Joan and I would like to personally welcome you to the 81st Annual Scientific Meeting of the AANS, taking place in the historic and enchanting city of New Orleans from April 28 to May 1, 2013. This great American city was founded in 1718 by the French as Nouvelle-Orleans, and the rest, as they say, is a wonderful part of U.S. history. New Orleans is the ideal setting for AANS' Annual Scientific Meeting, with so many things to see and do in the area. Known for its unique attractions, festive venues and culinary delights, it is the perfect place for you, your family, and guests to visit and enjoy all it has to offer.
The theme for our Annual Scientific Meeting is "Changing Our Culture to Advance Patient Safety." This will allow all of us to consider the exciting aspects of the patient-safety movement and how we, as neurosurgeons, can take advantage of the informative format of the meeting to enhance the safety profile of everything we do for our patients.
To start the meeting, and immediately preceding our gala opening reception at Mardi Gras World on the banks of the Mississippi River, we will have a two-hour entertainment session in the Convention Center. The session will feature best-selling author Walter Isaacson, who will tell us how Apple founder Steve Jobs changed the culture of our modern society with his bold ideas. We will present an AANS Medal of Courage to former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and hear from her neurosurgeons as to how they helped save her life with their knowledge of modern TBI management that only neurosurgeons can provide. To round out this event we will have a lively and colorful musical tribute to the heritage of New Orleans and the Deep South.
Several leaders who pioneered the patient safety movement will speak to us, including Donald Berwick, MD, former administrator of the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services and co-founder of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement; and, Carolyn Clancy, MD, Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Our Cushing Orator this year also has a strong commitment for safety. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, an American hero, successfully landed his wounded plane in the Hudson River in 2009, and has become a passionate speaker on airline safety and how we as physicians can utilize this knowledge to provide a safer environment for our patients.
The Plenary sessions will include state-of-the-art presentations from all disciplines in neurosurgery. Special invited presentations on epilepsy, vascular and spine surgery will be given by renowned experts in the field such as Drs. Johannes Schramm, Michael Lawton, and Charles Branch, respectively. In addition, we will introduce a new face-off session in each neurosurgical subspecialty area by two leading experts in each field. These sessions will occur at different times throughout the meeting so that each one may be heard by all attendees. Finally, the International Symposium featuring the superstars of European and Mexican neurosurgery will be held on Monday afternoon, and will certainly be a highlight of the meeting. I want to personally thank our scientific program chair, Anil Nanda, MD, FAANS, FACS, for lending his creative efforts to make this an unforgettable meeting.
I hope to see you all in New Orleans in the late spring. Please bring your families, guests, and your nurses and physician assistants as we want them to attend special sessions geared toward their continuing neurosurgical education. I can think of no better venue than New Orleans for us to get together, enjoy ourselves, celebrate our neurosurgical profession and advance our understanding of patient safety. It is going to be a fabulous event!
Mitchel S. Berger, MD, FAANS, FACS