Author: Jamie S. Ullman, MD
From the Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care
This past year marked the biennial change in leadership of the Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care. In the recent elections, Dr. Daniel Michael was selected as chair-elect, Dr. Julian Bailes as secretary/ treasurer, and Dr. Sharon Webb and Dr. Rocco Armonda as members-at-large. All have a history of excellent service to the Section. Dr. Martina Stippler is our membership chair, and we are pleased to announce the creation of a new medical student membership category to attract students with a strong interest in neurosurgery and help them solidify their career goals.
In July 2014, the section held a pre-meeting symposium in conjunction with the annual meeting of the National Neurotrauma Society in San Francisco. The symposium attracted more than 100 attendees to hear a program emphasizing clinical topics and translational research. We encourage all section members to attend the 2015 National Neurotrauma Society meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on June 28. The meeting will offer a wide variety of topics with an emphasis on cerebral and spinal trauma. CME is offered for the entire meeting, which conceivably can fulfill all the annual CME requirements for members practicing at American College of Surgeons–verified trauma centers.
Our section continues to strive towards placing neurosurgery at the forefront of concussion education and management. Thanks to Dr. Bailes, the CNS and AANS have endorsed the NCAA consensus documents on return to learn and play for concussed athletes, as well as guidelines for athletic practice geared towards minimizing exposure to concussion. ThinkFirst has also developed education tools geared towards concussion recognition and management. Our section continues to contribute to ThinkFirst, enhancing the organization’s efforts in injury prevention.
We have added a new International Committee, chaired by Dr. Andres Rubiano. In December, Past Section Chair Dr. Raj Narayan and Dr. Shekar Kurpad represented the section in a successful organizational meeting in New Delhi to establish guidelines for neurotrauma management in India. This effort, spearheaded by Indian and American neurosurgeons alike, endeavors to improve the quality and access to brain and spinal cord injury care for a population of more than 1.2 billion people.
Other active committees include the Guidelines, Head Injury, Spine Injury, Publications/Website, and Sports Injury Committees. Also, new to the section, is the Rapid Response Committee, who will assist the Joint Washington Committee in preparing responses to new trauma-related legislation and other issues requiring commentary by neurosurgery. To promote collaboration and information sharing, the section has liaisons from various important organizations, sections, and committees, including the Neurocritical Care Society; Brain Trauma Foundation, especially in the current writing of the 4th edition of the seminal “Guidelines for the Management of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury”; the Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves; the Cerebrovascular Section; the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies; and the aforementioned ThinkFirst.
The Education Committee, chaired by Dr. David Okonkwo, is responsible for developing education content for our symposia and section sessions. The Education Committee also works closely with the Awards Committee, chaired by Dr. Eve Tsai, which supervises the selection of various awards and lectureships. The section sponsors five resident awards per year. The Depuy Synthes awards for craniofacial and spinal injury research are given semi-annually in conjunction with the AANS and CNS meetings. The Annual Codman Resident Research Fellowship award supports one year of neurotrauma research, with the recipient presenting the results of his or her research at the AANS annual meeting the following year. The newest section awards will be given for two outstanding abstracts presented at the National Neurotrauma Society annual meeting. Eligible recipients are medical students, residents, and junior faculty within three years of completing training. The section is proud to support young investigators in the performance of innovative research.
Various lectureships have been established in the last several years. These lectureships include the newly initiated Charles Tator Honorary Lectureship in Spinal Cord Injury, the J. Douglas Miller Memorial Lectureship, and the Anthony Marmarou Memorial Lectureship. Dr. Nino Stochetti, this past year’s Anthony Marmarou Lecturer, paid tribute to Dr. Marmarou’s long and distinguished career, including his important work establishing clinical trial research networks and research on CSF dynamics in trauma and hydrocephalus.
We welcome new section members and future leaders who wish to volunteer on committees. Section membership fosters involvement in promoting effective care and prevention in patients with all types of traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, and in advancing the critical care management of neurosurgical patients. We must be introspective about neurosurgery’s role in neurotrauma and critical care, and take a clear public stand on maintaining our primary involvement in these basic tenets of our discipline.