Dear Colleagues – Spring 2015

By David Urion, MD, FAAN

David Urion, MD, FAAN

I hope everyone is having an excellent spring, as some of us are finally recovering from a memorable winter.

As we all look ahead to this coming year, when we implement the new Child Neurology and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Milestones, the Board has decided that this year’s general meeting of the PCN, during the CNS Meeting, should look a bit different.

Our time together is so valuable, and so limited, that we want to make it as useful to the membership as possible. We will therefore try to conduct as much of our business as possible (practically and legally, by our by-laws) electronically before we meet. This will include elections of new officers, the budget report, the Match Committee report, and similar informational items. We will have time to discuss these when we meet, as well as time for our usual visits from the NRMP, ERAS, ABPN, and NIH representatives. With the time saved, however, we will have an educational forum, which we hope to make annual. We thought we might begin this year by tackling some of the domains of the milestones that our adult colleagues have already found challenging to teach and measure – Quality Improvement, Practice-Based Learning, and Systems. We will have a group of program directors and associate program directors present some very interesting material that has been both exciting and successful in their programs. I think we can all learn from this.

Along these same lines, we all know our Program Coordinators are invaluable to our programs, and everyone who was at the PCN meeting last year found the presence of the Program Coordinators’ group immensely useful. They came, however, by special invitation. The Board believes we should make this permanent and durable, and therefore proposes an amendment to the By-Laws, which would create a class of PCN membership for Program Coordinators. This amendment to the bylaws, and accompanying material, will also circulate later this spring, so we might send invitations and allow for registration in a timely fashion.

The PCN domain within CNS Connect Web space already has several examples of tools you might find useful as you begin to use milestones. These range from paper-based rotation checklists to short videos which demonstrate the web-based compiling software demonstrated at the PCN meeting last year. The PCN Board has negotiated two possible ways of purchasing the software at a reduced price from Greplytix, the manufacturer. They will sell a subscription and full support to members of the PCN for $99.95/month for the first five residents, $40 for every resident thereafter. Alternatively, they would be willing to sell a PCN-wide package for $4200/month, with as many participants as the PCN might want to enroll. If, for example, 50 programs chose this route, it would be a flat fee of $84/month, regardless of size. Again, an electronic poll regarding this will come your way later this spring.

Finally, what’s in a name? The Board hears quite often from individuals who are Program Directors or Associate Program Directors that they are surprised they could become members of the PCN. “I’m not a professor”, we often hear. “I thought this was just for chairs or former chairs”. Should we change our name to reflect more accurately our concerns and our mission? Again, you will be polled on this question later this month.

As concerns or issues arise, please don’t hesitate to contact me, or any member of the Board. I believe quite sincerely that our best days as a profession are ahead of us, and that by supporting each other’s efforts to train a new generation of child neurologists we can shape that future in ways that matter to us, our profession, our trainees, and the children and families living with neurological disease.