Dear APSS Members,
2019 has continued to be a productive year for the APSS. The last quarter saw a successful Operative Course in Lahore, Pakistan, in October. This was followed in November by an inaugural cadaver course in collaboration with Tzu Chi University in Hualien, and the Taiwan Spine Society.
Prior to the escalating Covid-19 situation in the region in early 2020, we held the first Operative Course of the year at The Leela, Mumbai in collaboration with the Lilavati and Nanavati Hospitals in February. This course, collaboratively hosted by the APSS and the Bombay Spine Society, received overwhelming responses with over 600 participants. Although some international faculties were unable to join because of the developing epidemic, the program was filled with rich and fruitful debates and interactions. Participants had the chance to enrich their knowledge and hone their skills through the live surgeries telecasted, as well as the hands-on workshops in multiple scientific halls. Members may look forward to our next Operative Course which is scheduled to take place in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia in October 2020.
As we are all aware by now, the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of billions of people in different ways, and no sector is spared. In the light of the extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances, the upcoming APSS Annual Meeting, in Shanghai, has to be postponed to October 9th and 10th of this year. The APSS Dhaka Basic Spine Course, due to take place in April 2020, has also been postponed until further notice. Please keep track of the latest updates on our website.
Keeping the health concerns and safety of our APSS members in mind, the Executive Committee took the decision to withdraw from SpineWeek 2020 before the meeting was eventually cancelled by the organizer due to the Covid-19 outbreak in Australia. I would like to extend my gratitude to our members and faculties for their understanding. They had to forfeit the plans they have made to attend the meeting. A special thanks to Associate Professor Gabriel Liu, the APSS Scientific Chairman for SpineWeek 2020, for the considerable amount of work and time he has dedicated to ensuring the quality of the APSS scientific program. Our latest information is that the cancelled SpineWeek program will be reconvened in 2023. So, stay tuned.
In this difficult time, the APSS, true to her missions, will continue to grow and foster spine surgery education and good practice in the Asia Pacific region. The APSS maintains its fellowship programs, although some of the programs have to be postponed. The selected applicants will be given the earliest opportunity to pursue their fellowships. The APSS DePuy Synthes Clinical and Travelling Fellows, APSS-SICOT DePuy Synthes Exchange Fellows and APSS-Ganga Hospital Fellows 2020 who have been selected for their respective programs are rescheduled to commence their fellowships in the third quarter of the year. In my previous message, I mentioned that the Society will strive to offer additional fellowship programs to its members. In 2020, we have added a new program, namely the APSS Miraclus Fellowship, offering two fellowships to our members. Both the APSS Miraclus Fellowship and APSS Medtronic Fellowship are still calling for applications until end of May 2020; therefore, I strongly encourage APSS members to apply for these programs.
As you know, Covid-19 has evolved to becoming a pandemic causing huge impact on healthcare. Although spine surgeons are usually not at the front line directly treating Covid-19 patients, our practices are surely affected in different ways. As we navigate through these uncertain, challenging times together, the APSS is committed to our role in both mitigating the spread of this disease and continuing to support our members across the region. There are numerous guidelines and suggestions from different countries on the web, but please make sure you read them critically and avoid spreading wrong information.
Please take good care of yourselves and your families. Stay safe and healthy.
Together we shall emerge stronger.
Keith DK Luk
President of APSS (2019-2021)