NASS Insider

December 07, 2021

NASSi Update from Patrick Hsieh MD

It may be a surprise to many spine care professionals to know that 20% of the members of NASS are actually domiciled outside the United States. In 2018, NASS International (NASSi) was formed, and commissioned by the NASS Board of Directors to create and deliver programs relevant to this international audience.

Naturally, for the past two years Covid restrictions have hampered the role out of NASSi’s education, membership and academic society partnership initiatives.

However, I am pleased to report a breakthrough! Following NASS’ own highly successful Annual Meeting in Boston, the Global Spine Congress was held in Paris on November 3-6. While it was billed as a hybrid event, it attracted over 1,000 spine care professionals to meet “in person.”

We have grown accustomed to webinars and Zoom meetings during the pandemic. Nevertheless, there was no hiding the fact, it felt wonderful to again connect, share and exchange ideas with colleagues and peers in a personal setting.

Since NASSi has a collaboration agreement with AO Spine, we were invited to run two pre-courses prior to the congress, and a symposium inside the main event.

Our pre-courses covered Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and a paradigm change for the future - Surgical Simulation Training, while the symposium focused on “Evaluating and adopting emerging technologies in spine surgery and interventions.” Pleasingly each session received stellar reviews from the attendees.

I will be first to admit that the success of our NASSi events was due to the extraordinary efforts and commitment of our faculty. I am proud to say NASSi was able to engage some true heavy hitters to contribute to our events – including our current NASS President Ed Dohring, immediate Past President Eric Truumees, and two Past Presidents Jeff Wang (GSC Chairperson too), and Jean Jacques Abitbol. This illustrious team was ably supported by Hani Mhaidli, past President of both SILICO and GEER, as well as Norman Chutkan, who Chairs NASSi Member Commission, John Liu, Ray Hah and Zorica Buser.

Something to note and recognize were those faculty who altruistically volunteered their time out of their clinical practice as well as those who travelled under their own steam to represent NASSi. Such unrelenting devotion to support NASS will be the bedrock in our goal to advance global spine care.

NASSi presenting some educational topics at the GSC will pay dividends. Jeff Wang hosted a live interview with Hani Mhaidli, JJ Abitbol, Michael Piccirillo and myself, which gave us a great opportunity to plug our future plans. And it worked. There were a number of surgeons who turned up at our modest booth to register interest, and to know more about NASSi. Everyone was very excited to learn of our plans to grow and engage a truly international community.

We hope in 2022 the world will start to return to a degree of normalcy, and certainly NASSi wants to be ready to initiate our programs and planned collaborations with GSC and other academic societies.

What I can commit to the NASS communities worldwide is this: through our strength in education, research, and advocacy, we will collaborate with international spine societies, colleagues, and members to improve patients’ lives worldwide with better patient spine care to reduce the burden of spine disorders.

Patrick Hsieh MD
Chairperson NASS International