The International Society for Study of the Lumbar Spine (ISSLS) began as the seed of an idea born in the mind of Harry Farfan of Canada while he was attending the Fifth Combined Orthopedic Meeting being held in Sydney Australia in April of 1970. Farfan was a member of the faculty and his presentation, a carefully crafted treatise on “The Mechanical Instability of the Lumbar Spine in Torsion” reflected his many years of inquiry and study on compressional and rotational influences directed to the lumbar spine. Because of the great interest created by his presentation Farfan suggested to Alan Dwyer of Australia and Leon Wiltse of the United States that “there must be at least a dozen people all over the world who would be interested in getting together to discuss the lumbar spine”
Drs. Farfan and Dwyer became close collaborators and between them they drew up a list of potential orthopedic physicians from around the world who they believed just might attend an initial meeting for this purpose. A conference was then organized to be held in Longuevil, Canada (just outside of Montreal) from June 19-22, 1974 at the Longuevil Holiday Inn. Remarkably a large number of physicians accepted the invitation to attend and 71 became the charter members of the new International Society for Study of the Lumbar Spine. The warmth and generosity extended by Harry Farfan and his wife Aurelie as hosts set the basic tone of hospitality and cooperation which has continued to be the hallmark of the ISSLS. Unfortunately Dr. Dwyer, due to illness, was unable to enjoy the fruits of his efforts (he died soon afterwards).
The all-orthopedic surgeon Executive Committee formed during this first ISSLS meeting were:
President- Leon Wiltse
Vice-President- William Fielding
Secretary- Henry LaRocca
Coordinating Secretary- Harry Farfan
International Committee Members:
Eastern United States- Richard Rothman
Central United States- Jorge Galante
Western United States- Homer Pheasant
Canada- Marvin Tile
Great Britain & Africa- Michael Sullivan
Europe- Alf Nachemson
Western Pacific- Harry Crock
From its inception ISSLS has been an exclusive organization with limited membership. It did strive to become multi-disciplinary and, because of this, ISSLS became progressively more meaningful.