Joseph Kerschner, MD, ASPO President for 2012 - 2013.
It is with great humility and energetic purpose that I serve you as ASPO’s 28th President – and I am deeply appreciative of such an honor.
I have had the privilege of working in an executive capacity at a high level for a number of organizations, some of which considerably larger than ASPO and some quite a bit smaller. It is most rewarding to be a part of organizations that are growing and vibrant, as the vivacity of these organizations push them to do the next great thing.
I have always held that it is the People of any organization who bring the vibrancy of ideas, innovation and energy. The “raw material” and talent provided by a Society’s members, coupled with their motivation and dedication, propels the entity forward – regardless of challenges or obstacles. I believe most ASPO members understand that they are part of such a dynamic organization. And it is these efforts that have generated a trajectory for ASPO resulting in a rapid ascent in organized otolaryngology and, indeed, in organized medicine. In less than three decades, this organization has matured from a modest idea of a handful of visionaries into a renowned Senior Society whose respected leaders make a difference in every facet of otolaryngology. This rapid ascent includes, but is not limited to, the creation of educational programs that are among the most sought-after training venues for residents in this country and elsewhere in the world; the development of collaborations and linkages on a world-wide basis for sharing of ideas and scholarship; a growing cadre of clinicians and members (now over 400 strong!) who have become indispensable in providing specialized care for children and adolescents; the continued development of technology and techniques to provide enhanced quality, safety and outcomes; and an ever-increasing body of research and researches dedicated to the development of new knowledge to assist in our nonstop quest to improve the lives of children with otolaryngologic diseases and disorders.
There are numerous examples – too many to recount in this report – of the vibrancy of our Society and the manner in which the People of ASPO are stepping up to make our group ever better. But I would like to report to you on several and begin with the planning for the upcoming breakout program in Washington DC – scheduled for April 26-29, 2013. The ASPO Annual Meeting has been the heart and soul of our organization, and our breakout meetings have allowed ASPO to “go its own way” every four years independent of COSM. Dr. Chris Hartnick (Program Chair) and I have given significant thought to creating an innovative program that will include several first-time features, such as concurrent sessions which will allow for an increased number of podium presentations and panels. This format will enable more of our members, trainees and guests to present their important work – which has become an increasingly critical issue as ASPO continues to grow and receive a multitude of outstanding abstracts for the Annual Meeting. We expect that the theme of “Pediatric Otolaryngology: The Present and The Future: Personalized Medicine and Emerging Technologies,” coupled with a group of internationally recognized invited speakers and many exciting breakout sessions, will enable the Program Committee to produce a memorable Annual Meeting featuring more content than ever before.
Another example of the People of ASPO doing great work is the new Ad Hoc Young Members Committee that was launched this year and which I hope will become permanent ASPO committee. During my leadership involvement with ASPO I often have been reminded that the younger members of our Society need a stronger voice, a roadmap to becoming involved and an advocacy group for a different set of concerns than may affect our more veteran members. This new ad hoc committee is tackling these issues under the guidance of Chair, Dr. Gresham Richter, and promises to provide novel solutions to these important questions.
The Ad Hoc Subcertification Committee, under the continued guidance of our Past-President, Rich Rosenfeld, will continue to be a focal point during my presidency. A great deal of work has gone into this process, including seeking input from ASPO membership. During this “listening phase” a survey was conducted, resulting in an excellent response rate from membership – yet another example of the engagement of our members. Results from this survey demonstrate that a substantial majority of ASPO membership support subcertification and favor asking the American Board of Otolaryngology (ABOto) to move forward with implementing subcertification in pediatric otolaryngology (as first approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties in 1992). ASPO leadership also has listened to suggestions from other areas within organized otolaryngology, incorporating the concept that the subcertification being sought is in “advanced pediatric otolaryngology”; this demonstrates that what our fellowship-trained members are seeking is differentiated from general pediatric training covered by the general certificate obtained from ABOto after residency.
Finally, I also would like focus my energy during the upcoming year on the linked areas of development and programmatic offerings. As you all are aware, ASPO’s Sustaining Our Future Campaign continues in full swing. Dr. Rosenfeld and I agreed last year to make this an important cornerstone of our presidencies, and I am pleased to report that we have received pledges totaling more than $250,000! This truly demonstrates a remarkable commitment of the People of ASPO to the ideals and aspirations of our Society. As we have communicated to you, the purpose of this development activity is to allow ASPO to provide an even greater impact as we seek to enhance all aspects of pediatric otolaryngology.
Many exciting initiatives already have been made possible through these fundraising efforts in conjunction with work by a number of our committees. The Board recently voted to extend the Mini-mentorship Program to allow residents from programs with limited pediatric otolaryngology exposure to experience the full breadth of our field by visiting training sites with robust pediatric experiences. Through the Long Range Strategic Planning Committee will continue to administer this program. Through the Program Committee, the Board voted to support an international travel grant to increase international attendance at our Annual Meeting and to continue building bridges with our colleagues in other countries – especially from areas where travel to an ASPO meeting would otherwise not be possible. Two large commitments from ASPO Board members also have resulted in an endowment for important parts of our Program, a panel (Rosenfeld) and an invited lectureship.
Additionally, the Board is working with the Research Committee to develop two exciting new grants which should be ready for funding in 2014. The first grant is being seeded by the generosity of Drs. Wiatrak and Derkay and their fundraising efforts specifically for research directed at recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP). The second planned grant will be a career development award to allow young investigators to make discernible progress in knowledge creation in the field of pediatric otolaryngology. Should these two grants come to fruition – and I pledge to work hard to achieve this outcome – ASPO would have the distinct honor of providing the greatest amount of funding for investigators through the Academy CORE grant process! This would be an extraordinary accomplishment for an organization that is nearly 100 years younger than a number of other Senior Societies in American otolaryngology. So if you have not yet committed to this effort, please do so at http://aspo.us/sustainingfuture/. We need everyone’s help in not only Sustaining Our Future, but making an increasingly bright tomorrow.
As this space does not allow for mention of all of the great work of our committees I would encourage you to visit our website and to review the business meeting minutes for an update of other committee activities (http://aspo.us/businessminutes/). There are numerous outstanding happenings at all levels of your Society!
In closing, I am greatly looking forward to this year of service to ASPO. Our organization has meant a great deal to me in my professional career and it truly is a privilege to be able to give back in this manner. Please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com if there is any way in which I can be of assistance to you or if your wish to bring any concerns or questions forward.