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Thread: PVA / ASCIP Separation

  1. #1

    PVA / ASCIP Separation

    I was astounded to get an email from PVA announcing a dissolution of their relationship with the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals. While I knew that ASCIP was planning on self-sufficiency within the next few years, this seems to be a complete severance of ties. Not only was the PVA-sponsored ASCIP website taken down, so was the website from the September Annual Meeting in Vegas. Members were still completing course evaluations. Instead of seeing either of those websites, this letter appeared instead...


  2. #2
    A sad day. While PVA says they are still supportive of the Academy (and its four divisions), the reality is that without PVA's financial support, the Academy is doomed, along with the journal (the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine), and it is unlikely that a year from now it will even be in existence. The late Jim Peters (former EPVA president) who presided over the founding of AASCIN and AASCIPSW is making that whirling noise you can hear from his grave. I have been a AASCIN member since then (1983) and now an Academy member...just paid my dues for this year, which now appears to be a waste of money. ASIA will now be the only interdisciplinary SCI organization in the USA (ISCoS is nearly all physicians) and even they pay only a token nod to any professional who is not a physician.

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    Veterans,

    This link is to a related thread in the Announcements section.

    http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthread.php?t=142974


    I'd be interested to know any opinions veterans might have about the dissolution. I'd suggest posting them here since "Announcements" does not strike me as a real forum.


  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    A sad day. While PVA says they are still supportive of the Academy (and its four divisions), the reality is that without PVA's financial support, the Academy is doomed, along with the journal (the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine), and it is unlikely that a year from now it will even be in existence. The late Jim Peters (former EPVA president) who presided over the founding of AASCIN and AASCIPSW is making that whirling noise you can hear from his grave. I have been a AASCIN member since then (1983) and now an Academy member...just paid my dues for this year, which now appears to be a waste of money. ASIA will now be the only interdisciplinary SCI organization in the USA (ISCoS is nearly all physicians) and even they pay only a token nod to any professional who is not a physician.

    (KLD)
    Kathy,

    I am puzzled by why the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals (ASCIP) has become so dependent on the PVA that the withdrawal of one sponsor would endanger the academy and its Journal of Spinal Cord Injury Medicine. Perhaps, in the long run, ASCIP should be more independent. The letter from the PVA suggested that the breakup resulted form ASCIP choosing to go a different direction. Disagreements concerning direction happen all the time and it is one of the reasons why professional organizations must diversify their funding sources.

    It is true that there are not enough meetings that are oriented towards the huge number of non-physician health care professions who take care of people with spinal cord injury. In some ways, the ISCOS meetings are stepping into this gap. For example, the ISCOS meeting that I attended in India was probably 50% non-physicians. In fact, I think that the meeting has become predominantly non-medical in its orientation. As you know, ISCOS arose from IMSOP, which stands for the International Medical Society of Paraplegia. It is the international organization that is represented by the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) in the United States.

    I was surprised to find that the American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Nurses (AASCIN) and the American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Psychologist and Social Workers (AASCIPSW) web sites says "Site unavailable" and both of their URL's, i.e. http://nurses.ascipro.org/ link directly to the PVA letter. Why have these organizations become so dependent on the PVA? After all, spinal cord injury is much more than just paralyzed vets. There seems to be no discussion of the cause of the rift.

    Wise.
    Last edited by Wise Young; 11-21-2010 at 06:49 PM.

  5. #5
    In the beginning there was the APS (a physician organization). It was partially supported by the EPVA, when the EPVA (now the United Spinal Association) was another (although very large and wealthy) chapter of the PVA. Jim Peters and a number of other leaders in that organization wanted to do something for SCI nurses, who at that time were not allowed to join ASIA nor IMSOP. This was in the late 1970s. In 1981 the EPVA, working with a group of VA SCI nurses met in Las Vegas and formed the AASCIN. It was originally only for VA SCI nurses, but in 1983 membership was opened to all licensed nurses working at least 50% of the time in SCI care. Around that time, EPVA was approached by a group of SCI social workers and psychologists and agreed to fund a similar organization called the AASCIPSW.

    The EPVA sponsored not only the costs of the annual conference, but provided office and support staff, and subsidized the journals for all 3 organizations (APS, AASCIN, & AASCIPSW). Members could even apply for grants to defray the costs of attending the annual conference (in Las Vegas through the 1990s). Three journals (SCI Nurse, SCI Psychosocial Processes, and the JSCM) were also supported.

    The SCI Therapy Leadership Council was a bit of a late comer to all this, and did not join in or get funding until just recently, about the time that the EPVA stepped down from their funding, which had been on the decline. The funding had allowed membership dues to be kept low enough that staff nurses and social workers could afford to be members (which is not true of many other organizations such as ASIA, which opened its membership only to those non-physician members with advanced degrees in the 1990s, and only at the "associate" level). The majority of members of ASCIP are still VA employees.

    At the urging of Vivian Beyda and other EPVA staff, the PVA agreed to step into the sponsorship of the now four organizations. 3 years ago it was decided by the boards, but primarily by the PVA, to merge the four organizations into the ASCIP, and to cease production of all the journals except TJSM. There was still a loose structure of four divisions, but it was clear that PVA, as the primary sponsor, was running the show. I am not privy to all the politics involved as a committee, but not board member, but I know that a lot of members chaffed at the control that PVA wanted over the organization in return for their funding.

    The reality is that without significant financy sponsorship, the ASCIP cannot ctoninue to function. It is not realistic to expect members to continue if dues triple or more. Hiring office staff, and an executive director, renting office space, paying for expenses related to the annual conference, and publishing even one journal would require at least this much of a dues increase. ASIA would not be able to exist as it is now without significant sponsorship (via paid staff salaries and office space) from both RIC and the Shepherd Center. Other than the PVA or perhaps the CDRPF, there are no other organizations out there right now interested in SCI care and professionals who are likely to step up to fill this gap.

    If Mary Ann comes back, she may be able to shed a little more light on this as a fairly recent AASCIN president.

    (KLD)

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    In the beginning there was the APS (a physician organization). It was partially supported by the EPVA, when the EPVA (now the United Spinal Association) was another (although very large and wealthy) chapter of the PVA. Jim Peters and a number of other leaders in that organization wanted to do something for SCI nurses, who at that time were not allowed to join ASIA nor IMSOP. This was in the late 1970s. In 1981 the EPVA, working with a group of VA SCI nurses met in Las Vegas and formed the AASCIN. It was originally only for VA SCI nurses, but in 1983 membership was opened to all licensed nurses working at least 50% of the time in SCI care. Around that time, EPVA was approached by a group of SCI social workers and psychologists and agreed to fund a similar organization called the AASCIPSW.

    The EPVA sponsored not only the costs of the annual conference, but provided office and support staff, and subsidized the journals for all 3 organizations (APS, AASCIN, & AASCIPSW). Members could even apply for grants to defray the costs of attending the annual conference (in Las Vegas through the 1990s). Three journals (SCI Nurse, SCI Psychosocial Processes, and the JSCM) were also supported.

    The SCI Therapy Leadership Council was a bit of a late comer to all this, and did not join in or get funding until just recently, about the time that the EPVA stepped down from their funding, which had been on the decline. The funding had allowed membership dues to be kept low enough that staff nurses and social workers could afford to be members (which is not true of many other organizations such as ASIA, which opened its membership only to those non-physician members with advanced degrees in the 1990s, and only at the "associate" level). The majority of members of ASCIP are still VA employees.

    At the urging of Vivian Beyda and other EPVA staff, the PVA agreed to step into the sponsorship of the now four organizations. 3 years ago it was decided by the boards, but primarily by the PVA, to merge the four organizations into the ASCIP, and to cease production of all the journals except TJSM. There was still a loose structure of four divisions, but it was clear that PVA, as the primary sponsor, was running the show. I am not privy to all the politics involved as a committee, but not board member, but I know that a lot of members chaffed at the control that PVA wanted over the organization in return for their funding.

    The reality is that without significant financy sponsorship, the ASCIP cannot ctoninue to function. It is not realistic to expect members to continue if dues triple or more. Hiring office staff, and an executive director, renting office space, paying for expenses related to the annual conference, and publishing even one journal would require at least this much of a dues increase. ASIA would not be able to exist as it is now without significant sponsorship (via paid staff salaries and office space) from both RIC and the Shepherd Center. Other than the PVA or perhaps the CDRPF, there are no other organizations out there right now interested in SCI care and professionals who are likely to step up to fill this gap.

    If Mary Ann comes back, she may be able to shed a little more light on this as a fairly recent AASCIN president.

    (KLD)
    Thanks very much for the explanation. As you know, I knew Vivian Beyda and the people at EPVA for many years and also spoke at the AASCIPSW meetings in LV for a number of years. I also served on the PVA scientific advisory board for several years. I knew of course that the leadership of these organizations worked with each other and that PVA was a sponsor but had not suspected that the PVA was the sole sponsor.

    It would seem to me that this is an opportunity for a more professional ASCIP to emerge, one that is diversified in its representation and sponsorship. As you know, spinal cord injury care begat the field of rehabilitation medicine. Before World War II, there were no rehabilitation doctors. Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation was the first medical field that emphasized team care by nurses, therapists, social workers, and physicians.

    Many companies should be very happy to support such an organization because so many products and supplies are used by professionals who deliver rehabilitation care. It is unfortunate that this rift happened in such a sudden and public fashion. I cannot imagine that it was the intent of the PVA to leave all these groups in the lurch, including the journal.

    If there is any way that I can help, please let me know.

    Wise.

  7. #7
    I received this email yesterday:

    ASIA members please pass this email on to your colleagues.

    "From the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals (11/19/2010):

    It is important for you to know that some major changes are occurring with the Academy of SCI Professionals. On November 17th, Paralyzed Veterans of America announced their decision to discontinue their involvement in the Academy and we respect PVA's decision to pursue their interests. We are grateful for the support that PVA extended to the Academy in our early development and value our collaboration over the past two years. Going forward, we continue the process of maturing into a vibrant organization focused on the care of persons with spinal cord injury or impairment. The Academy would like to assure all of its members and potential members that the Academy leadership is working diligently on moving the Academy’s mission forward and transitioning the Academy web site, list serve and association management. Look for coming emails providing updates on Academy activities including plans for the annual conference. The Academy will continue to offer the highest quality educational experience in SCI care and rehabilitation through our Annual Conference. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine is also entering a new era with a new publishing company, Maney Publishing, which will bring to the journal and your membership benefits a new look, access to on-line editions, and options to benefit from some of Maney's other publications. We continue to have a committed membership coupled with strong leadership and look forward to a long and fruitful future. "

  8. #8
    I am sure that a search for additional sponsorship is in the works, but it is not a good time to look for corporate donations....PVA itself has suffered from a sharp decline in donations over the last 3 years (as have many non-profits). Organizations which are larger (such as ARN) have also seen their previous sponsorships dry up.

    Perhaps now that we have more big-ticket DME-related members (ie, the therapists) in the organization, perhaps this will improve, but I can tell you that the nurses don't generate a lot of funding through catheter makers or wound care products, since these companies generally already have strong relationships with organizations such as the wound care or urological nurses' organizations.

    (KLD)

  9. #9

    Latest ASCIP Communication to members

    Received just now:

    November 22, 2010

    To our Academy members, colleagues and friends of the spinal cord injury care community:

    By now, many of you have heard that our 2-year partnership with the Paralyzed Veterans of America has ended. The Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals moves on toward the independence that will ensure our long-term viability. We are very grateful for the support of PVA for the past two years, but understand their decision to proceed in a different direction.

    It is important to review key decisions over the past 5 years. We recognize and greatly appreciate the support from United Spinal/EPVA from the time of our inception. Their full underwriting of our conference in the early years, made it possible to create a forum to improve education in SCI care and rehabilitation. However, as financial realities required that United Spinal begin decreasing funding of attendees to the conference the professional associations (APS, ASCIN, AASCIPSW, TLC) began meeting to discuss the change in our business model, Over the course of a few years, the leaders of the four associations realized, with the assistance of Paul Tobin of United Spinal and Maurice Jordan of PVA, that our long term sustainability required a different business model; one that is less dependent on a single entity for financial survival.

    The last five years has been a time of growth for our unified organization, through relationship building into trust and friendship. Your board has been committed to a strategy of integration, a strategy that has resulted in two consecutive successful annual meetings and exceeding goals of our sections and committees. Membership has grown, we launched an integrated Clinical Practice Committee poised to add value to our Academy and profession, and have added a new publisher for our Journal that has a track record of success. Bringing together the spinal cord injury physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, therapists and professionals under unified governance reflects our longstanding common commitment to our mission and the teamwork that promotes optimum patient care.

    Your Board is taking the necessary steps to ensure that the Academy continues to thrive and grow in its mission to promote excellence in the care of persons with paralysis. Your Academy Leadership took immediate steps to secure our financial accounts, and to secure alternative communication pathways so that we can ensure that our organization's work continues with great enthusiasm. We are working quickly, but with diligence, to secure the necessary management and administrative assistance to conduct the annual meeting, publish your journal, and grow our enterprise for the benefit of individuals with SCI/D. In addition, we are very excited about new and expanded educational opportunities we will explore to give you even greater benefits from your membership. Look for our new website very soon and further communication about future events and activities.

    Finally, your Governance Board solicits your questions and input during this process. As your professional colleagues, we have been elected by the membership to serve the mission of the Academy, and we take this responsibility very seriously.

    Thank you for your continued support of Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals and our ongoing commitment to ensure quality medical and rehabilitation care for those with spinal cord injury/disease. Please forward your ideas to your section board presidents or any member of the Governance Board listed below.

    Finally, have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.

    Best regards-

    Terrie Price, President (PSW)
    William Bockenek, Vice President. APS President
    Elaine Rogers, Treasurer (TLC)
    Mary Ann Reilly, Secretary (ASCIN)
    Sigmund Hough PSW President
    Linda Marler, ASCIN President
    Angela Stewart (TLC)
    Diane Johnston (TLC)
    Laura Johnson (ASCIN)
    Jason Mask (PSW)
    Fred Frost (APS)
    Steve Kirshblum (APS)
    (Amy Icarangal-TLC President)


    (KLD)

  10. #10

    Smile

    I have read the thread on this topic and wanted to clarify some of the misconceptions regarding ASCIP. First and foremost the leadership of ASCIP, made up of physicians, nurses, psychologists and social workers, and therapists, are all extremely grateful to the organizations that have been sponsors over the years; most specifically EPVA (ultimately becoming USA) as well as the PVA. Our gratitude, no matter how many times stated, would not do justice to express to them our appreciation - that has led to our current status of a flourishing, and truly interdisciplinary organization.

    ASCIP, and I disclose that I am on the Governance Board and have been involved with this organization – APS most specifically before the merger- for almost 20 years, was the culmination of SCI professionals from varied specialty areas (i.e. physicians, psychologists and social workers, and nurses) who saw the importance of joining together with EPVA”s guidance, along with a then newly established therapists section, to promote education, research and advocacy for all to benefit the SCI community. In the two years we have been together as a formal organization we have grown to over 1,100 members, have had two successful conferences (one in association with ASIA), have a new publisher who is experienced in publishing medical journals, and whose leadership is experienced and collaborative. We have a close working relationship with our sister organizations in SCI and most importantly look forward to a bright future continuing our mission.

    “Times no doubt are a changing” is how the saying goes. In the field of SCI, pessimism is a luxury we do not have – especially when it comes to what we have to look forward to. As an organization involved in SCI, I believe we have vision and structure to lead us in a path to success. I hope the membership and field as a whole rallies behind our goals.

    SK

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