Welcome to ASIA! As we gather for our 2018 annual scientific meeting, I think it is a good idea to review the past year and to lay out goals and plans for the coming one. As always, ASIA’s success is a product of its wonderful member volunteer work force along with the great efforts of our Executive Director, Patty Duncan, and that of our management company, Ruggles, especially Carolyn Moffatt, who really works hand in glove with Patty. I cannot thank enough the executive committee board officers, the board members, our numerous committee leaders and members, and our rank and file association members for all they do for our organization and for our field. As I expressed in my presidential message last year, I view ASIA as the leading force that brings together all ends of the SCI professional spectrum, from acute to chronic care and from basic and translational research to clinical trials and practice. I also see ASIA as the leading organization engaged in designing the SCI Medicine of the future. When Wayne Gretzky was asked how he became such a great hockey player, he answered that he skated not to where the puck was, but rather to where the puck was going. I believe ASIA is doing the same thing.
Our Program Committee has put together a fantastic annual meeting with several new features. Our pre-course is on non-traumatic myelopathy and is presented by faculty from the Mayo Clinic. This is a unique opportunity for ASIA members to learn about inflammatory, nutritional/metabolic, vascular, and oncology related myelopathy as well as about recent progress in imaging, surgery and stem cell research. Mayo is hosting an opening reception that evening. At the main meeting, attendees will be able to choose their own program or follow one of the provided “meeting tracks” that identifies related content over the course of the meeting in the areas of Research, Pediatrics, Pain, Surgery/Spine/Acute Care, Rehab Medicine, Rehab Therapy, as well as a “Newcomer to ASIA” track. The meeting contains offerings from SCOPE and Steel, ASIA’s affiliates, and several courses from our committees, including Education, Rehab Standards, Research and Awards, Spine and Acute Care, and International Standards. Once again, our meeting abstracts will be published in Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation. Our Membership Committee will continue its mentoring program this year, adding a “Coffee with the Professor” morning session. This year’s meeting will also see the first presentation of the Mulcahey and Translational Research and/or Human Neuroscience Studies (TRoHNS) Awards, and we will meet the inaugural class of Fellows of the American Spinal Injury Association (FASIA).
As for our meeting plans in 2019, we were unfortunately unable to synchronize calendars and agendas with other societies and so we will be holding our own “SCI Summit” the first week in April in Honolulu, Hawaii! At that meeting we will emphasize the current state of the science, spanning topics from preclinical research to human studies to clinical practice incorporating more about underutilized technologies from imaging to electrophysiology and include time for an expanded neuromodulation session. Imagine an ASIA meeting where a stem cell biologist and a neurosurgeon could get together, or where a physical therapist and a biomedical engineer designing robotics could compare notes, or where an animal physiologist and a human physiologist could exchange ideas about pre-clinical models, or, finally, where a neuro-critical care nurse and a rehab nurse could work to enhance quality of care in the transition of SCI patients from acute care to the rehab setting. There will truly be something for everyone in ASIA and to attract those who are not yet members.
On other fronts for 2018-2019 we have added two new board members, Isa McClure and Mark Nash as we say good-by to Adam Stein and thank him for his service on the board. This coming year, we also plan to finalize arrangements for Spinal Cord to become the official journal of ASIA. We will initiate a new award to support physicians in training, thanks to a generous gift from Anthony DiMarco. We will also be splitting the Research and Awards committee into an Awards committee to handle all our additional awards and a Research committee to work with an ad hoc sub-committee on enhancing ASIA’s ability to bring the bench and the bedside closer together. We are planning to form additional ad hoc committees to extend ASIA’s outreach in the Americas, to engage and serve Trainees, and to foster a better educational outreach to Primary Care Providers who often care for those with chronic SCI. We look forward to the ISNCSCI Training Program starting in with clients needing that training and many of our committees will produce additional educational or programmatic products in the coming year. I wish all of you a warm welcome to the 2018 meeting and my best wishes for a prosperous and productive next year in ASIA.
Keith E. Tansey, MD, PhD
ASIA President 2017-2019