President's Column: Volunteer -- You Will Not Be Disappointed

By Jeffrey Wang posted 01-17-2019 02:01 PM

I am sincerely honored to serve as the President of NASS, and excited about this SpineLine column, where I have the opportunity to send meaningful, thought-
provoking messages, that potentially forever change members' lives simply through some words that I put together... Actually, if you are looking for this column to be that life-altering experience, you may be sadly disappointed, and I won't be offended if you turn the page. But I will share some thoughts I hope you find interesting.

Since assuming the presidency of NASS, I am looking at the organization through a different perspective, and I realize firsthand the great responsibility one has in leading the organization. As I was interviewed countless times on my vision for the next year, I was able to put forth my lofty goals and describe in detail all of the ways I am going to change things. However, I also realize that nothing at NASS would be accomplished without the work of all of the staff and the volunteers, who really drive the engine of the organization. As I sit at the board meetings listening to the updates and discussions on all of the ongoing initiatives, I am sincerely amazed to see the wide-ranging list of things this organization does.

I have been fortunate to work with several spine and orthopedic societies, and have a clear perspective on the scope of the activities for a typical professional medical society. With all due respect to all of those other amazing societies, the magnitude of what NASS does on an ongoing basis is really mind-blowing. Now, I fully understand that as President of the society I may be a bit biased. However, I encourage those who are interested to compare our professional organizations' activities, and try to find one that takes on the workload of NASS. Go the NASS website and take a look at the scope of the activities listed and the diverse initiatives undertaken. You'll find something of interest for everyone.

As spine care practitioners, we are dedicated to helping our patients with their spinal pathology and trying to improve their outcomes with treatments that are appropriate and required. We all have our specialized area of interest. Some of our members are focused on research, clinical and basic science. Some are focused on the treatment of spinal disorders, both operative and nonoperative. We all live busy lives—our time is more limited and valuable than ever. However, if you are a NASS member with an urge to go beyond your clinical practice and would like to devote some of your valuable time toward something meaningful, I encourage you to get involved in one of the many NASS activities that sparks your interest. Join a committee. Volunteer for an educational course. Submit an idea for a symposium at the annual meeting. Get involved in health policy, advocacy, research, education, coding, guidelines, public policy, the NASS registry, or get involved in evidence-based medicine, one of the NASS publications. The options are wide open.

You will not be disappointed, and you may be inspired. You may find that participation may lead to finding something you are passionate about and could lead to significant changes in your life. If you are not yet a NASS member, consider joining and getting involved. I can say from my own personal experience, this has been one of the most educational, inspiring and fulfilling parts of my career.

*This is an excerpt from a column that originally appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of SpineLine. Click here to read the full column.