By Anjana Kundu, MBBS, MD
Dayton Children's Hospital
2018 is coming to a close fast and I find myself reflecting on all the accomplishments made possible by the tireless efforts of the Society’s leadership, Board of Directors, committees and members. It’s easy to have that “where did the year go?” feeling until we pause and take stock of all that has made the year possible. So this is a great opportunity to take a moment here to share with you the incredible strides our young Society has made in 2018.
Before we do that though, I want to reminisce how great the SPA annual fall meeting in San Francisco was. The newly introduced format of TED style, brief presentations were extremely well received and provided an opportunity to cover a wide variety of topics in perioperative care. This edition of the newsletter brings you some of the highlights of relevant pediatric regional analgesia and pain medicine content from the 2018 SPA/ASA meetings. Under the editorial leadership of Dr. Yuan-Chi Lin, you’re always in for power-packed edition of the newsletter, but this one is especially content-rich.
The fall meeting also marked the change in leadership of the SPA and I want to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Randy Flick, the outgoing president for the SPA and Dr. Kirk Lalwani as the incoming president, as well as the SPA leadership, for their incredible support and guidance, making it easier for our Society to reach many of these milestones. Of course, none of this would be feasible without the monumental support from the entire Ruggles team, especially Stewart Hinckley and Kim Battle, who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make the magic happen.
SPPM is also getting ready to elect it new leaders for the next two-year cycle. Dr. Sabine-Kost-Byerly, the founding member, first president of SPPM and the Immediate Past President, has continued to provide the leadership and guidance to ensure a steady growth of our Society. She, along with the Nominations Committee, has put together a slate of excellent candidates for the SPPM members to vote on as the next set of representatives. Please take the time to review these candidates and make sure to vote.
Under the leadership of Dr. Flick, SPA leadership undertook several important initiatives in 2018 that involve and impact our Society. One of these initiatives is the SPA strategic planning process, identifying a variety of issues that impact the future of the Society and, the specialty at large. As a Section of SPA, SPPM has been actively engaged in this important strategic planning work, with participation from several board members and SPPM members-at-large.
The SPA formed a the Surgical Advisory Committee led by Dr. Jim Fehr to interface and collaborate with the American College of Surgeons, in further development of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Project (NSQIP). Dr. Rosalie Tassone will serve as the SPPM representative to this committee. The work of this committee not only represents a critical relationship, but also offers an opportunity for SPPM, as a Society, to have a voice in developing these QI benchmarks and guidelines to improve knowledge of safe perioperative practices.
The SPA has also created the SPA Task Force on Pediatric Anesthesia Graduate Medical Education to evaluate and review the scope and content of fellowship training curricula in pediatric anesthesiology. SPPM has also been asked to participate in this important work and Dr. James Mooney will be serving as the SPPM representative to this task force.
Last month, Drs. Jennifer Lee, Nina Deutsch and a group of passionate colleagues kicked off a coaching and leadership development initiative for women in pediatric anesthesiology, the Women’s Empowerment and Leadership Initiative (WELI). Through this initiative, female anesthesiologists from academic as well as private practice groups, at various stages in their career, with potential and a desire to advance (mentees), will be paired with a carefully selected and diverse group of coaches (mentors) to achieve and foster leadership. I have been offered the privilege to serve as one of the coaches. I encourage all members to explore, participate, support, and benefit from this initiative.
Along similar lines, the SPA has also established a Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to ensure that there is adequate representation for all unique voices of the Society’s membership. We whole-heartedly support the creation of this Committee and SPPM will be working closely with Dr. Nathalia Jimenez, who will serve as the inaugural chair of this committee.
Throughout the year our liaisons with other like-minded special interest groups and sections have continued to strengthen relationships. Thanks to a strong support from Dr. Raeford Brown, Chair of the AAP Section on Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, SPPM has collaborated with the Section to revise the statement on acute pain management in children and to co-author a new statement on chronic pain in children. Several members of our Society are key contributors to these statements. We have also collaborated with the Section to help develop educational content related to pediatric pain medicine for the AAP’s National Conference and Exhibition in October 2019.
Simultaneously, we have also been able to create liaison with the American Pain Society Special Interest on Pain in Infants, Children and Adolescents, and the IASP Special Interest Group on Pain in Childhood. It is of the utmost importance for the best healthcare practices in pediatric pain management that all of our professional organizations continue to work in alignment to ensure the safety and optimal care of every child affected by pain. Our organizations will continue to find opportunities to collaborate on educational content, policy and statement development, research opportunities to name a few.
As you’ll also see, Dr. Vidya Chidambaran along with the Education Committee has put together a stellar educational program for the SPPM 6th Annual meeting on March 14, 2019 in Houston, TX. Our liaisons are at display, with renowned experts lining the program. They come together from all over the world to share their clinical expertise, research and the latest evidence around children’s pain and how to best care for these children.
In early 2018, with the commitment from all of the BOD (current and past) and officers as well as some generous member donations, we established the SPPM Education and Research Fund to advance the research and educational endeavors of the society and support projects critical to the mission for of its members. Your contributions of any amount are critical to the success of this mission and are greatly appreciated.
I cannot underscore the hard work that Dr. Bob Wilder put in over the past year to revamp the membership structure of SPPM such that the Society truly represents, and honors, the multidisciplinary nature of pediatric pain medicine, while maintaining the integrity of the bylaws of SPA as the parent society. Dr. Petra Meier-Haran is leading an ad-hoc membership committee, diligently working to enhance member engagement, and ensure that our Society fulfills the needs of our members to the best possible extent. Our members, their interests and needs are at the core of the Society, determining the future of pediatric pain medicine, and SPPM is fully committed to serving these needs effectively.
The “Question of the Month” feature on the website has been very positively received, social media engagements have been steadily increasing and we’re looking forward to our next virtual Journal Club on Twitter later this month. Thanks to the Communications Committee lead by Dr. Deepa Kattail, for your incredible efforts.
Member engagement is the single most important factor in determining where the future of SPPM and pediatric pain medicine lies. So I thank each of you, the SPPM members, for making it such a success, becoming the voice of pediatric pain medicine and I’m looking forward to an even brighter future!