Gunnar BJ Andersson named chairman of International Advocates for Spine Patients

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Orthopaedic spine surgeon Gunnar BJ Andersson, has taken the position of chairman of the Board of Directors of International Advocates for Spine Patients (IASP), sister organisation and patient advocacy arm of the International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery (ISASS).

Andersson is chairman emeritus of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, USA. 

Andersson says, “My patients and their successes with surgical intervention have kept me going all these years and as chairman of IASP, I intend to keep fighting for high quality, widely accessible, and cost effective spine care for patients around the world.”

Andersson previously served as vice chair of IASP and was the 2014-2015 president of ISASS and 2015-2016 co-president of ISASS. Andersson is also a past president of the Orthopaedic Research Society, the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine and the American Academy of Disability Evaluating Physicians. He has been a council member of the National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at NIH, Chairman of the Research Committee at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and a member of three Institute of Medicine committees.

For Andersson, the patient’s voice is always the most important. “Patients are routinely seeking pain relief and increased mobility when they see a spine surgeon,” Andersson says. “Every patient with back pain is not a candidate for surgical intervention, but the ones that are deserve access to exceptionally trained surgeons armed with the best technology and health insurance policies that reflect the most up-to-date research to determine coverage.”   

Andersson received his medical degree from the University of Göteborg, Sweden, did his residency at Sahlgren University Hospital and also obtained a Doctor of Philosophy in medical science at the University of Göteborg in 1974. After a fellowship at the London Hospital (London, UK) he joined the faculty at the University of Göteborg for ten years. In 1985, he moved to the USA and Rush University Medical Center. Andersson was chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery from 1994 to 2008. During his tenure, he served as the president of the Medical Staff, the vice dean for Surgical Sciences and Services, and the senior vice president of Medical Affairs, each for two-year periods.

Andersson’s research interests are disc degeneration, epidemiology, and occupational biomechanics. He is the author of over 260 original publications, over 160 books and book chapters and over 440 abstracts.  Andersson is a member of 15 Editorial Boards, a Deputy Editor for Spine, editor-in-chief of Contemporary Spine Surgery and Spinal News International, and an associate editor of Clinical Biomechanics

“I would like to thank outgoing IASP chairman, Thomas Errico, for his service to IASP—I am proud of how IASP has grown under his leadership,” says Andersson.

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