Published 9/1/2015
Jennie McKee

SRS Celebrates Golden Anniversary

50 years of education and outreach have enhanced spine care, at home and abroad

Jennie McKee

The Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) helps advance care for patients with spinal deformities by educating the next generation of spine surgeons,” said SRS President John Dormans, MD, regarding the many contributions of SRS throughout its 50-year history. “SRS helps ensure that surgeons and healthcare workers who care for patients with spinal deformities are up-to-date on the newest treatments and research in the field.”

Founded in 1966 with just 35 members, SRS now has more than 1,200 members in 56 countries around the world. The nonprofit organization, which includes both physicians and allied health personnel, is committed to its core mission of fostering optimal care for all patients with spinal deformities.

Fellowships and scholarships
SRS provides a number of outstanding learning opportunities for members, including its Annual Meeting & Course, the International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques (IMAST), Worldwide Courses, and Spine Deformity Solutions: A Hands-On Course. Throughout the year, members can take advantage of programs to learn about the latest research, education, and technology related to treating spinal deformities.

SRS also helps further spine care education by offering a variety of scholarships, fellowships, and awards. Scholarships provide support to attend the SRS Annual Meeting & Course and IMAST; research and traveling fellowships provide practicing surgeons the opportunity to visit spinal deformity centers to enhance their education and surgical skills; and awards recognize members for their achievements in humanitarian and research efforts.

In 2014, SRS awarded 16 scholarships and 11 fellowships to young surgeons from 13 different countries, including the United States. Additionally, three young surgeons from India, Turkey, and the United Kingdom were selected as traveling fellows to visit centers in the United States.

Increasing international efforts
In recent years, SRS has widened its member base. Approximately 30 percent of members are from outside the United States, and neurosurgeons have been accepted as members since 2004. Members take active roles in leadership, serving on the SRS board of directors and as committee chairs. In September 2014, Kenneth M.C. Cheung, MD, of Hong Kong was elected vice president, making him the first surgeon from outside North America to enter the presidential line.

Another of the SRS’s international endeavors is the Global Outreach Program. Many members are involved with efforts to provide patient care and provide training to help develop regional, self-sufficient spine centers in underserved areas of the world. The Global Outreach Program works to coordinate those efforts by endorsing sites, encouraging and coordinating member participation, improving communications among site organizers, and gathering data from various sites.

SRS’s Worldwide Course program—which began in 2005 with a course in Jeju, South Korea—has expanded to include four to six courses per year and is held in conjunction with local spine or orthopaedic society meetings. Upcoming and past course locations include Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Morocco, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam, and others.

The founding fellows of SRS, at its inaugural annual meeting in 1966.
Courtesy of the Scoliosis Research Society

Morbidity and mortality data
SRS has gathered morbidity and mortality (M&M) data virtually since its inception to better understand complications related to spine deformity surgery. Formal data collection began in 1970; within a year, 62 percent of the membership were submitting data. The first report on neurologic complications of scoliosis surgery, based on data collected from 1965 to 1971, was published in 1975 in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Today, more than 90 percent of SRS members submit data to the M&M database; reports include information on deaths, neurologic deficits, and loss of visual acuity in patients with kyphosis, scoliosis, or spondylolisthesis. Recently, a module for perioperative infection was added to the database.

Upcoming celebration
At the 50th SRS Annual Meeting & Course, to be held Sept. 30–Oct. 3, 2015, in Minneapolis, approximately 125 studies covering all aspects of spinal deformity will be presented by U.S. and international experts. Lunchtime symposia will be held Wednesday and Friday, as well as three half-day courses on Thursday on a variety of topics, including “Sagittal Plane Deformity – Evaluation and Management” and “Spondylolisthesis in Children and Adults.”

SRS will celebrate its 50th anniversary meeting with an onsite museum as well as presentations about its history, including a “living legends” series that will give attendees the opportunity to hear from various SRS past presidents, founding fellows, and “legendary” experts in the treatment of spinal deformities.

“An SRS video exploring 50 years of accomplishments will be shown,” noted Dr. Dormans. “The Steele Lecture will be devoted to the history and future of SRS and will be presented by three founders and past presidents.”

An SRS member since 1993, Dr. Dormans encourages orthopaedic spine surgeons and neurosurgeons orthopaedic to join for a variety of reasons, from the educational opportunities it offers to its vast network of world-renowned physician members.

“SRS members are very dedicated to supporting the mission of fostering optimal care for all patients with spinal deformities, as well as educating patients via our website and brochures so that families can advocate for themselves and the quality of care they receive,” said Dr. Dormans.

Jennie McKee is a senior science writer for AAOS Now. She can be reached at mckee@aaos.org

Learn more about SRS
For more information about SRS and its upcoming 50th Annual Meeting & Course, visit

Did you know…?

  • Thus far, SRS has awarded 290 scholarships and fellowships to surgeons around the world who care for patients with spinal deformities.
  • The society has demonstrated a strong commitment to spinal deformity research. Since 1998, it has awarded more than 100 grants, totaling more than $3.5 million.