Dear colleagues, it has been a busy six months for ASIA since our successful meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. ASIA Board and committees have completed a review of our Strategic Plan and identified goals for the next two years.
I am happy to report that we had a record number of submissions for the 2020 Annual meeting in New Orleans. There were more than 150 abstract submissions for Short Talk Poster and Oral presentations as well as more than 40 Course submissions. Unfortunately, due to such high submission volume, not all high-quality submissions were accepted. If your course or abstract was not accepted, please re-submit next year.
The ASIA Program committee has been working hard on the scientific programme. We hope to unveil a preliminary program before the end of the year. As always, the annual scientific meeting will include in-depth content and discussions that will be off interest for clinicians and researchers and will be integrated across the spectrum of training. We will also feature new events, including Adaptive Clothing for individuals with SCI and Fashion Show during Presidential reception.
There will be two pre-courses, one on Spine and Acute Trauma with the second pre-course focused on Primary Care. The conference will offer a translational track as well as activities for Early Career attendees.
I would like to thank our Awards committee for their work in addressing changeling task to select final award winners for 2020 meeting from a large group of strong nominees. I extent Board’ congratulations to Dr. Diana Cardenas, our 2020 recipient of the ASIA Lifetime Achievements Award. Stay tuned in the months ahead for announcements on the 2020 Apple and Vogel Award as well as the 2020 FASIA recipients who will be honored at the conference in New Orleans.
ASIA Committees have all been hard at work. We are grateful for the dedication of board liaisons, committee chairs, vice chairs and countless volunteer committee members. Some committee highlights include:
Autonomic Standards Committee – working on the 3rd edition of the International Standards to document Autonomic Function after SCI (ISAFSCI). Key members of the committee met in-person at the ASIA annual meeting in Hawaii to formally develop the plan for this revision, which was then sent to the full committee and then discussed during a conference call held in September. The sub-committees have submitted proposals for the revision of each section, and we are preparing for the dissemination of the up-dated ISAFSCI in 2020. The sub-committee chairs will prepare and present the revised ISAFSCI at the annual ASIA meeting in New Orleans in May 2020.
Early Career Committee – The new Early Career (EC) Committee has been working diligently on revamping the ASIA Mentorship Program in order to support the needs of students, trainees, and early career professionals in the SCI field. Stay tuned for more information on the new program, as well as information on how to join as a Mentee and Mentor!
Education Committee – Steffen Franz, MD and Candace Tefertiller PT, DPT, NCS will step into chair and vice chair roles, respectively, of the education committee next year. This group has made significant movement forward on the pain and urology e-learning modules, both of which we hope to secure funding for in 2020.
International Standards Committee – After the updated booklet and the new worksheet of the 2019 ISNCSCI revision were officially released at the Honolulu meeting, members of the International Standards committee have worked hard to implement the changes into InSTeP. The final review of the beta-version of InSTeP including the non-SCI taxonomy and the new ZPP definition is currently carried out and we expect the updated version available online by the end of 2019. An editorial was published in the October issue of the journal “Spinal Cord” to inform the SCI community about the changes of the new ISNCSCI revision. The committee is currently drafting 9 manuscripts for an ISNCSCI-focused issue of “Spinal Cord” intended to be published in the first half of 2020. These manuscripts will not only provide more details on the recent changes and how they are correctly applied, but also on other ISNCSCI-related topics such as computerized ISNCSCI algorithms or extensions of the exam for research. Additionally to these activities, a guideline will be published in the upcoming months on ASIA’s website for an expedited ISNCSCI (E-ISNCSCI) exam for determining the levels and the AIS with a minimum number of steps for pre-screening and follow-up purposes.
Primary Care Committee – The PCC has been busy working on the Topics in SCI Rehabilitation Primary Care Clinician Special Edition, preparation of course work, and developing plans for 2020. The TSCIR Special Edition is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2019 with hard and electronic copies available early in 2020. After presenting at the 2019 ASIA, ASCIP and ACRM meetings, we are excited to have received (collaboratively with ASCIP) support from the Craig H Neilsen Foundation to continue our outreach in 2020 to primary care clinicians. We will have more information on those plans in the coming months.
Finally, as we enter the holiday season, I also hope the entire ASIA family will take a moment to reflect on what we achieved during the 2019 year and what we can bring as a society to address the issues that people with spinal cord injuries face.
Andrei Krassioukov, MD, PhD, FRCPC