Author: Alan M. Scarrow
In a sixty-seven-year-old organization like the CNS, a certain amount of looking back is necessary to move forward. The CNS has a strong culture of innovation. It continually improves its mission of advancing neurosurgical education and scientific exchange by assessing ongoing performance; determining what we do best, analyzing what others do well, and looking around the corner at the possible futures of neurosurgical education. That continual process of reflecting on the past, assessing today, and planning for tomorrow is the not-so-secret recipe for perpetual learning, progress, and success.
In many ways, measuring the success or failure of a single year in the life of an organization in its seventh decade is not complicated. There is a strong focus on how you-our members-perceive the CNS and its programs. We monitor attendance and gather feedback constantly to determine if what we are offering is relevant, practical, and accessible in both format and location. We are particularly interested in the impressions neurosurgeons have of the new programs we offer. That feedback determines whether we repeat, modify, or scuttle those programs entirely.
In 2017, we launched the SANS Written Boards High-yield Review Course and two regional interdisciplinary Acute Stroke Care Symposia; expanded online education with the CNS Guidelines app and the new Journal Club Podcast series; and brought innovative events to the CNS Annual Meeting with the Paper of the Year Awards, the Innovation of the Year Award, and the CNS Xperience Lounge. Many of you experienced these events, or used these educational tools, and have given helpful feedback that will impact each of them for this coming year. We also completed another great Annual Meeting in Boston. Approximately 5,000 attendees were on hand to see the best of what our profession has to offer in the way of science, technology, and contemporary thinking on neurosurgical disease. Through it all, we enjoyed outstanding success, found areas that we need to improve, and learned what we need to do to become better.
In order for organizations to survive over decades of time, they must adapt to the needs of their members. "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the ones that are most adaptive to change," was Darwin's insight, which is as true for organizations as it is for species. But Darwin's observation of progress without planning doesn't result in a cure for cancer or a reduction in head injuries. Accomplishing those things requires the hard work of dedicated physicians and scientists who cooperate on education and communicate through scientific exchange. That is the forum the CNS has provided for the past sixty-seven years, and it is what we will continue to work on and improve so that another generation of neurosurgeons can become all they can be.
Finally, I thank you once again for electing me as your president this past year. It was one of the great honors of my professional life to serve you and this wonderful organization. I wish you the very best in this New Year and look forward to seeing you again at future CNS events.