2015 ANNUAL REPORT
Members of the American Association of
My tenure as president of
the American Association of
Neurological Surgeons (AANS)
came during a very turbulent time
for American neurosurgery, and,
while the organization moved
forward to address the challenges
and help structure the future, I
found myself equally drawn to
visit neurosurgery’s past.
The 2015 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting theme was
Neurosurgery’s Founding Principles
. While our specialty is still
in its first century, the leaps forward in that time are nothing
short of miraculous. Such major advancements were possible
because of the specialty’s adherence to the principles of
respect, autonomy, integrity, innovation and dedication.
Harvey Cushing, the founder of the specialty, was
the first surgeon to perform these operations with a
reasonable chance that they would do more good than
harm to his patients. Today, thanks to all the patients and
neurosurgeons who have gone before us, neurosurgeons
perform cranial, spinal, peripheral nerve and extracranial
vascular procedures using open and endovascular
techniques. We use radiosurgery, focused ultrasound, neural
stimulation and intradural infusion to treat neurological
and neurobehavioral disorders. Today, our patients expect
recovery, repair, a cure.
While trying to balance the needs and expectations of our
patients with all of the external requirements we face or
may soon be facing, I foresee a pressure for us to redefine
neurosurgery. In the quest for efficiency and “patient
safety,” we are encouraged to leave the care of our patients
in the clinic to a physician’s assistant, the care of our
patients on the floor to a hospitalist and the care of our
ICU patients to an intensivist.
If we do this, we will become technicians, not physicians.
If we abandon the pursuit of innovation in surgical
procedures and medical devices, we minimize the chance
that neurosurgery can continue to invent miracles and
diminish the future of the specialty we chose to embrace.
The Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation
(NREF) is neurosurgery’s best vehicle to foster
neurosurgical research by providing a private, non-
government source of funding for research training
in neurosurgery. In addition to the classes, grants and
fellowships offered by the NREF to help bolster education,
the AANS is actively reaching out to medical students,
setting up chapters and opening up medical student-
specific forums during the Annual Scientific Meeting.
AANS PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE