History of the AASP
In early 1995 a group of healthcare professionals
in Chicago recognized the value of establishing an interdisciplinary
forum to help improve the continuity and quality of spinecare. They
founded an organization originally known as the Chicago Spine Society.
The organization began with an informal series of monthly meetings focused
around case discussions with sharing of clinical experiences and perspectives.
As a result of these regular meetings, common goals emerged, and objectives
for the Chicago Spine Society were established. The Society members
recognized that each of the physicians had many things to offer one
another in the course of cooperative patient management.
As word spread, doctors became very interested and contacted the group
from various areas. It became evident that the Chicago Spine Society
could no longer remain as a regional organization. In late 1995 it became
a national association, the American Association of Spine Physicians.
It evolved into an organization with members in nearly every state as
well as members from other countries. On November 5-6, 1995 the AASP
hosted their inaugural international symposium. This landmark symposium
featured as the honored guest Dr. Manohar Panjabi, preeminent authority
on spinal biomechanics, professor at Yale University, and author of
the text Clinical Biomechanics of the Spine. The symposium also
featured the AASP faculty, who discussed the role of cooperative care,
diagnostic methods, and therapeutic options relating to patients with
disorders of the cervical and lumbar spine.
The American Academy of Spine Physicians (formerly the American Association
of Spine Physicians) has a multidisciplinary Academy Council that is
comprised of doctors bringing together over 200 years of collective
experience in the care of patients with spinal disorders. The objectives
of the AASP include providing a multidisciplinary platform for continuing
education. This unparalleled forum helps promote a cooperative approach.
Continuing education emphasizes the benefits of cooperative management,
as well as of diagnostic methods, spine anatomy, biomechanics, spine
neuroscience, treatments and sports medicine-related topics.
Early in 2003 the AASP designed and implemented an unprecedented interactive
and interdisciplinary website capable of reaching physicians worldwide.
The website contained a broad spectrum of member services and scientific
publications. The site provides valuable information for healthcare
professionals, patients, the media and the public. The AASP worked closely
with the Marine Military Academy in the development of an onsite World
Class Human Performance Lab (HPL). Consultants from the AASP recently
assisted the Marine Military Academy to help develop and expand neuromuscular
testing capabilities within the Lab.
In 2003, the AASP launched a unique online continuing education progam
for physicans. Over 30 courses were implemented with online tests and
sophisticated automated grading and recording systems. At the time it
represented one of the most unique self-study programs of its kind.
It leads the way for other professional organizations. During 2003,
shortly after launching the education programs, the AASP unveiled credentialing
progam offering physicians of various dispclines the opportunity to
achieve Diplomate status with the American Academy of Spine Physicians
(DAASP) and Fellow status with the American College of Spine Physicians.
The AASP developed numerous high tech methods of communicating with
members. For example, in 2004 AASP programmers developed a "futuristic"
electronic book (eBook) designed to inform members and potential members
about the AASP. The pages were interactive and linked to key areas of
the AASP website.
During 2005 the AASP designed and implemented an online nationwide "matchmaking
service" to help facilitate the development of multidisciplinary
spinecare referral networks. This combined with the ongoing development
of member benefits and services lead to unprecedented growth of the
organization during 2005.
The AASP expanded its membership categories in 2007 to include other
physican members of the spinecare team such as radiologists, neurologists,
orthopedic surgeons, pain management specialists, and rehabilitation
specialists. During 2007, the AASP also launched one of the most aggressive
national spinecare awareness campaigns ever attempted by any single
group or organization. Multiple strategic initiatives were implemented
to help educate patients, physicians and the public about the spine,
spinecare and the role of spine specialists. The AASP brought together
a team of graphic artists, computer programmers, medical writers and
physician consultants to initiate the development of one of the largest
multimedia databases of "need-to-know" information about the
spine and spinecare. The multimedia database of information will represent
one of the most comprehensive "need-to-know" databases on
the spine and spinecare for the public.
During fall of 2007 and spring of 2008 the AASP pioneered a Practice
Development Initiative for members. The AASP developed a variety of
initiatives including an online PowerPoint slide library and online
brochure library. More than 60 brochures were developed and implemented
online. Qualified members are entitled to access and download the resources
at no cost. The professional appearance of the brochures, their content
and the unifying branding effect helped to facilitate an integrated
approach to spinecare.
The AASP influence continued to grow. In 2008, the AASP was invited
to help develop the infrastructure and informational databases for the
International Spine Association (ISA). The ISA is a not-for-profit organization
comprised of International Divisions representing countries on six continents.
The primary mission of the ISA is to improve the quality of spinecare
throughout the world through education. The ISA is committed to disseminating
need-to-know information to the public through the World Wide Web in
numerous languages, covering many topics related to the spine. The ISA
also provides information about spine organizations and an International
Directory of Spinecare Products. The relationship between the AASP and
the ISA represents one of the strongest and most influential of its
kind. Working together, both organizations collectively reach all members
of the spinecare field and subsequently are positioned to "shape
the future of spinecare" in the United States and abroad. The AASP
also co-developed a Career Enhancement Program for members. This included
access to resources for finding employment and navigating career transitions.
Participation with the AASP was not limited to individual members but
was expanded in 2008 to include the assistance of companies which serve
the spinecare field. The AASP developed a variety of corporate opportunities
which were introduced during the spring of 2008. These programs include
participation in the AASP Buying Advantage Program and/or becoming an
Educational Sponsor or Partner. This development allows for companies
and physicans to work together to improve the delivery of spinecare.
In 2009 the AASP expanded its membership
to include all members of the spinecare team. Non-physicans are provided
with the opportunity to join the Academy as Affiliate members. This
important step was taken to facilitate the integration of multidisciplinary
spinecare for the benefit of the public. In 2009 the AASP also worked
with the International Spine Association to develop the International
Directory of Spine Specialists. This represents a highly visible directory
available to all qualified healthcare professionals who care for patients
with spine disorders.
The directory offers user friendly search
function and displays full page professional profiles to serve those
looking for a specialist. The International Directory also houses a
subdirectory of multidisciplinary spinecare facilites to assist those
looking for integrated spinecare. Members of the directories as well
as other healthcare professionals are encouraged to use prescription
pads which are made available to direct their patients to the online
Public Information Center (PIC) managed by the ISA. Reciprocal online
links were placed on the AASP website, the ISA website and on various
spine specialty directories to integrate the information process for
At the beginning of 2010
the American Academy of Spine Physicians decided to offer credentialing
to non-physician healthcare professionals who are members. This commitment
was made to advance the quality of spinecare, to help integrate spinecare,
and to enhance the role of all members of the spinecare team. A division
referred to as the American College of Spine Specialists was added to
the Academy to confer credentialing and to maintain records. AASP non-physician
members of the spinecare team (Affiliate Members) can participate in
continuing education courses. They can acquire credits which can be
applied towards Diplomate status with the American College of Spine
Specialists (DACSS) and Fellow status with the American College of Spine
At the beginning of 2010 the AASP launched
a new and improved website for its members. The website offers new services,
easier navigation as well as social and professional networking resources