The following Q & A is with International Education Committee Co-Chairs, Michael Daubs, MD, and Jean-Charles Le Huec, MD. Dr. Daubs is an orthopedic surgeon based in Santa Monica, California. Dr. Le Huec is also an orthopedic surgeon, and he resides in Bordeaux, France.

1.       What is your mission this coming year?

To provide educational programming to our international participants while improving competency and enhancing the performance of spine care.

Goals are congruent with the CME committee as well:

  • Participate in meetings focusing on abstract and symposia presentations
  • Create online education modules
  • Interpret needs assessment and development of needed educational activities to improve competency and enhance performance in the international education arena.
  • Recommend symposia and/or networking events for the Annual Meeting
  • Review collaborative activities and/or partnerships with other international associations or organizations.
  • Participate in regionalized courses and meetings

2.       What are your committee’s highlights over the last couple years?

This is a fairly new committee to NASS.  The Committee has provided input and support into the Global Spine Forum concept that will now be in its third year during the Annual Meeting. The Committee was instrumental in determining that we need to evolve the education to include other international societies to participate in the NASS Annual Meeting. The committee, along with the CME committee, devised a plan to invite specific international organizations to participate with an hour to develop their own presentations whether it is a symposium or to present their vest papers.

The Committee also reviews collaborative efforts from international societies requesting NASS participation in their meetings. Our most recent collaboration was through NASS’ participation in the Global Spine Congress held in March 2011 in Barcelona, Spain with AO Spine. NASS participated on the program with a symposium focusing on the changing landscape of spine care. The Committee also reviewed a proposal to participate in the World Spine Forum on Research being held in Helsinki in June. The Committee, along with the CME committee, approved participation in this meeting with a symposium as well.

3.     What are the committee’s long-term goals?

Michael Daubs:

Our long-term goals are to reach out to spine organizations throughout the world with the ultimate goal of learning from each other on how to best improve patient care and achieve the best treatment outcomes.

Jean-Charles Le Huec:

Set up education program with national or regional education committee providing us an international session during their session to open a NASS window and increase opportunities.

4.       What challenges face your committee?

Michael Daubs:

The main challenges relate to the geographic distance and cultural differences that are present between organizations. It is difficult to bring groups together across the world for a single joint meeting. Many of these issues are eased with the Internet, but there isn’t a form of communication that can replace face to face meetings.

Jean-Charles Le Huec:

Education financial support is becoming critical; relationship with industry is unclear in many countries. Governments would like to avoid bias in education when it is supported by industry but on the other hand the governments provide no money for continuing education, which is mandatory due to the innovative evolution.

5.       How long have you been a NASS member?

Michael Daubs:

I have been a NASS member for 16 years.

Jean-Charles Le Huec:

15 years.

6.       When did you first volunteer? What Committee was it?

Michael Daubs:

I have volunteered in the past for the Program Committee to review abstracts for the Annual Meeting and Spine Across the Sea.

Jean-Charles Le Huec:

I was invited five years ago to this committee, which fits my wishes.

7.       What would you tell other people about serving on NASS committees?

Michael Daubs:
It is great to be involved and help guide NASS into the future. NASS’s bottom-line mission has always been to improve spine care. I think this mission has never been as clear as it is now, and I am pleased to be a part of the process.

Jean-Charles Le Huec:

It is an exciting opportunity to meet people from all over the world, to exchange ideas about sciences and provide knowledge to the young colleagues who are always proactive for that.