Bringing CNS Members Together to Make Children’s Lives Better


Letter from the CNS President – Summer 2020

By Phillip L. Pearl, MD | President, CNS

Phillip L. Pearl, MD
President, CNS

Lest the CNS bombard you with yet more news and announcements of this terrible tragedy in which we find ourselves, we want to send information that will be helpful with specific attention to the concerns and plight of pediatric neurologists and neurodevelopmental disability specialists. Suffice to say that none of us have confronted a medical catastrophe of this global magnitude in our lifetimes, one that has changed almost overnight the way in which we function, not only as physicians but within society. We are closely monitoring and allying with our related organizations, especially the AAN, to address areas ranging from neurological practice to conferences and graduate medical education. Last week the CNS distributed a joint statement with the CNF with targeted points for our patients, families, and practitioners, followed by an E-connections describing the wide range of online educational activities on our website that may be of use for residency training programs as well as practitioners.

Beyond the very active planning of the upcoming meeting, I would like to discuss these crucial items:

  1. CNS Official Journal – the Annals of Neurology
  2. Educational Grant from the ABPN
  3. Nomination slate for the upcoming CNS Election
  4. Award Nominations
  5. Closing Good and Welfare

1.  The CNS was instrumental in partnering with the American Neurological Association in 1977 to foster and maintain the Annals of Neurology, starting with an important telephone conversation on a hot August day between founding Editor Fred Plum and then CNS President Bruce Berg. In the words of Dr. Plum, the support of the CNS “was the straw that strengthened the camel’s back” (1). The original editorial board included luminous representation in pediatric neurology: Charles Barlow, Paul Dyken, Gerald Golden, Kenneth Swaiman. The Annals evolved before long to a preeminent journal emphasizing all aspects of human neurobiology. For years our meeting abstracts were published as a special supplement to the Annals, and the Annals has been our official societal journal.

Our formal legal agreement with the ANA to continue with the Annals ends December 31, 2020 and, together with the CNS Annals Oversight Committee and CNS Executive Board, a new series of negotiations was initiated to decide by June whether to continue with the Annals and under what circumstances. It should be obvious to all CNS members that we are rightfully proud to have the Annals of Neurology as our official journal, that the neuroscience published there is top quality, and that the topics are strongly relevant to our discipline. The choice of a societal journal represents the professionalism of a society and also sends an important message to junior and future members. I am delighted to report that the CNS has successfully renewed this contract with very favorable terms for the Society, including an increased commitment from the ANA for the Annals to function as our official societal journal while retaining the editorial independence and excellence inherent to the journal. This should be self-evident from recent editorials that have appeared in the journal (2, 3).

On this matter, it should be noted that I will go to every effort to maintain parity between the two major US journals focused on clinical child neurology, namely Pediatric Neurology (Editor-in-Chief Steve Roach) and the Journal of Child Neurology (Editor-in-Chief Marc Patterson). Both of these journals have a rich history and legacy in the Society, the former having been founded by CNS and CNF Founder Ken Swaiman, and the latter by the beloved Roger Brumback. The child neurology community greatly benefits from the continued vitality of these two journals and the highly capable and talented editors and editorial boards guiding them.

2.  The CNS has successfully secured a $100,000 unrestricted educational grant from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) to develop remote educational materials for their diplomats who are working on their maintenance of certification requirements during 2020-2021. Their goal is to make our materials accessible to neurologists seeking further training and credits in pediatric neurology that would otherwise have been obtained by attending meetings that have been cancelled or postponed, e.g. the 2020 annual meeting of the AAN. We thank our colleagues at the ABPN for partnering with us in developing our educational mission.

3.  The CNS Nominations Committee has produced a slate of outstanding candidates for our upcoming election that is a huge one, with four open seats on the Board of Directors, including Councillors from the South and West, Secretary-Treasurer, and President-Elect. I wish to express my gratitude to those members who showed such a strong interest that they agreed to be nominated, as well as those who took the time and consideration to nominate a colleague. The slate is below; we anticipate opening the online election portal starting August 15 for a 30-day voting period by Active CNS members.

Councillors from the South candidates:
Audrey Brumback, MD, PhD
Krisztina Harsanyi-Jilling, MD

Councillors from the West candidates:
Jonathan B. Strober, MD
Sonia Partap, MD, MS

Secretary-Treasurer candidates:
Lori Jordan, MD
Michael J. Noetzel, MD

President-Elect candidates:
Bruce A. Cohen, MD
Renée Shellhaas, MD, MS

4.  Nominations are due September 20 for awards to be presented the 50th Anniversary CNS meeting in Boston.

  • Arnold P. Bold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award
  • Roger & Mary Brumback Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Hower Award
  • Bernard Sachs Award

The Awards Committee is strongly encouraging nominations and has worked to simplify the process so that it is not onerous to submit for a deserving individual.

5.  In closing, please join us for our virtual meeting. The society’s national office has secured a first-class vendor to pull this off with all the technological expertise and platform excellence that exists anywhere. The sessions will be great, with learning opportunities for all, but we still wish it to have the feel of a meeting. To that end, please join my colleague and local poet laureate and former PCN President David Urion and myself for nightly literary and music sessions in a program on American Creativity, Ingenuity, and Diversity. While this has been a trying time for all, from the pandemic to society’s grappling with racism and discrimination, we are the host country for this joint international meeting. To that end, we will celebrate American diversity and demonstrate first-hand how the unique fabric of American society has created greatness in the arts and civilization for all to share and enjoy in common. To borrow again Roger Larson’s literary allusion, Hamlet (1599-1601) was followed by All’s Well that Ends Well (1601-1605).Phillip L. Pearl, M.D.

President, Child Neurology Society
William G. Lennox Chair
Department of Neurology, Boston Children’s Hospital
Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Music and Health Institute, Berklee College of Music
Boston, MA

1.  Plum F: Annals 25th Anniversary. Ann Neurol. 2001; 50:1-3.
2.  Grinspan et al, Child Neurology Society (Practice Committee and Executive Board) and the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Consortium (Infantile Spasms Special Interest Group and Steering Committee): Crisis Standard of Care: Management of Infantile Spasms during COVID-19. Ann Neurol. 2020 May 22:10.1002/ana.25792.
3.  Pearl et al: The President, Past President, Executive Director, and the Board of the Child Neurology Society Denounce Racism and Inequality. Ann Neurol. 2020 Jun 22. doi: 10.1002/ana.25828.