From 2017-2019, Dr. Keith Tansey, MD, PhD, FASNR served as President of the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA). Over that time period, ASIA made progress in many areas as an organization and on behalf of the field of Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Medicine. With an agenda of “translation and integration”, Dr. Tansey led ASIA to expand at its borders to be more inclusive and work hard within the society to bring the bench and the bedside and various scientific and clinical disciplines closer to each other. He was fond of saying that ASIA does not just want to practice the best SCI Medicine of today, but it also wants to develop the improved SCI Medicine of tomorrow.
Over the past two years, ASIA enjoyed highly successful annual scientific meetings with record numbers of submissions for courses, talks and posters. ASIA membership also grew, topping 500 members by the end of Dr. Tansey’s administration. ASIA brought on new board members and continued to benefit from the activities of its vibrant committees. In 2018, ASIA awarded its first Fellow of ASIA (FASIA) awards, its first Translational Research or Human Neuroscience Studies award (TRoNS), which Dr. Tansey personally sponsors, and the first Mulcahey award, and in 2019 it added the first DiMarco award for physician trainees.
During his presidency, Dr. Tansey and ASIA started many new initiatives as well. Members of the new Americas committee traveled to Uruguay and Ecuador as ASIA ambassadors to support development of improved SCI care in Central and South America. The new Primary Care committee began to develop ways to reach non-SCI trained primary care providers so they can better understand what constitutes the best in SCI care. ASIA separated the Research and Awards committee into two independent committees and the Research committee has already held a successful strategic planning session to lay out a roadmap for advancing translational SCI research within ASIA. ASIA’s Training committee has developed for ASIA a training program product that will allow them to gain revenue by teaching ASIA’s intellectual property and the committee already has secured two significant clients for that program. Finally, at this year’s scientific meeting, the International Standards committee released the updated 2019 edition of the International Standards for the Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (ISNCSCI) booklet.
At the conclusion this year’s annual meeting, Dr. Tansey was made a Fellow of ASIA (FASIA) along with a handful of senior peers in the field. He plans to continue his board work as Past President for 2 more years as well as his work on several ASIA committees, including completing the design of a Research Options ISNCSCI exam (RO-ISNCSCI). Dr. Tansey is quite confident that his successor, Dr. Andrei Krassioukov, MD, PhD, FRCPC, will continue ASIA along its successful path, leading the field of SCI Medicine.
Congratulations to Dr. Tansey on a job well done!