Bringing CNS Members Together to Make Children’s Lives Better


Letter from the CNS President – Spring 2010

By Donna Ferriero, MD | CNS President

Donna Ferriero, MD | CNS President
Donna Ferriero, MD
CNS President

IT HAS BEEN A BUSY WINTER AND OUR COMMITTEES have been hard at work. Some of other highlights include:

The Scientific Selection committee, under the able leadership of Steven Miller, has put together an exciting program for our meeting in Providence. Abstracts are being scored and there will be special attention paid to our junior members. We are enticing our junior members to the meeting with free registration, so please spread the word. Barry Kosofsky and his team on the Long Range Planning Committee have put recruiting trainees to Child Neurology and enhancing research opportunities and academic careers for residents and junior faculty high on the list. In addition the LRPC members have designed a survey to help us figure out how to better plan our meeting and get our constituency involved. Please take the time to respond to this important endeavor. The Membership committee has also been involved in expanding junior membership. A proposal was made that a junior member be so named when they start their pediatrics residency, not waiting until after they start the neurology phase of their training. This is being considered and will require a by-laws change.

The Awards committee, with a big thank you to Nigel Bamford, has helped us institute our first Gold Humanism Award for the 2010 meeting. Applications have been solicited and the awardee will be notified soon. There will be one Gold Foundation and one Lifetime Achievement Award presented this year. Congratulations to Sakku Naidu and Thomas Jessell for receipt of the Hower and Sachs Awards, respectively. The Training Committee is working on developing and disseminating for general use approved modules for the Performance in Practice component of Maintenance of Certification. The strong recommendation is that existing practice parameters be used as the take-off point for QI/QA activities to be conducted locally in each practice and to be discussed and didactically guided via online webinars through the CNS website.

Deborah Hirtz has agreed to co-chair the Practice Committee in the area of Practice Parameters and we have already been involved in reviewing and approving documents on brain death.

The Ethics committee met in liaison with AAN last month and covered a broad range of topics including ghost-writing, enhancement therapy, use of tPA in children, research in developing countries, conflicts of interest, PVS guidelines, and more. Contact Leon Epstein if you want to get involved in any of these projects.

Email conversations have also abounded, and there is one that I am requesting input on that is critical to PCN and training. We are going to ask the RRC to have a look at how we train child neurologists. Steve Roach has succinctly summarized email volumes as follows:

  1. Each child neurology resident must complete 12 months of training in clinical adult neurology. Programs are encouraged to schedule some of the adult neurology rotations during the second or third years of the program as a means to promote progressive responsibility for management of adult patients.
  2. The adult neurology experience should provide an assortment of inpatient and outpatient rotations as well as training in relevant diagnostic testing procedures. Ordinarily no more than 6 of the 12 adult training months should be spent on inpatient rotations. After completing the adult neurology training, each child neurology trainee should be able to recognize and treat most basic neurological disorders of adults.
  3. The child neurology program director should approve each year’s rotation schedule for each trainee.

Please note that although the focus is on the first year, the other years are up for consideration and feedback as well. I am asking you all to ponder these issues and get back to Leon Dure, President of PCN, with any feedback.

Other committees have also been busy, and you will hear separately from some (see communication from Bennett Lavenstein from Legislative Affairs).

Larry Brown, President of CNF, has been busy raising awareness and much needed funding to foster the field of child neurology. Among the fundraising projects: a new initiative called the Circle of 25 to target professional athletes and other individuals; the first annual Minneapolis Mardi Gras in support of the CNF honored Ken Swaiman and netted $40,000 in addition to $80,000 industry support to resume the medical student summer scholarships starting in 2011; a pre-season football game with the Philadelphia Eagles brought 100 medical students. An infantile spasms awareness project included a web site, DVD and brochures for parents and primary care providers and $30,000 was raised for a research award to study infantile spasms that soon will be posted. A transition manual is being planned aimed at preparing young adults and families of disabled children for transition to adult care, in keeping with the wonderful message of Peter Camfield at his Hower lecture last year. Lastly, the CNF is working on a project with the Association of School Nurses to educate their membership on important neurological problems of children; if successful, funding will be underwritten by a Congressional earmark with joint sponsorship in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

So please don’t just read this newsletter. I am still anxious to hear your thoughts about our society and ways to increase our visibility and effectiveness. Please email me at with any comments.


Donna Ferriero, MD