Between the Great Meetings

Most of us think about our home society, the CNS, during the fall when we have our annual meeting and great opportunity to share science, network, and sometimes just kibitz as a community of child neurologists.  Lest we forget that the Society is far from dormant but quite active in these winter months, “between the great meetings.”  And we have had some terrific meetings with more to come.

Let me take this opportunity to inform our members about recent happenings:

  1. A CNS task force on the topic of productivity in child neurology and RVUs published an important paper, “Child Neurology in the 21st Century: More than the sum of our RVUs,” in the January 14, 2020 issue of Neurology, authored by Mary Zupanc, Bruce Cohen, Peter Kang, David Mandelbaum, Jonathan Mink, Mark MIntz, Ann Tilton, and Bill Trescher.The effort was predicated by the problems of discouragement and burnout related to an ever increasing workload without additional resources, and proposed initially by Dave Mandelbaum to the Executive Committee.Their survey demonstrated similarities across different practice types and sizes, with high workloads, lack of resources, poor electronic medical record support, and high levels of fatigue and burnout.There were practical solutions offered, including innovative ways to fund child neurology, recognize downstream revenues, and methods to enhance job satisfaction.The paper was highlighted by an accompanying editorial penned by Bill Gaillard and Howard Goodkin, intriguingly entitled, “Putting value back into the ‘V’ of wRVU.”The article is available via a link to Neurology. See also lead author, Mary Zupanc’s Q& with CNS Connections editor, Dan Bonthius in the Winter CNS Connections going out in mid-March.
  2. The Research Committee, chaired by Barry Kosofsky, responded to a request by the NINDS to submit a paper on research priorities for pediatric neurology with a tour de force manuscript first-authored by Josh Bonkowsky along with a powerhouse research committee that covers four domains: Science, Training, Communication, and Workforce Culture.The paper is comprehensive and includes proposed solutions that are practical and achievable.I expect this to culminate in a publication that will be a major contribution to the literature on behalf of the Society.
  3. The Executive Committee has been additionally charged with reviewing multiple projects and submissions, and on behalf of the Society has endorsed two important sets of guidelines:
    1. The first clinical guideline of the Society of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics on Clinical Practice Guideline for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Complex Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, which will be published in the February 2020 issue of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics; and,
    2. An updated position statement developed by the Ethics, Law and Humanities Committee of the AAN, “Ethical issues in clinical research in neurology”.

Planning for the 2020 combined CNS/ICNA meeting is well underway. (See schedule outline posted on the CNS website March 3 and included in the registration brochure (pdf) posted mid-March. The CNS typically receives 25-30 proposals for annual meeting symposia; we received 143 for this year’s joint meeting!  This has led to amazing efforts by the Scientific Planning Committee, chaired by Past-President Jon Mink for the combined entities, with support from CNS co-chairs Erika Augustine and Carl Stafstrom.  The breakdown for the program is on an amazing scale when comparing to a typical CNS meeting, as so far the plan is for:

8 plenary/award lectures, 8 platform sessions with 4 presentations each (32 platforms), 28 parallel symposia, 8 breakfast seminars, 4 junior member sessions, 8 Meet the Expert sessions, 4 workshops, and of course many poster sessions, Special Interest Group meetings, and more, from industry-sponsored satellite seminars to recognition of major contributors to both the CNS and ICNA.

In addition, the popular Neurobiology of Disease in Children (NDC) symposium, chaired by Bernie Maria, is on the important topic of Traumatic Brain Injury.  The Child Neurology Foundation, an important leader in advocacy for our patients and profession, is hosting the symposium: “Shortening the diagnostic odyssey of rare disease in child neurology.”

Ongoing discussions with important partners continue ranging from our affiliation with the American Neurological Association and Annals of Neurology to ways in which the Child Neurology Society and Child Neurology Foundation can work together more synergistically to enhance our profession and the care we provide. 

Meanwhile, there are some long-range projects underway as we also look to the 50th anniversary meeting in Boston for 2021.  These include:

  1. A Second Edition and Updating of the Founders of Child Neurology by Steve Ashwal, which will be a spectacular way to celebrate the history of the Society, its members, and the discipline.
  2. Participation in a workgroup chaired by Ann Tilton to bring together representation from the CNS, AAN, AAP, and CNF.
  3. A plan to comprehensively re-survey our own membership, 20 years after the 2001 Wharton School Child Neurology Workforce Study, that will provide the basis for crafting and sharing a clear and compelling data-based, narrativized sense of the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of child neurology that will help drive and shape interactions among ourselves and with others—patients and parent, hospital administrators, industry, and the general public--in the coming decades.

I look forward to seeing you in San Diego in October.

Phillip L. Pearl, M.D.

President, Child Neurology Society
William G. Lennox Chair
Department of Neurology, Boston Children’s Hospital
Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Music and Health Institute, Berklee College of Music
Boston, MA