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President's Message

Peter J. Davis, MD
SPA President
Children's Hospital
Pittsburgh, PA

I have been fortunate to be with the Society since its early days and thus can appreciate how the society has grown and expanded its mission. As I look forward to the years ahead, I would like to see the Society expand its educational, financial research and advocacy missions. However, these SPA goals require the active participation of SPA members.

The educational mission of SPA continues to be one of the Society's main missions.  Both the fall and winter meetings are extremely well attended.  Although the registration fees do not cover the cost of the meetings, it has been the support of industry that has inured the high quality of the meetings.  As the quantity of knowledge increases exponentially, SPA needs to bring this information to our membership.  As a result the communication committee of SPA will look into expanding the educational component of our web site. Although SPA's website is already established in cyberspace and there is a  web-based newsletter, the SPA web site can still be more interactive with its members. Presently, SPA membership and meeting registration can be done over its website.  However, I can envision a time when the winter and fall meetings will be conducted with real time video conferencing so that those members unable to physically attend the meeting will be able to participate through a cyberspace connection.  I also envision the Society becoming more involved with CME-type activity.  It is apparent from the SPA membership list that the Society’s members include the world’s leaders and researchers in pediatric anesthesia. In addition to educational meetings, maybe the Society should also provide other forms of educational material that members could interact with on the web.   

From a financial perspective the Society continues to meet its expenses. Dues remain as low or lower than any other anesthesia society or organization. Membership dues have not been raised in years and the fall and winter meetings would operate at a loss if it were not for corporate sponsorship. As we look to our financial future, we must realize that corporations merge and that the corporate sponsorship dollars may evaporate.  Thus, SPA must look at alternative ways to remain financially solvent so that it can   continue its missions. Throughout all walks of life most not-for-profit organizations rely on philanthropy. In the ethics discussion of health care during the afternoon session of this year’s annual meeting, we heard William Greeley, MD comment on the vital role that philanthropy plays in helping to meet our hospitals' missions.   I suspect SPA should be no different with regards to its needs for philanthropic dollars.  I submit the first place to begin is with its members.  Two years ago, the Society established the Educational/Research fund for this purpose.  At this time, 70 contributions  ($14,895) have been made to the fund.   If all active, non-resident members of SPA pledged to the Society the remuneration from one operative procedure  (myringotomy and tube procedure— approximately 300 dollars) a year for 5 years, this act of generosity would bring the Society an additional 1.5 million dollars in revenue. This additional income would make the Society’s financial needs independent of corporate sponsorship.

The research mission of SPA remains another major direction for the organization. As questions relating to the science and practice of pediatric anesthesia arise, who is better positioned and better capable of asking and answering the questions of what type of research is needed for children. With the creation of the Educational/Research fund and adequate membership support for such a fund, questions important to the specialty of pediatric anesthesia and the welfare of children can be asked and answered. 

Another SPA mission is its role in pediatric advocacy. Through its liaison with the American Academy of Pediatrics, issues germane to children such as pediatric conscious sedation and definitions of appropriate peri-operative pediatric environments are being addressed. In addition information on agencies that provide operative missions to third world countries is being collated and will soon be distributed on the SPA website. 

As SPA further expands upon its missions, I hope that the Society continues to deliver its members a high quality organization and that you as members continue to derive satisfaction from an organization that is meeting your professional needs. However, what an individual derives from an organization is directly related to what they put into the organization.   SPA needs your support. It needs your support through your continued membership and it needs your philanthropic support. As we recognize the realities and limitations of our organization, it is my hope that all the members will see the society as a good investment and thereby take a more active financial role in the future success of SPA. 

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