The Opening Ceremonies featured experts from professional sports, the military, the
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Institutes of
Health (NIH) focusing on all elements of the major public health disaster of traumatic
brain injury (TBI). This broad discussion was moderated by our own Sanjay K. Gupta, MD,
FAANS. Audience interaction was facilitated by unique technology that shared literally
hundreds of member-generated questions of major importance, only some of which were
able to be discussed by Dr. Gupta and the rest of the panel. We are saving the rest for use
in subsequent engagement opportunities with our membership, including our blog.
Our invited named lectureships followed the theme of the 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting
with General Peter W. Chiarelli providing the Hunt-Wilson Lecture. General Chiarelli
has been a fierce advocate in the last two military theaters for the protection of our
soldiers. He was very distressed at the frequency of major head trauma and incidence
of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experienced by returning soldiers. He formed
a foundation focused on providing relief and finding a pathway for a return to society for
those who have served their country. Alim-Louis Benabid, MD, PhD, FAANS, who won
the 2014 Lasker Prize, was the Richard Schneider Lecturer. He developed an entirely
new path forward, having discovered the field of deep brain stimulation (DBS). The Ted
Kurze Lecture was delivered by Thomas J. Nasca, MD, who is the CEO of the Accreditation
Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Dr. Nasca’s entire career has been
focused on optimizing the education and training of the next generations of physicians so
that we provide the best possible care available to the public.
A major highlight of the meeting was the Cushing Oration delivered by President George
W. Bush. In his hour-long exchange, members gained real insight into the decision-
making process undertaken by American presidents as well as the challenges they face. I
hope my own amateur interview skills did not detract from his message!
For the Louise Eisenhardt Lecture, Maria Siemionow, MD, PhD, was selected. She
pioneered the first face transplant. The Rhoton Family Lecturer was Jose Francisco
Salgado, PhD, an astronomer, photographer and musician. He has created an entirely
new discipline that brings art to scientists and science to artists. The Van Wagenen
Lecturer is a great friend of mine, Col. Geoffrey Ling, MD, PhD, (Ret.), who, after a
distinguished military career, served the Obama Administration in the technology division
and took over a leadership role at DARPA. He performed three prospective randomized
trials using hyperbaric oxygen for brain injuries suffered on the battlefield.