Dear Colleagues – Fall 2015

By David Urion, MD, FAAN

David Urion, MD, FAAN

I trust and hope the new residency year is off to a good start. We are all moving towards the residency recruitment phase of our year as well, and I wish us all the best of luck in finding great residents who are good matches for our varied programs in Child Neurology and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities.

This year, in order to save time at our annual meeting for educational purposes, we held the ballot by electronic mail. The membership elected Gary Clark as President-elect, Steve Leber as our new secretary-treasurer and Karen Keough as councilor. To all of them, for their willingness to work on behalf of training programs in child neurology and NDD, we owe an expression of our thanks. And, to those who also ran, Leslie Morrison, Tim Lotze and Pedro Weisleder, we also offer thanks for their willingness to be available on behalf of us all.

The membership also voted overwhelmingly to admit Program Coordinators into the PCN as associate members. I think this is both a recognition of the crucial role they play in all our programs, as well as a means of aligning our efforts on behalf of child neurology and NDD graduate medical education in a more efficient and effective way. We all look forward to them joining us at our meeting this year, and in years to come.

Finally, 17 programs expressed interest in utilizing the software developed by Greplytix as a means of measuring resident progress on the milestones. We will be moving in that direction, and also seeing what trends and connections we can see in collated and de-identified data.

In my last letter, I mentioned an intention to make the PCN meeting more geared towards education, and to co-ordinate it with the content of the Educational SIG meeting. A steering group has done that this year, and has put together a very exciting set of programs on Teaching Quality Improvement, Running Effective Clinical Competency Committees, Measuring the Less Obvious Milestones, and Approaches to Measuring Progress on the Milestones: Experiences from the Field. These will be distributed over those two meetings, and your feedback regarding this will be appreciated by everyone. In this era of rapid change, both the PCN and Educational SIG want to be of use to programs large and small for the particularities of measuring and reporting on Child Neurology and NDD training, as well as sharing educational initiatives and innovations that work.

Finally, I mentioned that many people have expressed puzzlement regarding our name and our mission. This led me to a larger consideration of our mission statement as well as our by-laws. These were all written in an era very different from the current one, and even the most recent revisions antedate the Next Accreditation System, Milestones, and all the current challenges programs face in terms of funding, hours limitations, and reporting. I think it is time to engage in a serious re-examination of our mission and our governance.

In the current climate, for example, should we be clearer regarding what we do, and have our name reflect more closely our identity as a group of individuals whose chief concern are academic training programs, and hence the future of the supply of child neurologists and NDD specialists for this century? Do our current terms of office serve us well? Do we need a longer serving board, given the duration of ongoing discussions with governing bodies such as the ACGME and ABPN? Does our dues structure accurately reflect the cost of our operations, and does it give us funds to engage in new initiatives that we might need?

In short, do our structure, foundational documents, and governance reflect the needs of academic programs in child neurology and NDD for this time in our evolution? I will be sending out a call for a task force to look at these issues, and report back in advance of our October 2016 meeting, to offer a look at our current state, and a vision for our future.

Thanks, as always, for your participation and devotion to the training of individuals in child neurology and NDD, and thus in the future of our disciplines.