Key Features of the Emerging New CNS
By Peter Kang, MD
It was exhilarating to see so many of you in Vancouver this October for what I consider to be our annual reunion. You, the membership, are the heart and soul of the CNS. What I found most energizing was to see us exploring new ground while maintaining our most cherished traditions. Some key features of the emerging new CNS include:
- Ongoing educational offerings throughout the year that reflect updated means of communicating and learning, including the webinar series from the Research Committee and our podcasts, along with the valuable maintenance of certification (MOC) offerings.
- Vibrant Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that will continue to serve as laboratories and hubs for new ideas and mutual support.
- More formal committee governance and structures, with set term limits that will enable more members to cycle through these valuable groups and more defined charges from the CNS Board.
- A merger with the Professors and Educators of Child Neurology (PECN) that will take effect in 2024 and enable our combined organization to keep our training programs and educators at the forefront of our field.
- And last but not least, annual meetings that capture the spirit of child neurology and child neurologists in the 21st Century.
To keep this momentum up for many years into the future, we will have to pay particular attention to new financial models for the CNS. We, unfortunately, have a sizeable deficit for 2023. We have already taken steps to reverse this, but we will need help from all of you to continue finding our way to a better path. A few notable developments:
- We will begin a fundraising campaign to provide more support for previously unfunded activities, including some of the awards at the Annual Meeting.
- We will begin more systematic, thoughtful engagement with industry partners. There is an exhilarating burst of new neurological therapies that are either recently approved or are in late stages of development. Many of these new therapies are at the cutting edge of molecular technologies, including gene therapies and antisense oligonucleotide therapies, with more to follow. These therapies would not be possible without the hard work of industry partners. Open dialogue and partnerships with industry will enable us as child neurologists to stay at the forefront of new technologies, learn how to contribute to their development, and use them thoughtfully for our patients.
We also recognize the increasing complexity of the world of child neurology. Though we will continue to maintain our focus on our core membership of child neurologists in practice and in training, there are many other professionals and trainees who contribute to the care of children with neurological disorders or conduct research relevant to childhood neurological disorders and would find engagement with the CNS to be valuable. Such individuals include scientists, graduate students, research study coordinators, neuropsychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech/language pathologists, and many others. We continue to value our collaborations with the Association of Child Neurology Nurses (ACNN) and the Program Coordinators of Child Neurology (PCCN), who represent the nurses and program coordinators that many of us work with every day. And of course, a major change that I have seen in my clinical practice and research activities over the past two decades is the increased engagement of patients and their families in clinical care and research. The more resources we provide that are helpful to all of these stakeholders, the more they will be drawn to the CNS. Our allied organization, the Child Neurology Foundation (CNF), has been a pioneer in broadening our stakeholder connections, and we look forward to working with the CNF on joint programs in the future.
Through all of these momentous changes at the CNS and in our field, I would like to make leadership development for child neurologists a hallmark of my term for the next two years. I see every child neurologist as a leader, whether that be in a clinical practice setting, clinical research team, translational medicine, or laboratory science. I would like the CNS to become even more of a leadership incubator than it already is, with an increasingly diverse array of members cycling through leadership positions at the CNS and at their home institutions. We will continue and enhance our commitment to career development activities at our annual meeting and through our other communication channels, so that our members will be emboldened to lead the way to a better future for our patients and for us all.
I look forward to sharing the future with all of you!