• 2018 President

    Author: Ashwini D. Sharan

    As I begin my presidential term at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, I can't help but reflect on what an honor and privilege it has been to be a part of this organization- this community of neurosurgeons-for the past 14 years. I derive a great deal of personal satisfaction working in a specialty as dynamic and innovative as neurosurgery, and continue to be inspired by the volunteer spirit of the CNS, and indeed, the giving of one's self that is so prevalent in our specialty. As the 2018 president, I have the great vantage point of observing the participation of so many committees, each one run by individuals who volunteer their time to lead. The value of their dedication and teamwork is immeasurable. With more than 150 neurosurgeons volunteering to serve on CNS committees, this inspiring "battalion" of volunteers drives my focus for the year ahead: returning to the core values of our specialty-patient care, deliberate practice, and leadership.

    Additionally, I desire that each and every one of us, our "community of neurosurgery," remain positive about the changes that are happening around us in the macro-economic environment of health care. In fact, it is my opinion that health care is at an inflection point right now. It's like when rock music began in the 1960s. It changed the world in a way few other social developments have equaled. I anticipate we'll also see changes in medicine that will give rise to a new era in neurosurgery.

    Everyone in our field is familiar with the tremendous advancements going on in several arenas. In neuro-disease care, it is occurring from pneumoencephalography to angiography to CT Scan and MR imaging. "Big data" analytics will augment any physician's ability to consolidate and interpret the thousands of serial and parallel data points that are amassed on any disease condition, and lay out the ability to define a statistical health care course of treatment. Our field has also seen tremendous advancement with visualization tools and augmented technologies in the operating room such as reflective light mirror, surgical loupes, fiber optic head lights, high optic microscopes, and image-guided navigation that have culminated in robotic assistance.

    While the time we spend on training to define and improve our surgical skills is not near to being replaced, it is important to wield technology responsibly. As long as we continue to preserve the public trust by providing a safety net that protects our patients in times of trauma, stroke/intracranial bleeding, and routine and omni-prevalent spinal care, we are in good shape!

    In the year ahead, the CNS is committed to expanding and refining our educational offerings and services with the express intent of helping you meet the challenges that impact patient care, neurosurgical practice, and leadership in today's health care environment. We have expanded the content of many of our live courses for 2018 and added a new track to our Leadership in Healthcare Program, the Vanguard Leadership Course, designed for mid-career surgeons. This course offers a deeper dive into the economic and administrative challenges faced by neurosurgical leaders in an evolving health care delivery environment. The CNS has also expanded our publications, taking Operative Neurosurgery to a full twelve issues a year, increasing the output of our guidelines through our hard-working Guidelines Committee, and doubling our online learning catalog to bring you new webinars, online courses, and more Nexus cases. The dedicated volunteers on CNS committees will put in thousands of hours this year developing educational tools, publications, and resources that address the clinical and non-clinical challenges impacting your practice. We'll continue this focus into our 2018 Annual Meeting, themed Mission: Neurosurgery.

    To be truly successful, of course, we need your help in understanding the unique challenges facing members in every subspecialty, practice setting, and career phase. The CNS will also be working hard in 2018 to better engage with members, seeking your guidance in developing new content and understanding your experiences with CNS products and services. If there is a way we can better meet your needs or address a specific challenge, we want to hear about it. Please keep an eye out for our e-newsletters, surveys, and other opportunities to share your ideas. Reach out directly to the CNS office with suggestions, or join a CNS committee to help drive the development of new educational courses and services.

    If I asked each and every one of you to focus energy somewhere this year, I would ask that it be on defining quality for our patients and maintaining a leadership posture by setting examples within your local community in a true grassroots manner, spreading the word on the value of neurosurgery. I am sure that when we beat the drum for quality and leadership, it will translate into a better business pattern for neurosurgery. I'm excited to see what's to come.

    I know that so many of you share my passion for the advancement of our specialty and the care of our patients. Your membership and participation in CNS courses and events is greatly valued, and I am personally committed to ensuring that the CNS offers the services and resources you need to improve your practice and elevate your career in 2018 and beyond. I look forward to serving you this year.

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