President's Message - January, 2020
To say the least, 2020 was an uncommon year. However, the CSRS was extremely fortunate to have an uncommon leader, Rick Sasso, lead us as President during this unprecedented storm. To guide our society amidst the chaos and uncertainty of a once-in-a-hundred-year pandemic required uncommon flexibility, vision, and wisdom. I want to personally thank Rick for his deft leadership skills and congratulate him for bringing our society to even greater heights, despite the immense challenges of the pandemic.
Here is just a partial of list of Dr. Sasso’s accomplishments as President in 2020:
- He established the first CSRS Cadaver Course designed and held independently by our society. Slated for July 2021, this course will allow Spine Fellows and Residents the opportunity to learn from world-renowned CSRS faculty, completely free of charge. Look for applications soon, and encourage your trainees to apply to this flagship event.
- He established a new CSRS Spinal Cord Injury Research Grant. This grant will support research on disorders specifically affecting the cervical spinal cord (myelopathy, traumatic injury, etc). In addition to our existing 21 Century, Seed-Starter, and Resident-Fellow Grants, this new CSRS grant to be offered for the first time in 2021 will ensure that our society continues to fund the highest quality cervical spine research. Look for the call for submissions soon.
- He developed the No Strike Out Protocol to prevent complications of airway obstruction after anterior cervical surgery. This potentially life-saving protocol provides step by step instructions on how to manage a patient with airway complications following anterior surgery. It is available on the CSRS website and should be studied by anyone taking care of cervical spine patients – not just cervical spine surgeons but also anesthesiologists and nursing personnel.
- In conjunction with Michael Daubs and Andrew Dailey (Annual Meeting Co-Chairs), as well as Michael Gerling (ICL Chair), ran a hugely successful virtual meeting for the first time in CSRS history. I would also like to recognize the tremendous work of Denise Lemke, our Executive Manager, and Lindsey Groves Sausser, our Manager, in making the meeting such a success.
I am extremely proud of Rick’s accomplishments for our society and offer him our sincere gratitude. I look forward to building on his momentum. Our goals in 2021 will be to further expand upon our role as THE global research and educational leader on the cervical spine. In order to do this, we will embark this year on three specific outreach initiatives:
- We will establish the Patient Guide to Treatment Options for Cervical Spine Conditions. Authored by the Special Projects Committee, this will be available as a link on our revamped website and delineate, at a patient level, reasonable treatment options for common conditions such as neck pain, radiculopathy, and myelopathy. It will provide honest, reliable information to patients looking for reputable on-line information. Once this guide is established on our website later this year, we will ask our member surgeons to direct their patients to this site so that they can confidently receive treatment information options from the authoritative source on cervical spine.
- We will establish a social media presence for the CSRS in order to reach even more surgeons, both here and worldwide. This initiative will also be a convenient way for our members who use social media to keep abreast of important occurrences and events affecting our society. Stay tuned for our upcoming accounts on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- We will establish an On-line Video Archive of CSRS Talks. Year after year, the high quality symposia, instructional course, and debates presented by our world-renowned cervical spine experts are amongst the most valued aspects of our Annual Meeting and ICL. This year, we will archive these talks on-line on our website, searchable by topic, keyword, or speaker. We believe that this archive will be an invaluable educational resource going forward for any surgeon in the world looking for expert information when wrestling with decisions to make regarding a cervical spine problem.
As you can see, we have an ambitious agenda of new initiatives to reach out to new constituents who can benefit from our knowledge, and to increase our already considerable sphere of influence on the cervical spine.
In addition to these new initiatives, we will continue to focus on our existing foundational activities which comprise the core activities of our society. The annual research grant and abstract submission cycles will kick off soon – please be on the lookout for them.
Our next Annual Meeting and ICL will run from Dec 1-4, 2021, in the great city of Atlanta, my hometown. At this point, we are planning for a full, in-person meeting. Steve Ludwig and Sam Cho will be Annual Meeting Co-Chairs, and Neil Wright and Brian Kwon will be ICL Co-Chairs. They will create an incredible meeting. Please save those dates, mark your calendars, and plan to join us – you will not be disappointed!
Finally, I am truly humbled to be entrusted with the keys to this amazing society. To me, the CSRS has always been the premier spine organization. I will do my best to hold on to all the things that make our society and meetings amongst the greatest and most prestigious in the world, while at the same time, look for opportunities to further leverage who we are for the advancement of cervical spine research and education worldwide. Please partner with me and contact me with any suggestions, comments, or concerns you may have. I look forward to an amazing year for the CSRS. Thank you for the tremendous honor of serving as President.
John Rhee, MD