It seems those who deal with low incidence, high severity disorders, whether as clinicians, researchers, educators, legislators, or parents, must develop the ability to roll with the punches. One never knows when a seizure or an intercurrent illness or a medication reaction will occur. You plan and plan and life always gets in the way. Perhaps it is this constant need to adapt and reprioritize that makes us, the child neurology community, so nimble.
Witness the success we all made of a CNS meeting in Columbus peppered with potential obstructions, spur-of-the-moment imperatives, and co-temporal competing programming. Speaker unable to travel? The show must go on by SKYPE. Emerging clinical syndrome being studied by the CDC starting a week before the meeting? A session gets mobilized with three brief e-mails. A challenge grant towards endowment of the Philip R. Dodge Young Investigator Award is publicized 1 year prior to the meeting? CNS members and partner organizations raise $100,000 over that year and the PRDYIA is endowed. Collectively rolled with the punches, rose to the challenges, and made it all happen.
When a cause hangs in the balance, we are nimble and quick and together. How and why do we do it? Because we are a team united by common mission, vision, and purpose. We may call ourselves CNS or CNF or ACNN or PCN or SDBP, but when it comes to bringing bio, psycho, and social all to bear on our patients and their families, we are one.
In the coming year, we must make this truth meaningful and operational, not just at the annual CNS meeting, but throughout the days and weeks and months between meetings. We must bring the same passion and unity we brought to the proceedings in Columbus to our activities around the U.S. and world on behalf of children and families and the workforce – present and future – charged with caring for them. Our different approaches to a single, focused agenda will magnify our impact and amplify our understanding. We must leave the divergence of our origins behind and dedicate ourselves to the convergence of our collective future. Only in this way can we understand and conquer our common foes and ensure the developmental future of the children of our planet.
Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, and productive New Year!
Nina F. Schor, MD, PhD