President’s Message: Looking Forward

Thomas Davis, MD

Welcome to 2023!  Each new year is a chance to put into perspective the past year, and begin anew with plans to build upon the foundation laid by our predecessors.

Harry Gould, MD, our immediate past president, with the help of our board, Lori Postal our executive director, our vendors, sponsors, and speakers have been able to guide us through perhaps the most turbulent period in Southern Pain Society’s 36 years. The last three years with Covid 19 and a rapidly changing healthcare landscape presented unprecedented challenges.

The Southern Pain Society’s annual meeting in New Orleans, “Pain Management: The Times They Are Still A-Changin’”, in October 2022, was our first live meeting in over 2 years. This meeting helped to reaffirm the importance of in-person collaboration. In a healthcare environment which is often demeaning and confrontational, with record burnout and colleagues who have lost their lives, SPS and the other societies of likeminded individuals can make a more hopeful existence and perhaps refocus where our focus should be: helping those who are suffering in pain.

How do we build an even more successful Southern Pain Society? I believe the seeds for greater involvement and proliferation of pain education have already been sown. This past meeting saw our largest number of residents, fellows, and student involvement with research abstracts. In no small part, was this due to the mentoring by board members such as Alethia Sellers, MD and Casey Murphy, MD.  Hopefully, we may see a greater number of mentors involved from other institutions throughout the south. Board member Norman Harden, MD, has been able to use an abundant and varied research background to offer peer review guidance, and plant yet another seed for greater involvement with the investigation of pain.

During the peak of Covid we were able to launch a YouTube channel, and maintain Facebook and social media presence. These outreaches are in their infancy but hopefully will grow with board and SPS members, speakers, and vendor support.

Our finance committee under Treasurer Randy Roig, MD, and President elect James Weisberg, PhD, continue to offer a steady hand in an environment not always friendly to non- profit societies. Our Secretary, Eric Royster, MD has utilized his breadth of abilities from conference committees and local knowledge of pain providers in Louisiana, to offer talks on interventional pain. All of these volunteers, plus the past presidents and board members, help to keep SPS vibrant. To those who are not involved but who are reading this, please consider joining us.

SPS has been successful because of our diversity of interests and practices, and because we acknowledge pain and that the treatment of the individual takes a community. I am hopeful that the forces that limit helping our patients can be minimized. To help these patients we need everyone to join us: students, residents, fellows, psychologists, nurses, interventionists, anesthesiologists, psychiatrists, orthopedists, sports medicine, neurosurgeons, physiatrists, rheumatologists, neurologists, primary care, dentists, physical and occupation therapists, chiropractors, pharmacists, researchers, vendors and sponsors, patient advocates and the family caregivers in the 18 states and territories that make up our Society.