may apply for this invaluable leadership development program.  Council also extended its continued support of La Federacion de Mano, a collegial organization of North American, Central American and Caribbean hand societies.  

Membership
Based on the results of several recent surveys, Council was updated on the value members place on the various projects, products and non-tangible elements (e.g., collegiality) of ASSH membership.  The results shed additional light on the products and services that are most useful, so that they may receive high priority for future funding.  An educated prediction of demographic changes to ASSH membership, as baby boomers retire and possibly retire early, was shared with Council as well.  Planning for this population shift will begin to take priority in the coming years.

Moving Forward
With Council approval, President-elect Gelberman announced the chairs of the committees and task forces for his presidential year.  Dr. Gelberman will initiate four new task forces in his presidential year; the Governance Task Force, chaired by Tom Trumble; the Research Task Force chaired by Kevin Chung; the Resident Education Curriculum Task Force chaired by Martin Boyer; and the Maintenance of Certification Task Force chaired by Vice President Steve Glickel.  Council discussed and approved a comprehensive report written by Ghazi M. Rayan, chair of the Self Assessment Exam Task Force.  Ghazi’s recommendations will greatly enhance the quality of the Self Assessment Exam.  Bob Szabo will chair the restructured Self Assessment Committee starting this fall.

As always, I am open to your feedback; you can email me directly at dlichtma@jpshealth.org

Summer will be here soon.  Try to spend some quality time with friends and family and remember to live gently on the land…Dave