I would like to open with a reminder that my goals for this presidency are:
1. Establish our strategic priorities and decide where to put our limited resources
2. Effect a communications strategy so that all members feel engaged
3. Entice 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
We continue to work on the first two goals with enhancement of the website and active engagement of our committee chairs in shaping the future of our society. Upgraded “Careers in Child Neurology” and “Maintenance of Certification” sections are underway and will be launched on-line in October and November and an impressively growing roster of Case Studies is available in the Education Section (see the Electronic Communication Committee report on page 23).
With regard to the third goal, we are thrilled by the response to a new initiative recommended by the Long Range Planning Committee and made possible, in part, by a $25,000 “Future Leaders” grant from Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. More than 80 Active and Junior Members of the CNS attending this year’s meeting took advantage of the registration fee waiver offered to Junior Member first authors, Junior Members in their third year of pediatric neurology or developmental neurology training, or Junior/Active Members passing their boards in September 2009 and May 2010.
Dr. Lawrence Brown, President of CNF, and I continue to dialog and provide impetus toward our goal of becoming a more cohesive society with a foundation that is seamlessly integrated, much like the model adopted by the AAN.
I have also been in active meetings with AAN and ANA leadership to put our resources together to effect change in regard to advocacy, funding of research (especially fellowships), training, and specifically with the AAN to continue the outstanding efforts of Drs. Rust and Mink in making the sprawling AAN annual meeting a more conducive educational venue for the child neurologists who attend.
The CNS Annual Meeting continues to undergo steady improvements. In contrast to most societies, our attendance continues to increase each year. The science continues to be outstanding as novel discoveries in our field place us at the forefront of medical advances. The marked increase in younger members participating in the meeting over the past few years has substantially changed the dynamics of how we present, process and assimilate information. Now is the time to seize the opportunity this presents. So on behalf of child neurology in general and the Society in particular, I strongly encourage all our many wise and mature members to use this year’s meeting in Providence to purposefully interact with our junior colleagues. Your social, professional and intellectual mentorship at the meeting will prove most valuable over time and create the pipeline that we need to keep our organization and field healthy. One key way to do this would be to attend the Thursday afternoon walk-around poster session and the Friday Moderated Poster session to model instruction through insightful discussion garnered from your experiences. Next year we are looking to create a match system for clusters of junior members to review posters with assigned “master teachers” that will increase these opportunities. Additionally, the Friday afternoon Junior Member Seminar–“Meet the Editors”—is a great opportunity to encourage the junior members to get their astute observations on paper and published!
I would also like to encourage attendance at the Special Interest Group Meetings (SIGs); a roster of SIG meetings appears on page 21. These SIGs are the seedbed of future vitality within the Society. Hopefully, we can work toward some kind of funding mechanism to facilitate more productive annual meeting interaction, with carryover throughout the year on the CNS website. Some groups, like the neonatal SIG have garnered support previously from CNS-CNF grants and are applying for continued funding through the CTSA mechanisms. The Stroke SIG was likewise funded and continues to flourish. Maintaining a creative tension between facilitating focused inquiry and interaction within the SIGs and meeting the continuing medical education needs of all child neurologists in the scientific program will remain a challenge going forward. Your continued feedback through thoughtfully considered post-meeting CME survey comments and correspondence, submission of scientific symposia and seminar proposals during the November-December on-line submission period, and willing participation in SIG groups and on CNS standing committees is absolutely vital to keeping the Society and its annual meeting moving on an upward trajectory of excellence and relevance. So enjoy each others company, dance up a storm at the banquet, and soak up all the wisdom that is circulating at our annual meeting!