Sean Christie President 2017-2019

Sean Christie President 2017-2019

Dear Colleagues:

It is a great honor to take the position of President of the Canadian Spine Society. I thank everyone for the support you’ve given to the Society in the past and ask for your ongoing support over the next two years. As we embark on this season of renewal there are still a number of questions for which many of us are eagerly awaiting the answers. Many of our friends south of the 49th parallel are still trying to understand what is the direction of their administration? Those of us on the East Coast are wondering how many more snow storms Newfoundland could possibly have this year? Edmonton is hoping to become a city of champions once again and all across the country, whether shocked or elated, people wonder how long the Maple Leafs will last before they break out the golf clubs?

Yes, spring is an exciting time in Canada, but spring means our Scientific Conference is already over. It certainly was one of our best meetings – a huge success! We had the largest number of attendees ever (in a non-combined meeting) with 195 medical attendees and a significant number of industry representatives as well. I would like to give a special callout to John Street – John put together a great program! I believe there was a very positive response to the rapid fire presentations and I hope that this is something John can build into future meetings. Special callouts are also warranted for all the organizational efforts, but particularly for our Conference Coordinator Jennifer Edwards, who is also the CSS Director of Operations; as well as to Carey Meyers, CSS Conference Registrar. This meeting would not be able to go off without a hitch without their efforts and we are greatly indebted to them – Thank you!

Last, but certainly not least, our sponsors. Industry sponsorship not only provides support to make the meeting happen but also gives us a great opportunity to interact with their representatives to better understand the options available for delivering treatment. We can interact and share our ideas so that as a team we all move our care forward for the betterment of our patients. I would encourage any of the sponsors who wish to contact me with suggestions or concerns to do so. I have heard from a few of you already and I would certainly look forward to chatting with all of our partners.

The scientific aspect of the meeting was superb. It is impossible to list all the talks from which I learned something. That would amount to regurgitating the abstract booklet.

However, I would like to give special congratulations to our award winners:
Debbie Scarlett Award for Best Overall Paper – Raj Rampersaud
Fellow’s Best Paper Award – Etienne Bourassa
Resident’s Best Paper Award (our first ever tie!) – Allan Martin and Daniel Yavin

The residents’ sessions were very well done, an excellent and lively exchange of opinions (not surprisingly sometimes differing). I think these sessions will continue to be a highlight of future meetings. As usual the symposia were very good and enlightening. It is impossible to pick the one I likes best since they were so diverse. It is always a challenge to develop these sessions. Given the block of time committed to them it is difficult to capture and maintain the attention of the audience. Again, congrats to John Street.

In order to deliver content at these meetings that is of interest to the membership it is important that we hear from the attendees. The easiest way to do this is by filling out the evaluations at the end of the meeting and I am happy to report that we had our highest ever number of evaluations at our 2017 meeting in Montreal! We can still aim to go higher and hopefully that will be the case. Please mark your calendars for the end of February as planning has already started to deliver an even better program in 2018 in Banff.

I suspect a number of people noticed that there was no “Fisher Boat Race” at this year’s meeting. Not that I am looking to incur Charles’ wrath but it was felt that it would be best if we redirected our efforts to an alternative event. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to put together this year but I can assure you that a new, and I suspect improved, regional competition will be resurrected for next year’s meeting. I will have to keep you in suspense for the time being, but please stay tuned.

One concern I have is that the lack of a challenge could lead to decrease in CSREF donations. These collegial challenges are a great source of revenue and facilitate the important work that is being done by that foundation, which is integral to advancing spine care within Canada. So I encourage people to follow the online links through our website and support the cause.

I am happy to report that at least two members of our Society have already answered my challenge. As you recall, I challenged people, over the next couple of years, to either:

(1) Bring a colleague to our annual meeting who has never been there before
(2) Encourage someone who is not a member to join (particularly those of us with a Neurosurgical background)
(3) Submit an article to the CSS newsletter, Spinal Columns
(4) Provide feedback or ideas to improve our society or our meeting.

I am happy to announce that Drs. Drew Bednar and Mike Yang both approached me towards the end of the meeting and had some very solid ideas that we will work to implement. I encourage all of our members to continue and fire off your ideas when you get them. “There are no crazy ideas”- I would like to work to get a group of us in front of Minister Philpott to explain the importance and challenges that we face delivering spine care in Canada. I encourage you all to continue to work within your hospitals and provinces to advance the importance of spine care and I think working as a collective society that truly has national representation is the way for us to achieve something positive for our patients.

Your feedback and ideas are always welcome.


Sean Christie
President of the Canadian Spine Society


Past CSS Presidents

CSS President – Peter Jarzem, 2015 – 2017
CSS President – Charles Fisher, 2013 – 2015
CSS President – Robert Broad, 2011 – 2013
CSS President – Raj Rampersaud, 2009 – 2011
CSS President – Daryl Fourney, 2007 – 2009
CSS President – Michael Ford, 2006 – 2007
CSS President – Edward Abraham, 2005
CSS President – Richard Fox, 2004
CSS President – Stewart Bailey, 2002 – 2003
CSS President – Robin John Hurlbert, 2000 – 2001