Craig A Peters , MD FAAP
It is with very mixed emotions that I approach the annual fall meeting of Pediatric Urology this year. I first attended an AAP Section on Urology meeting in Washington, DC in 1986, and it has remained a keystone of the academic year for me since. We are looking at our final academic Pediatric Urology meeting with the AAP NCE this year.
Our fall meeting in New Orleans will be an excellent last hurrah. Under the guidance of Pat McKenna as Program Chair, the meeting is focused on innovation in our field, including new scientific concepts, techniques and ways to facilitate change in our professional activities. We will have the first live surgery telecast at a Section on Urology meeting; we have unique invited speakers to share their experiences in innovation in several areas, including Ralph Clayman. Panels on education, surgical technique and a Master Class on robotics and pediatric oncology are included as well. Local Arrangements Chair, Joe Ortenberg has secured the World War II Museum near the convention center for what will be a wonderful banquet on Saturday night following the Surgical Specialties reception. This reception, initiated in Boston last year, is a chance for surgeons of various specialties to meet and interact. Finally, Saturday afternoon will be the Plenary Surgical Specialties session dealing with Pediatric Anesthesia and concerns about neurodevelopmental effects, a critically important topic that continues to evolve. I hope you will be joining us at the meeting and can participate in the many planned activities.
Breaking from the AAP Fall Meeting
Our separation from the AAP NCE for our fall meeting has been coming for a long time, but as it approaches, it is important that we recall why this has occurred and what the future holds for our academic meeting. There is no question that the partnership of Pediatric Urology and the AAP was very helpful in the development of a distinct identify for Pediatric Urology and ultimately in the creation of the Certificate of Added Qualification. The AAP is the major advocate for our patients, children with urologic disease. That is a broad group to serve with many components and we are in fact a small part. The AAP, therefore has to manage its various other professional parts and could not treat us differently than other subspecialties. With the increasingly stringent rules related to CME and sponsorship, it became more difficult for the section to bring in financial support that was dedicated to Pediatric Urology. Our meetings continued and were supported by the AAP, but only just. We were unable as a Section to develop independent programs to support education and research at the level our community should. All of this was difficult to justify with the cost of the meeting and membership in the AAP. Discussions with the AAP leadership regarding these frustrations could not reach a satisfactory conclusion. In a survey of the membership, it was clear that the Section preferred to go to a separate meeting and most preferred to have two meetings to maintain flexibility and independence.
While there is the feeling that one meeting per year may be adequate, if we give up a fall meeting now, it may be very difficult to resurrect it later. Fortunately, the Pediatric Urology community has joined together, and under the sponsorship and administrative support of the Society for Pediatric Urology, we will be having a fall meeting that holds great potential for developing into an even stronger academic pediatric Urology meeting than we have had.
The New Fall Meeting
The new format for the fall meeting will be one of collaborative organization among the various groups within Pediatric Urology to permit educational flexibility and innovation, wider inclusion and participation, and more corporate partnerships within appropriate boundaries. The organizers will aim to choose smaller cities to reduce costs. Organizational management will be undertaken by PRRI, an organizational management company with significant experience in urological meetings, including the SPU and many AUA section meetings. They will also be valuable partners in developing more corporate support for our educational activities. Program planning for the fall meeting will be carried out by a committee with representation from the AAP Section on Urology, the Society for Pediatric Urology, the Society for Fetal Urology and the American Association of Pediatric Urology. Other collaborations are being explored, including with the European Society of Pediatric Urology. Publication of the proceedings of the meeting in the Journal of Pediatric Urology is being actively explored. The Pediatric Supplement to the Journal of Urology will be made up of the papers presented and submitted form the SPU spring meeting beginning with the 2013 meeting, to be published in the spring of 2014. This combination has the potential to expand our publication potential form our pediatric urology meetings. The new meeting format is a change, but permits innovation in our meetings that is needed and timely. Everyone in pediatric urology should feel that they have a part in determining how their meeting should be run and we would strongly encourage your active participation.
Many in pediatric urology are asking what the value of remaining in the AAP may be, since the meeting is not longer associated with that organization. Not everyone will want to remain in the Academy, but I would encourage you to strongly consider it for several reasons directly connected with the goals of our professional community. It is obvious that the health care environment is changing and the direction is not defined. Being part of an organization that is attempting to manage that instability as advocates for our patients provides a way for you to be part of weathering the turbulent waters ahead. We also have advocates in the AUA and the American College of Surgeons, but the needs of children are distinct and often neglected. The Academy remains the strongest voice on a national level for children’s health care. Your participation can help; perhaps in a small way at first, but by remaining engaged, we can continue to influence the direction of the Academy. The recent UTI Guidelines demonstrate the need for our participation, which may not have been what it could have been, but our response has been heard. There will be more guidelines produced, and insurance companies and government agencies will look to these for guidance. Our participation is important.
The Section on Urology will remain an active part of the pediatric urology community, contributing to policy and decision-making as well as education related to our patients and serving as a voice for our patients. I will certainly remain in the AAP and I hope many of you will as well.
It has been a pleasure and honor to serve as chair for this rather interesting year and I hope I have earned the trust placed in me. I welcome comments and suggestions and I encourage you to participate in whatever way you can to help enhance our profession of Pediatric Urology.