• Pediatric Section Update: Advancing On All Fronts

    Author: Mark R. Proctor

    The purpose and objectives of AANS/CNS Joint Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery serve to enhance and assure the advancement of the subspecialty of pediatric neurological surgery. The Section accomplishes these objectives in multiple ways, with the goal of improving the lives of children with neurological disorders, serving our Section members, and enhancing the pediatric concerns of organized neurosurgery.


    The Section plays an active role in philanthropic endeavors that advance pediatric neurosurgery. We annually support a pediatric-focused NREF research fellowship, which is a $40,000 grant that our research committee is actively involved in awarding along with the NREF. In addition, we support the NINDS/CNS Getch Scholar K-12 Award, and annually support endeavors in international neurosurgery such as FLANC (Latin American Federation of Neurosurgical Societies). A significant part of our annual expenditures are dedicated to advancing the care of children with neurosurgical disorders.


    In addition to our philanthropy, our Section awards $10,000 in competitive research grants, either as one large grant or multiple smaller grants. These are meant to be the seed money to help get projects off the ground, and are administered by our research committee.


    The training fellowships in pediatric neurosurgery offered by the Section are highly sought after. We offer both national and international fellowships, which allow domestic and international trainees to visit leading academic centers in the US for a period of up to three months. In any given year there are up to three $2,500 domestic awards and two $7,500 international awards. Competitive applications are submitted to training committees. The vast majority of domestic awardees end up pursuing careers in academic pediatric neurosurgery, while international awards greatly benefit underserved areas of the world.

    Dr. Mark Kline delivering the AAP Section on Neurological Surgery Lecture: "Global HIV/AIDS."


    The advancement of neurosurgical education is one of the real strengths of our section. We achieve this by our own annual meeting and by actively coordinating with the section activities at the Annual Meetings of the CNS. Our education committee coordinates content across all three meetings, ensuring that each meeting offers a unique and valuable learning experience. The highlight of our educational agenda is our Annual Meeting every late November or early December. It is hosted by a local academic pediatric neurosurgical program, and attended by approximately four hundred physicians annually. This year's meeting took place November 28 - December 1, 2017, in Houston, Texas, at the Hilton Americas. Hosted by two academic centers, the theme was "Reaching New Heights", and the local organizers, Dave Sandberg and Howie Weiner, did just that.

    The pre-meeting symposium was focused on SEEG and laser ablation-the state of the art in pediatric epilepsy care, and was sold-out. In addition, an advanced practitioner course was offered. The opening reception on Tuesday night was followed by three solid days of science, including a scientific session unparalleled in quality. Focus points included discussions on colloid cyst resection by open versus endoscopic techniques, the value of fixed versus programmable shunt valves, and strategies on the management of temporal lobe epilepsy.

    Dr. Jerry Oakes receiving the Ingraham Lifetime Achievement Award in Pediatric Neurosurgery.

    Dr. Thomas Marshburn delivering the Raimondi Lecture "Life Aboard the International Space Station: A Physician's Perspective."

    Highlights of the meeting were the Ingraham Lifetime Achievement Award given to Dr. Jerry Oakes, and two very special invited speakers. The Raimondi Lecture was given by Dr. Thomas Marshburn. His talk, "Life Aboard the International Space Station: A Physician's Perspective," was brilliant and captivating. The American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Neurological Surgery (SONS) talk was given by Dr. Mark Kline, chair of pediatrics at Texas Children's Hospital. Titled "Global Pediatric HIV/AIDS: Lessons from the Field," it was perhaps the most inspiring medical talk I have ever heard.

    Our next Annual Meeting, the 47th Annual AANS/CNS Section on Pediatric Neurological Surgery Meeting will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, December 6 to December 9, 2018. It will be sponsored by Dr. Jay Wellons of Vanderbilt University.


    The Section leaders actively participate in the functions of NREF, as well as the board and scientific planning committee of the CNS. We also interact seamlessly with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons. Accordingly, we fulfill our important objective of keeping organized neurosurgery well connected to the world of pediatrics.

    In summary, the Pediatric Section is actively pursuing its objectives of connecting pediatric neurosurgeons with each other, with organized neurosurgery and pediatrics, advocating for children, educating the next generation, and sponsoring cutting edge research that will improve the lives of children with neurological disorders.

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