• President's Message: Advance, Adapt, Achieve

    Author: Russell Lonser, MD, PhD

    Friends and colleagues, I am humbled and honored to serve you as the 66th President of the CNS. The CNS is a vibrant, progressive, and growing international neurosurgical organization, steadfast in the pursuit of its charge:

    The Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) exists to enhance health and improve lives worldwide through the advancement of education and scientific exchange. The CNS maintains the vitality of our profession through volunteer efforts of its members and the development of leadership in service to the public, to our colleagues in other disciplines, and to neurosurgeons throughout the world in all stages of their professional lives.

    To most effectively achieve these objectives, we continue to adapt to a rapidly changing environment and advance our member interests via emerging educational, advocacy, research, and training opportunities.

    Our Members

    Our members and their engagement with the CNS are the basis and lifeblood of the organization. With a rapidly growing membership base at all career stages and direct member involvement, the CNS is ideally suited to develop critical initiatives that advance the specialty. CNS membership has grown to over 9,100 members, with 3,700 Active members, over 1,200 International members, and 1,800 Resident members (both United States and International). The CNS is led by members that volunteer their time, effort, and resources to most effectively and efficiently advance CNS initiatives and specialty goals. To that end, the CNS remains committed to developing leaders across our specialty and seeks volunteer members to impact, develop, and grow organizational initiatives. If you are interested in volunteering, visit cns.org/volunteer.

    CNS Publications

    A cornerstone of the CNS educational effort and a vital member resource are our publications. Under the excellent leadership of Editor-in-Chief Nelson Oyesiku, MD, our journal Neurosurgery® has reached unprecedented heights. The latest impact factor is at a historic high of 3.62, which places Neurosurgery® among the premier surgical journals worldwide. Dr. Oyesiku continues to innovate and evolve the journal in a number of fundamental ways that will continue to distinguish it as a leader in medical publishing. Imminent changes include the development of a new platform for seamless integration of various content formats (customizing content for individual readers), the creation of a new technique and case-based journal, Operative Neurosurgery: The Surgeon’s Armamentarium, and the integration of interactive journal content into the CNS Annual Meeting.

    CNS Annual Meeting

    The CNS Annual Meeting provides an outstanding and essential opportunity for educational, scientific, and social exchange. The 2016 CNS Annual Meeting will be held in San Diego, California, September 24–28, 2016. We’re pleased to announce that this year’s meeting will take place in conjunction with the Tumor Section Satellite Symposium, September 23–24. For members preparing for their Oral Boards, the CNS Oral Board Early Review Course will also be held in San Diego, concurrent with the beginning of the Annual Meeting.

    I am incredibly proud of and grateful to the Annual Meeting leadership team, which includes Annual Meeting Chair Steven Kalkanis, Scientific Program Committee Chair James Harrop, and Scientific Program Committee Vice Chair Brian Hoh. The meeting theme Adapt, Advance, Achieve underscores our ability to successfully navigate changing practice, research, and training environments.

    An unprecedented number of innovations to the 2016 CNS Annual Meeting have been developed to greatly expand and enhance attendee interaction and educational opportunities. Specifically, the Annual Meeting will now include high-impact rapid oral presentations, the incorporation of a Neurosurgery® special speaker, Operative Neurosurgery live surgery sessions, expanded General Scientific Sessions, year-in-review sessions (highlighting the most important specialty papers of the previous year), and guidelines sessions (updating attendees on critical emerging practice guidelines).

    These changes are layered into the backdrop of an exceptional ensemble of featured speakers who are innovators and leaders in technology, sports, literature, and history. We’re pleased to welcome Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple Computers; Billy Beane, executive vice president, Baseball Operations, Oakland A’s; Daniel James Brown, New York Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat; and Viktor Mayer-Sch?nberger, international bestselling author of Big Data: A Revolution that Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. We also welcome neurosurgical leader and this year’s Honored Guest, Edward H. Oldfield, MD.

    This year’s international partner collaborator is the Continental Association of African Neurosurgical Societies (CAANS). CAANS represents African continental neurosurgery, and like the CNS, promotes global improvement in neurosurgical care. We are honored and delighted to have CAANS as our 2016 Annual Meeting partner.

    Neurosurgical Advocacy

    Advocacy that promotes public welfare through the advancement of neurosurgery is a critical focus of the CNS. Neurosurgery advocacy is principally conducted via the Washington Committee and Council of State Neurological Surgeons (CSNS). Under the leadership of Katie Orrico, JD, the Washington Committee has been critical to repealing Medicare’s sustainable growth-rate physician payment system (which prevented a 21 percent pay cut). It has ensured that neurosurgical procedures are appropriately valued, preventing the inappropriate devaluation of neurosurgical services, and has guaranteed that Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) regulations are reasonable and do not expose neurosurgeons to penalties and fines. The committee has also led successful efforts to influence reports issued by the Institute of Medicine such as recommendations regarding the regionalization of emergency neurosurgical care, resident duty hours, and graduate medical education federal support.

    Research Partnership with National Institutes of Health (NIH)

    To develop new strategies that most effectively advance research and scientific knowledge, the CNS has embarked on an unprecedented collaboration with the Foundation for the NIH and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Starting this year, this partnership funds the NINDS-CNS Getch Scholar K-12 Award. This innovative award provides two years of support ($100,000 per year) to a young neurosurgeon within two years of finishing residency or fellowship. The K12 program is the most successful NIH program for developing young neurosurgeons to date. The first recipient has been announced as Brian Dlouhy, MD, from the University of Iowa. His topic of study is “Amygdala control of breathing during seizures—understanding mechanisms of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP)”.

    CNS Educational Products

    The CNS continues to develop and grow its educational portfolio and member educational services under the leadership of our Education Division Chair Bernard Bendok, MD. It is a high priority to offer critical educational resources for members at all stages of their careers. These include webinars that span all subspecialties, an innovative Oral Board Exam Preparation Early Review Course, targeted courses at the Annual Meeting and throughout the year that deliver results based on defined knowledge gaps, the top-notch SANS (Self-Assessment in Neurosurgery) testing, and resident boot camps that enhance skills/knowledge at defined years in training. An important new initiative is to offer practice-based courses for leadership, coding, and practice management.


    The impact of the CNS for its members is powerful. It spans education, advocacy, research, and training. Organizationally, we will continue to adapt our strategy, advance our member mission, and achieve critical goals for our specialty.

    We look forward to seeing you at the CNS Annual Meeting in San Diego this September!

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