Kentucky Derbys off to Vinodh Narayanan and the Scientific Selection Committee for an outstanding program this year in Louisville. And thanks as well to all of the members who made the meeting successful with their outstanding presentations, posters and discussions. The meeting encapsulates all that is so wonderful about our Society and continues to stimulate and reinforce the incredible inroads we are making in scientific and clinical discovery and therapeutics.

As incoming president I wanted to share my goals for the next two years.

  1. establish our strategic priorities to optimize use of our resources
  2. engage our entire membership through a more effective communications strategy
  3. encourage our trainees to become junior members and participate in our activities
  4. work toward becoming one with the Child Neurology Foundation so that we have a single voice to advocate for the needs of our patients and their families

The words “strategic plan” are usually accompanied by eye-rolling or lid-lagging, but I think we can put some vital energy into this concept with the help of our Long Range Planning Committee. The American Academy of Neurology has already developed a strategic plan for the Child Neurology Section that focuses on clinical care and practice, education and training, medical economics, and legislative issues and we can interface with this plan to make sure it addresses our priorities as a Society. It is not enough to develop a plan, but also to have the means to implement it and measure our success. The LRPC has developed a white paper that will provide some concrete measures with special attention to our relationship with other organizations like the AAN, and the issue of maintaining our pipeline by attracting junior members.

In an era of fiscal constraints, we have taken some measures to redirect some of our spending for the next year so that we might begin to accomplish some of our goals, especially attracting and supporting our junior members. We must make the CNS relevant to our junior members. Although we will be raising dues to meet increased costs and decreased support from pharma and other sources, we have cut expenses by replacing the annual Winter Executive Committee business meeting with a conference call, thereby eliminating travel, hotel and conference room expenses. In addition, next year, there will be no Presidential Reception on Thursday evening. Both of these measures stand to save us precious dollars to redirect toward some of our strategic priorities.

The National Office will continue to work with the Electronic Communications Committee to enhance our website capabilities, focusing in particular on enhanced communication among committees and special interest groups to further stimulate and sustain the initiatives coming out of the annual meeting, thereby helping us more effectively work toward our long range goals. Work spaces designed to accommodate document sharing and threaded discussions are already established on-line for all committees and SIGs. A PCN listserv was reestablished in late November to ensure continued effective communication between members and officers of the PCN as they wrestle with the ever-changing scope of training requirements.

I would like to put out a plea to all of our Program Directors to ensure that all of your trainees go on-line and apply for Junior Membership in the CNS. Great strides have been made in the past two years in terms of rising numbers joining the Society and participating in its annual meeting. We will continue to use the meeting as a venue for enhanced training and involvement for these folks. Our program committee is already hard at work at a leading-edge clinical and scientific program with new sessions aimed at fully engaging our trainees and early-career neurologists. Remember, the future of our profession rests with these young people and they are a resource to nourish and encourage.

Finally, I would like to have the confusion resolved over the roles of the CNF in regard to the CNS, and have these two organizations again come together as one. This is an opportunity that we must capitalize on. Lawrence Brown and I will work diligently toward this goal.

It is a great honor to serve as the President of the Child Neurology Society. With your help, I believe we can achieve these goals over the next two years, and I am open to making this list even longer. Please send me any comments or suggestions, or contact committee chairs whose names and charges are now listed in this communication.

Sincerely,

Donna Ferriero, MD