President Elect's Message: Opportunities Abound

Jul 25, 2018, 08:57 AM by Asokumar Buvanendran, MD


Abound I am both humbled and excited to write this first column for ASRA News, and, in following President Oscar de Leon-Casasola’s message about accomplishments and achievements, I’d like to specifically focus on two initiatives that will continue to move our distinguished ASRA family forward. They are the 2018 World Congress and ASRA’s regulatory advocacy efforts.

As Oscar noted, annual meeting attendance has grown at both the spring (Regional Anesthesiology and Acute Pain Medicine) and fall (Chronic Pain Medicine) meetings, and we hope to see that participation continue in 2017. In 2018, ASRA will be hosting the World Congress for Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine on April 19–21 in New York City. This congress, held every 4 years, is unique in that all four sister societies of ASRA gather at a single meeting (ASRA, the European Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Therapy, the Latin American Society of Regional Anesthesia, the Asia-Oceanic Society of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine, and the African Society of Regional Anesthesia).

The 2018 World Congress, which will be the fifth time the societies have convened, will be chaired by Dr Vincent Chan (former ASRA president) and will feature 3 days of the latest updates on regional anesthesia, acute pain, and chronic pain. Sessions will include live model and cadaver workshops; highly interactive sessions, such as Problem-Based Learning Discussions, Ask the Expert Interactive sessions (available for no additional cover), and audiencesubmitted content; a busy exhibit hall with ePoster viewing and the latest innovations from our industry supporters; and many unique, educational, and fun networking events including our Excellence in ASRA Awards Luncheon and a Saturday Night Celebration befitting our ideal location on Broadway Avenue in Times Square.

Planning for this event started about 18 months ago, and we have made significant progress. It is our hope that attendance by both the regional anesthesiologists and chronic pain physicians at this event, with a global outreach in a magnificent energetic city, will far exceed expectations.

One of many exciting parts of the meeting demonstrates our ongoing efforts to forge strategic partnerships with national medical societies to expand educational opportunities and affect health policy decision making. We have formed a master agreement with the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS). In 2016, ASRA was invited to present on acute pain at AAHKS, and AAHKS will reciprocate by sending its experts to our ASRA 2017 spring meeting in San Francisco. At the World Congress in 2018, this partnership will be highlighted with a session of experts from AAHKS, ASRA, and other health care providers involved with taking care of the ever-increasing orthopedic patient population in the United States.

Another example of our work to partner and affect health policy is our work on the Adaptation and Dissemination Outpatient Infection PrevenTion guidelines review, a joint partnership between the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and The Joint Commission. ASRA is one of 12 organizations and 11 ambulatory health care systems that will provide input into development and dissemination of model infection control plans. More information on this project can be found on the ASRA website.

ASRA has worked with the CDC on the opioid epidemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), and in the areas of emerging heath care restrictions pertaining to regional anesthesiology (eg, the response to the number of local coverage determinations for peripheral nerve blocks) and chronic pain physicians (eg, the steroid injections crisis in Washington and Oregon). These are just a few examples of the concerted regulatory advocacy efforts in which ASRA is supporting our profession. Read more about our advocacy efforts.

In closing, I’d like to draw attention to the fact that ASRA has been under self-management for the past 2 years. We have a fine team of dedicated staff at our headquarters in Pittsburgh, and I want to recognize the great work they do for the society under the guidance of the Board as we all work toward advancing the science and practice of regional anesthesia and pain medicine.

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