Message from the President

By: Fedor Lurie, MD - AVF President

The memories of the meeting in New Orleans are still fresh, but preparations for the next Annual Meeting are going full speed. The abstract submission is open, and the Program Committee, chaired by Dr. Colleen Moore, is working with AVF staff on content and logistics. The structure of the meeting was presented and approved at the Board of Directors meeting on June 20th, 2014.

The Board reviewed the current activities of the Forum, which are many and growing. The Chair of Educational council, Dr. William Marston, reported the success of the Spring Fellows Course chaired by Dr. Kathleen Gibson. Thirty fellows participated, representing a broadening spectrum of specialties addressed by the Fellows Course.  Targeted specialties now include Vascular Surgery, Interventional Radiology, Interventional Cardiology, Vascular Medicine and associated programs. This fantastic educational resource still has a room for growth, and can accommodate up to 40 participants.

This year, Dr. Ruth Bush organized an AVF session at the CICE meeting in Brazil. The AVF session filled a large room beyond capacity. The 3-hour session remained full for the entire time. The richness of the program and quality of speakers were unparalleled, prompting the organizers to ask for a full-day AVF session in the main plenary room next year. This task will be headed by Dr. Patrick Muck.

Dr. Joseph Raffetto is leading the development of the Vein Forum: Comprehensive Venous Management for the Practicing Clinician to be held in Boston on September 5-6. The program of this two-day course is a unique combination of didactics and case-based workshops.

A new program in the planning phase is the West Coast Vein Forum. This educational event is targeted to regional practitioners who do not usually attend large vascular meetings.  The Committee, headed by Dr. Daniel Monahan, has developed the program and is working on promotion and implementation.

The Screening Committee is investigating innovative ways to extend our screening program, potentially collaborating with the Website Committee chaired by Dr. Kelly Brown.

The Research Council Chair, Dr. Brajesh Lal, reported substantial progress in the research activities.  The number of applicants competing for the BSN-Jobst Research grant is progressively increasing. Substantial effort of the Research Council and the AVF Foundation in increasing the size of the grant was impressively successful. Thanks to the generosity and vision of the leaders of BSN-Jobst, the grant total will be increased to $100,000. The Research Committee chaired by Dr. Jose Diaz substantially improved the application database, administrative structure, and objective and balanced peer-review process.

In close collaboration with the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) our task force headed by Drs. Thomas O’Donnell and Marc Passman completed a gigantic task of writing  the Clinical Practice Guidelines of the Management of Venous Leg Ulcers. It is already available on the JVS website, and will be printed next month.

Last year the task force for Animal Models of Venous Disease chaired by Dr. Diaz held their first meeting and Symposium during the 2014 AVF Annual Meeting. The Animal Models meeting was well-attended, included an exciting discussion and prompted the initiative to develop a consensus on appropriate use of different models. Such a document may be an important step in extending the Forum’s role, and promoting research in the basic sciences of venous and lymphatic disorders. The task force is working on forming a group of experts to work on an animal models consensus paper.

The Secretary of the Forum, Dr. Elna Masuda, outlined the activities of the Administrative Council, which includes the Program Committee, Bylaws Committee, Membership Committee, and the Government Relations & Reimbursement task force. Last year we added 90 new members to our Society, and 40 new members joined us in the first quarter of 2014. The chair of the Membership Committee, Dr. Bush leads the effort to better define our recruitment goals and strategy. 

The Government Relations & Reimbursement task force under Dr. Harold Welch’s leadership addressed a number of important policy changes that could negatively affect the care for patients with venous and lymphatic diseases. Working together with SVS, SIR and ACP the task force engaged in direct communication with payers reversing some of the proposed policy changes. This is definitely just a beginning of a long and laborious process, and we plan to build on our successes and advance this activity.

A number of new initiatives and directions were discussed by the Board. One particular area of attention was the need for an enhanced public awareness program. This will be defined during the strategic planning process, which we will continue this year.

With such an active life, the Forum is truly an exciting Society. Being a part of it means active participation by volunteering for a committee or task force, presenting at an Annual Meeting or regional course, or creating a new initiative. I encourage all members, especially those who recently joined, to volunteer to serve on an AVF committee when we release the Call of Volunteers, or contact a committee chair or any of the AVF officers and become an active part of building the future of venous surgery and medicine.

[return to issue]