Bringing CNS Members Together to Make Children’s Lives Better


Letter from the CNS President – Fall 2019

By Phillip L. Pearl, MD | President, CNS

Phillip L. Pearl, MD
President, CNS

Any child neurologist feeling burnt out or harboring doubts about the future of our profession while flying in to Charlotte for last month’s CNS Annual Meeting almost certainly flew home with a wholly revised, reassuring and reinvigorated sense that the future is very bright. In my privileged position as incoming President, I had the chance to meet at the beginning of the week with the 50 early career physician-researchers attending the NIH-funded CNCDP (Child Neurologist Career Development Program) Retreat. And as co-director with Renee Shellhaas and Elaine Wirrell of the 4th Annual John M. “Jack” Pellock Resident Seminar on Epilepsy, I had the pleasure of spending two days with the 80 PGY5 residents nominated by their training program to attend the course. I also had the opportunity, along with Renee and Elaine, to review CVs submitted by 17 of those residents applying for two CNS-CNF-AES Pellock Fellowships. Together, we exhaled a collective “WOW!” We have some upcoming superstars in our midst, and a lots of shared talent and enthusiasm. What a refreshing feeling!

The meeting was a huge success across the board as the first wave of post-meeting surveys and comments submitted from among the record-setting 1400+ attendees amply attests. My thanks to my predecessor Jonathan Mink, and Scientific Selection and Program Planning Committee Chair, Erika Augustine, both from the University of Rochester, for their incredible work putting this together.  From the Neurobiology of Disease in Children (NDC) symposium on brain tumors, to the Presidential symposium to Genetic Heterogeneity and Phenotype Pleiotropy, to the full slate of outstanding symposia, breakfast seminars, meet the expert sessions, and Special Interest Group (SIG) meetings, the excitement was palpable.  The Sachs (Scott Pomeroy, Boston), Dodge (Louis Dang, Ann Arbor), and Hower (Jim Bale, Salt Lake City) Award lectures were brilliant.  The same was true for the well-attended poster sessions and exhibits.  And, if you caught the jazz band performance during the Gala Closing Reception on Friday, you may have noticed that I recruited the top drawer rhythm section at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte to, fittingly, close the week out in style!

Be sure to mark your calendars now to be in sunny San Diego next fall, October 19-23, 2020 for the much-anticipated joint meeting with our International Child Neurology Association colleagues. The last (and only) time the CNS hosted a joint meeting with ICNA was in San Francisco in 1994. Attendance for that meeting was just over 1000; next year’s joint meeting is expected to draw 2500 attendees. The meeting will run 4-1/2 days (one extra day) and will include 28 two-hour symposia, 8 award/plenary lectures, multiple “Meet the Expert,” breakfast and junior member seminars, more than a dozen joint CNS-ICNA Special Interest Group meetings, 120+ exhibits, 700+ posters, and wall-to-wall networking possibilities in the sparkling new Marriott Marquis conference center located alongside the San Diego marina. You won’t want to miss this meeting!

The November 15 deadline for submitting symposia proposals is fast approaching, followed immediately by a two-month abstract submission period (November 15 – January 15). A super-star line-up of award/plenary lecturers has already been drawn up by ICNA and CNS awards committees.  These will be announced in early December. Notification of symposia proposals accepted for presentation will be issued in late December with a preliminary program announced in early January. This involves a tremendous amount of time and effort on the part of both CNS and ICNA members volunteering their time to serve on the program planning committees. Special thanks is due now and through the coming year to Carl Stafstrom from Johns Hopkins, and Erika Augustine for agreeing to co-chair the 2020 CNS Scientific Program Planning Committee in concert with the ICNA Scientific Program Planning Committee chaired by Jon Mink.