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 Presidential Update 12/07

Steven Glickel, MD
December 20, 2007

The purpose of this report is to inform you of what was discussed at our most recent Council meetings held on December 7th and 8th. Decisions were made in several important areas:
Research Program

To continue upgrading our research efforts and funding, the Council spent significant agenda time discussing several matters related to improving and enhancing the efficacy of Hand Society sponsored research.  To that end, we met with Kurt Spindler, MD, Vice Chairman of Orthopaedics at Vanderbilt University, regarding -the ways in which he has initiated and conducted multicenter clinical cohort research studies.  Dr. Spindler talked about his experiences setting up the MOON (Multicenter Orthopedic Outcomes Network) and MARS groups concerning knee reconstruction. He pointed out the “good,” the “bad” and the “ugly” aspects of doing this type of research and offered very constructive recommendations on how to create, fund, and conduct successful multicenter cohort studies.

James Chang, MD, Director of Research, presented two new research program opportunities. One is the Hand Surgery Scientist Award, which will be announced in late 2008 and awarded in late 2009.  The goal is to sponsor a young hand surgeon researcher to participate in the NIH surgeon scientist program.  The other award approved was the Contribution to Hand Surgery Award, to be given to a “mid career” researcher for outstanding contributions to research in hand surgery. The idea is to have an annual unrestricted award, presented at the ASSH annual meeting with a keynote lecture. Both of these awards would provide an incentive for initiating and continuing hand related research.

Affiliate Membership Task Force
Thanks to the work of this task force, led by Tom Trumble, MD, Council approved, in concept, the creation of an affiliate membership category for allied health professionals. Allied health professionals who specialize in hand and upper extremity care (i.e. hand therapists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners etc.) see the Hand Society as providing the highest quality and most advanced educational offerings in the field of hand and upper extremity surgery. This membership category is one way we can be more inclusive of those colleagues who contribute so significantly to the care of our patients. Final details of this membership category will be considered and acted upon by Council at the May 2008 meeting. 
Corporate Relations Task Force

Based on recommendations from the Corporate Relations Task Force, Council also approved a new Corporate Support Policy, to ensure ethical decision making and avoid conflicts of interest in ASSH interactions with industry. The policy lays out provisions for CME programs, use of the ASSH name and logo, and terms of accepting corporate support, among others. Also approved were the Commercial Support Guidelines for acknowledging significant corporate contributions.
Council also voted to develop a Corporate Advisory Board, which would create a forum for the exchange of ideas between ASSH, AFSH and industry leaders. ASSH and AFSH will benefit from such a council through stronger relationships with corporate partners, access to corporate decisions makers for promoting programs, and a forum for discussing standards of ethical conduct. 

Education Division Report
Edward Akelman, MD presented a plan for activities of the Education Division. He is in the process of reviewing all of the ASSH educational products and committees and developing a five year strategic plan for publications, courses and digital and other educational offerings. He will develop methods for increasing our efficiency in these endeavors, avoiding duplication of member effort in the production of courses and publications, and overlap of the work of committees within the division. He plans to create an education council made up of key education division committee chairs to oversee program and product planning.
Member Relations Report

In order to assess member benefits, participation, and how well members feel they are being served by the ASSH, I asked Andy Koman, MD to chair a task force on Member Relations. His group is in the process of developing a methodology for quantitatively as well as qualitatively assessing existing and proposed products.  On a periodic basis, perhaps yearly, one-third of the members’ programs and benefits should undergo careful scrutiny. Ideally, whoever creates the program should recommend a review schedule and measures of success. The group also recommended that, at a minimum, members should be surveyed every three years. The task force will continue its work assessing how members value our products and programs to develop recommendations for new member benefits at the May Council meeting.

Follow up on Capital Campaign
Terry Light, MD joined our meeting and presented an update on the progress of the Future in Hand Capital Campaign. Over $2.6 million has been committed by the ASSH, its members and corporate partners since the campaign was launched, and it continues to gain momentum. Based on the initial very favorable response, Council decided to increase the goal of the campaign to $5 million to be reached by the end of 2010.
Young Leaders Program

The 2007 Young Leaders Program was a great success. This was the fourth class of Young Leaders to learn strategic decision-making and share their thoughts with Council. The class was divided into three subgroups to analyze and make recommendations for the topics of public awareness and education, CME in the age of cyber communications, and advocacy. The young leaders took part in the Saturday Council meeting, participating in discussion of several strategic issues under Council consideration. A number of their recommendations will likely be implemented in the following months.

Ethics and Professionalism Task Force
Ghazi Rayan, MD chaired a task force on Ethics and Professionalism charged with developing a Code of Ethical Conduct for members delineating standards for the ethical practice of hand surgery. Council approved a list of recommendations including the establishment of a comprehensive “Ethics and Professionalism Educational Program” designed to foster and promote ethical principles among its members, and to consider the establishment of a standing “Ethics and Professionalism Committee” to ensure that the Society’s ethical standards are being met. They will develop a specific Code of Ethics and Professionalism to be presented at the May Council Meeting.

Electronic Education Task Force
Michael Hausman, MD chaired this task force which was asked to investigate the creation of several web communication vehicles to promote awareness and information about hand surgery in response to the growing amount of people looking for medical information via the Internet. Council members discussed the group’s findings thus far and are continuing to formulate a plan of action.