Setting a New Course

If you do not change your direction, you are likely to end up where you are headed.

 ––Chinese Proverb 


The Child Neurology Education and Research Foundation was created in 2000, and, almost from the start, there was confusion and consternation about how the new Foundation and the Child Neurology Society should relate. The unexpected confusion probably stemmed partly from lack of coordinated effort and partly from poor definition of the respective roles of the two organizations. Whatever its source, the situation likely made it more difficult for the organizations to achieve their individual and collective missions. Clearly this was a situation that we could ill-afford to continue.

My purpose here is to report what I believe is a resolution of this issue. Earlier this year the boards of the Child Neurology Society and the Child Neurology Foundation approved a new working relationship that should create a pathway for the two organizations to work toward shared goals without the confusion and angst of previous years. Our new approach is not based on a formal reorganization of either organization but rather on a common commitment to coordinate our efforts, on better recognition of each organization’s strengths, and on a more precise partition of duties.

The division of effort between the Society and the Foundation is based largely on a common sense assessment of what each organization does best and the belief that some tasks will be much easier to achieve with solidarity of purpose. Underpinning this effort is a commitment by the leadership of the two organizations to work more closely toward common goals. It is impossible to anticipate and assign all future needs, so the short list below is not intended to be comprehensive.

The Society will continue to be responsible for the programing and staging of our annual meeting as well as various other member support services. In addition, the Society will promote other professional education activities and encourage workforce recruitment. The Society is responsible for funding and selection of professional achievement awards such as the Hower Award, the Sachs Lectureship, and the Lifetime Achievement Awards. The CNS will interface with other organizations such as the American Academy of Neurology, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and the Professors of Child Neurology.

As in the past, the Foundation will be responsible for the development and oversight of advocacy programs as well as fund-raising to support such programs. They will also continue to develop and support lay and industry awards. The Foundation will continue to promote research relevant to child neurology and work to fund this research. The Foundation will now assume primary responsibility for fund raising for the Society’s endowment (see page 8), starting with the Philip R. Dodge Young Investigator Award endowment and subsequently beginning to endow other programs for either the Foundation or the Society.

The two organizations will coordinate important joint activities and try to become mutually supportive for all other activities. We will prioritize endowment fundraising needs. Once the funding priority is established, we will work to boost fundraising for the selected goal, regardless of which organization is the primary beneficiary. Research awards will be selected by the same committee regardless of which organization is the primary sponsor.

The CNS and the CNF remain separate entities, but our aim is to create a cohesive partnership that will accomplish more on behalf of child neurologists and the patients we serve. Society members may not notice dramatic day-to-day changes. Requests for charitable donations will be clearly designated for a specific purpose, and the coordination of fundraising efforts should end confusion. We believe that a similar unified approach when asking for support from industry or other sources is also likely to be more successful. The Foundation is well adapted for developing advocacy programs and for fund raising for both organizations. The Society runs a terrific annual meeting and provides an array of other services of vital importance to our members individually and to the profession as a whole. The new approach is working well so far, and we are now headed in the right direction.