Our Mission

The mission of PSSS is to establish an open, didactic forum to disseminate and discuss best practices in the care of the spine.


The Puget Sound Spine Society was founded in 1987.  It started with Jim Robinson, John Fisk, Stan Herring, and David Hanscom having endless conversations in the hallways of Swedish Medical Center. After many such discussions, they decided to include other colleagues for an entire evening to relax and talk. The first gathering at Dr. Hanscom’s home had 10 attendees. After a few months in the same format, a larger venue was proposed. The first “formal” meeting was held at the Seattle Radiology conference room and included 35 attendees. Over the years, the group grew to comprise more than120 physicians from all over western Washington.

Around 1991, what was then called the Puget Sound Spine Interest Group incorporated into a non-profit organization with a 7-member board. That structure stayed in place until 2001. As busy schedules prevented the founding members from maintaining the administrative aspects of the organization, the corporation dissolved around 2001. Then, the members began holding more informal dinners at restaurants, with pharmaceutical and instrumentation industry sponsors.

Responding to the need for increased inter-industry dialogue, the non-profit was re-formed in 2007 and now has over two hundred members on its mailing list. Each quarterly meeting attracts around 50 physicians and corporate representatives. The new meeting format includes time for a lecture, case discussions, and networking with friends and colleagues. The quarterly meetings are held on alternating sides of Lake Washington.

Special Seminars

The group has sponsored several special seminars over the years. The most notable examples include Toward A New Understanding of Pain, featuring keynote speaker Al Harder, author of From Paralysis to Fatigue, and a lecture by Dr. Paul Brand, the discoverer of the cause of leprosy.

Goal—From Founder David Hanscom, MD

We meet to exchange ideas of best practice of spine care across specialties. We do this through formal lectures and lively discussions. It has been a great forum for learning and spreading new concepts.

We feel it is also important to become acquainted with the other physicians we are working with as many of the members share patients. The meetings provide an ideal format and the resulting communication around Puget Sound between physicians has been greatly enhanced as a result of these meetings. Many feel that this is the greatest value of the organization.

The Future

In the coming years, PSSS would like to:

  • Expand its membership
  • Enhance the quality of its quarterly meetings, and increase attendance
  • Upgrade its website for increased member communication and peer support

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