Important Dates

Featured Speakers

AANS Opening Ceremonies

The Honorable Bill Cassidy, MD

Bill Cassidy, MD, is a United States Senator for Louisiana. Bill grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and attended Louisiana State University (LSU) for undergraduate and Medical School. For nearly three decades, Bill has provided care for uninsured and underinsured patients in Louisiana's charity hospital system. During this time, he co-founded the Greater Baton Rouge Community Clinic, a clinic providing free dental and health care to the working uninsured. Bill also created a private-public partnership to vaccinate 36,000 greater Baton Rouge area children against Hepatitis B at no cost to the schools or parents. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Bill led a group of health care volunteers to convert an abandoned K-Mart building into an emergency health care facility, providing basic health care to hurricane evacuees.

In 1990, Bill joined LSU Medical School following his tenure at Earl K. Long hospital, where he taught medical students and residents while treating the uninsured. Bill was elected to the Louisiana State Senate in 2006. In 2008, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives to represent Louisiana's Sixth Congressional District. In the U.S. House, Bill served on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Bill was elected to the United States Senate in 2014 and serves on the Energy and Natural Resources, Health Education Labor & Pensions (HELP), Finance, Veterans'; Affairs and Joint Economic Committees.

Tommy Cvitanovich

Tommy Cvitanovich owns and operates Drago’s Seafood Restaurant. Tommy and his family run multiple locations and he is widely regarded as an industry leader and advocate for both the seafood and restaurant industries nationwide. Tommy is most recognized not only for inventing "The Single Best Bite of Food in New Orleans," but also for serving countless free, hot meals to communities most in need following natural disasters. He is currently working with local leaders to revitalize Fat City, the neighborhood that has been home to Drago’s original location for the past 48 years.

Ben deBoisblanc, MD

Ben deBoisblanc, MD, is professor of medicine and physiology at Lousiana State University School of Medicine. His research interests include respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and pulmonary hypertension. He is principal investigator of the Louisiana Critical Care Clinical Center, which is one of 10 academic centers within the NIH sponsored ARDS clinical trials network (ARDSnet). He also collaborates with investigators in the Department of Physiology on basic science research projects.

Dr. deBoisblanc has received numerous teaching awards. He is nationally recognized for his expertise in bedside critical care procedures. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Critical Care Medicine, and is recognized nationally as a member of the Best Doctors in America for his clinical excellence.


Arnie Fielkow

Arnie D. Fielkow has an extensive background in government, professional and intercollegiate athletics, and law. In May 2017, Arnie D. Fielkow was named the new Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. Fielkow began his career as a practicing attorney in Chicago and has held positions such as President and CEO of the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) and Executive Vice President of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.

He help rebuild New Orleans following 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, introducing legislation to improve education, economic development, public safety and youth recreation across the storm-ravaged city.

Throughout his career, Fielkow has been honored multiple times. He was honored in 2017 with the first annual United Nations Armand Sports Diplomacy Award for his work in Haiti, following the devastating earthquake in 2010. In 2007, he was presented with the Anti-Defamation League’s A.I. Botnick Torch of Liberty Award, and in 2004, he received the prestigious 2004 TOP (Ten Outstanding Persons) Award from the Family Service of Greater New Orleans.


Lt. General Russel L. Honoré

Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré became known as the “Category 5 General” for his striking leadership style in coordinating military relief efforts in post-hurricane New Orleans. A decorated 37-year army veteran and global authority on leadership and emergency preparedness, Gen. Honoré now shares his no-nonsense approach to getting the job done by showing organizations how to successfully lead and execute a mission. Gen. Honoré expertly connects his over three decades of military leadership to the natural disasters and man-made tragedies dominating global headlines to reveal critical strategies for transforming individuals into leaders and helping organizations and communities effectively prepare, react, rebound and unify.

Authentic and uplifting, Gen. Honoré delivers a bracing dose of candor with real-world leadership lessons that will equip audiences with a mindset of global preparedness and instill confidence in tomorrow’s leaders.


Norman Robinson

Norman Robinson has been a part of the journalistic landscape in New Orleans since 1976. He retired in 2014 after 38 years on television. He spent the past 24 years anchoring at NBC and served as the moderator of Hot Seat, which has held politicians and policy makers accountable since Hurricane Katrina. In addition to New Orleans, Norman has worked for broadcast outlets in Southern California, Mobile, New York City and Washington, D.C., where he was a member of the White House Press Corps as a Correspondent for CBS News.

Mr. Robinson has received numerous awards for his coverage, including the prestigious Nieman Fellowship for Local Investigative Journalism to Harvard University. Recently, he served as a contributing correspondent on the documentary, "Chronicle: Children of Katrina," which won an Edward R. Murrow Award and the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Mr. Robinson's military service to his country includes a four year tour of duty in the United States Marine Corps, where he was a sergeant in The U.S. Marine Corps field Bands at Parris Island, Camp Pendleton and the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.


Sunday, April 29

Fredric B. Meyer, MD, FAANS | Osler Lecture

Fredric B. Meyer, MD, FAANS, is a consultant and professor of neurologic surgery. He is enterprise chair of the Department of Neurologic Surgery at Mayo Clinic and is recognized with the distinction of a named professorship, the Alfred Uihlein Family Professorship in Neurologic Surgery. He is currently the Juanita Kious Waugh Executive Dean for Education of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and Dean of the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.

Dr. Meyer has held many leadership positions in professional organizations, including President of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery (AAcNS) and Board of Directors of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS). He has been Director, Secretary and Chair of the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) and is currently serving as Executive Director.


Monday, April 30

Angela Duckworth, PhD | Louise Eisenhardt Lecture

In her landmark research, psychologist Angela Duckworth reveals the importance of character to success in life. Her pioneering work on grit and self-control is in high demand among educators, athletes and business leaders alike — anyone interested in learning what makes a top performer and what any of us can do to cultivate character in ourselves and in those around us.

She is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and a co-founder of Character Lab. Her first book, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”, is an immediate New York Times bestseller. She was awarded a 2013 “Genius” Grant and has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams and Fortune 500 CEOs. Her TED talk on grit has garnered over 11 million views.


Daniel Ariely, PhD | Hunt-Wilson Lecture

IDan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University, is dedicated to finding answers to what influences behavior in the pursuit of helping people live more sensible, rational lives. His consistently interesting experiments cover a range of behaviors and demonstrate profound ideas that, at times, challenge common thought.

Ariely is also a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, and the author of The New York Times best sellers “Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality” and “The Honest Truth About Dishonesty. Irrationally Yours” is a collection of his popular Wall Street Journal weekly column. In 2013, he was named by Bloomberg as one of the "Top 50 Most Influential Thinkers." His latest book, “Payoff” explores the diverse and complex nuances that drive us to behave one way or another.


Alex B. Valadka, MD, FAANS | AANS Presidential Address

Alex B. Valadka, MD, FAANS, serves as professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Virginia Commonwealth University. He maintains a strong clinical and research interest in neurotrauma and critical care, including numerous papers, presentations, research grants, courses, seminars and visiting professorships. He co-edited the textbook Neurotrauma: Evidence-Based Answers to Common Questions. He has served as chair of the AANS/CNS Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care, chair of the Neurosurgical Specialty Group of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Committee on Trauma and on the Boards of Directors of the Coalition for American Trauma Care and the AANS, as well as on the Board of Governors of the ACS. He has also chaired the Washington Committee for Neurosurgery. He currently serves as president of the AANS, as a director of the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) and as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Trauma Institute.


Mark L. Rosenblum, MD, FAANS(L) | Ronald L. Bittner Lecture

Mark L. Rosenblum , MD, FAANS(L), is currently chairman emeritus of the department of neurosurgery in the Henry Ford Health System (HFHS). He has received many awards for his research and clinical work, including the first Charles B. Wilson Award from the AANS and CNS for life-long contributions to neuro-oncology. He has published seven books, 240 articles and chapters, trained 63 neurosurgeons and raised $45 million in philanthropy for neuroscience.

Dr. Rosenblum has served on several hospital and industry boards. He is presently the chief medical advisor for a healthcare process improvement company, is a consultant for Navigant and is an adjunct professor in the department of health management and policy in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. He has particular interest in the value of integrated specialty care, including the development of centers and institutes, and developing innovative delivery processes “through the eyes of the patient.”


Daniel K. Resnick, MD, FAANS | Sonntag Lecture

Daniel K. Resnick, MD, FAANS, is professor, vice chairman and program director at the University of Wisconsin. With a career focused on spinal surgery, he has accrued numerous awards, including the dean’s teaching award for education of medical students. Dr. Resnick has authored over 200 peer reviewed scientific papers, has contributed over 100 chapters, has edited five books and has authored over 160 other publications

Dr. Resnick has been involved in organized neurosurgery and spine surgery for quite some time and has served as chairman of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons Joint Spine Section and chairman of the Washington Committee’s Quality Improvement Workgroup. Dr. Resnick is past president of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. Currently, Dr. Resnick serves as a Director of the American Board of Neurological Surgeons and is President of the North American Spine Society.


Howard M. Eisenberg, MD, FAANS(L) | J. Douglas Miller Lecture

Dr. Eisenberg is the R.K. Thompson chair of the department of neurosurgery at the University of Maryland. He has special interests in brain tumors, skull based surgery, acoustic neuroma, epilepsy and movement disorders.

Dr. Eisenberg received his medical degree from the State University of New York which was followed by a two-year general surgery resident at New York Hospital - Cornell University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Brigham Women’s and Children’s Hospital. After two years in the Navy, Dr. Eisenberg completed a research fellowship at Harvard, and was a junior faculty member there. From there he moved to University of Texas where he became chief of neurosurgery. He moved to the University of Maryland in 1993 as R.K. Thompson professor and chairman of the department of neurosurgery.


R. Michael Scott, MD, FAANS(L) | Donald D. Matson Lecture

R. Michael Scott, MD, FAANS(L), is neurosurgeon-in-chief-emeritus at Boston Children’s Hospital and a Harvard Medical School professor. His major clinical and research interests are pediatric cerebrovascular disease, brain tumors, and congenital malformations of the brain and spinal cord.

He is a past president of the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons (ASPN), a former Director of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and a past chairman of the AANS/CNS Section on Pediatric Neurological Surgery. Among the many awards he has received, Dr. Scott was given the Franc Ingraham Award for Distinguished Service to Pediatric Neurosurgery from the AANS/CNS Pediatric Section in 2011, the Distinguished Service Medalist Award from the Neurosurgical Society of America in 2012 and the William Silen Mentoring Award from Harvard Medical School in June of 2012.


Jacques J. Morcos, MD, FAANS | Yasargil Lecture

Jacques J. Morcos, MD, FAANS, is a professor in the department of neurosurgery at the University of Miami. He also holds a joint appointment in the department of otolaryngology. His range of expertise includes all skull base and complex brain tumors, endoscopic skull base surgery and all aspects of cerebrovascular surgery, including bypass surgery.

Dr. Morcos continues to be active in organized neurosurgery, including as past chair of the AANS/CNS Section on Cerebrovascular Surgery. He is an officer in the North American Skull Base Society. He is also active in the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS), serving as a member of the International Education Committee. He also enjoys being involved in the educational aspects of cerebrovascular and skull base surgery. He is dedicated to teaching and has led and participated in numerous courses and symposia over the years.


Thomas J. Durant Jr., PhD | History Dinner Lecturer

Thomas J. Durant Jr., PhD, is a professor in executive PhD program at Jackson State University. During his career, Dr. Durant has been a Peace Corps volunteer, a professor of sociology at Virginia State University and professor of sociology at Louisiana State University (LSU), where he is a retired emeritus professor. His interests include the social causes and effects of crime; aging among ethnic minorities; social inequality and race relations; and the social organization and culture of ante-bellum plantations. He has served as director of the African and African American studies program at LSU, president of the Mid-South Sociological Association and guest editor of the Journal of Sociological Spectrum.

Dr. Durant’s presentation is a brief descriptive history of “Big Charity” Hospital in New Orleans. He highlights the role of poverty, politics, public interest, race, class and gender in the illustrious history of one of the most storied public health hospitals and healthcare systems in the nation. The impact of Hurricane Katrina on "Big Charity" Hospital and public health in New Orleans and the State of Louisiana is provided, followed by a closing forecast of public hospitals in Louisiana.


Tuesday, May 1

Daniel H Pink, JD | Rhoton Family Lecture

Daniel H. Pink is one of the best-selling nonfiction authors of the last decade. He has published 5 books on work, business and behavior. Before venturing out on his own nearly 20 years ago, Pink worked in several positions in politics and government, including serving from 1995 to 1997 as chief speechwriter to Vice President Al Gore.

Pink was host and co-executive producer of Crowd Control, a National Geographic Television series on behavioral science. He also appears frequently on NPR’s Hidden Brain, the PBS NewsHour and other TV and radio networks in the US and abroad. In 2015, London-based Thinkers50 named him as one of the top 10 business thinkers in the world. His TED Talk on the science of motivation is one of the 10 most-watched TED Talks of all time, with more than 19 million views.


Gen. Stanley McChrystal | Cushing Orator

General Stan McChrystal (retired) is the former Commander of the U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan, a best-selling author and co-founder of the McChrystal Group. A one-of-a-kind commander with a remarkable record of achievement, he is widely praised for creating a revolution in warfare that fused intelligence and operations.

McChrystal is also known for developing and implementing the counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan and for creating a comprehensive counter-terrorism organization that revolutionized the way military agencies interact and operate. A four-star general and former Green Beret, he is also the former leader of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which oversees the military’s most sensitive forces. He is the author of two best-selling leadership books, My Share of the Task: A Memoir and Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World. A dynamic speaker, McChrystal impresses audiences with field-tested leadership lessons, stressing a uniquely inclusive model that focuses on building teams capable of relentlessly pursuing results. Citing stories from his career, McChrystal reveals a four-star management strategy, concentrating on openness, teamwork and forward-thinking.


Anil Nanda, MD, MPH, FAANS | Raymond M. Donaghy Lecture

Anil Nanda, MD, MPH, FAANS, is a professor and chairman of the department of neurosurgery at LSU Health Sciences Center at Shreveport. Prior to this, he served five years as the chief of neurosurgery. Dr. Nanda helped pass the Louisiana Youth Concussion Law, requiring all schools, clubs and other organizations that sponsor youth athletics to provide athletes and their parents with information about concussions and the potential long-term effects of playing after a head injury.

Dr. Nanda has published over 442 peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as two books, including “Principles of Posterior Fossa Surgery.” His efforts have been acknowledged on a local and national level. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Nanda served on the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) from 2013 to 2016 and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) from 2013-2017. He was awarded with the Distinguished Service Award from the Society of University Neurosurgeons in 2015.


Eric L. Zager, MD, FAANS | David G. Kline Lecture

Eric L. Zager, MD, FAANS, is the neurosurgical professor in academic excellence at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia. He received the Young Clinician Investigator Award from the AANS in 1991 and a Clinical Fellowship Award from the CNS to pursue additional training in peripheral nerve surgery at the University of Toronto and at Louisiana State University in New Orleans.

Dr. Zager’s research focuses on peripheral nerve repair and regeneration, as well as a variety of projects in cerebrovascular surgery. He has collaborated on research that includes evaluation of safety and efficacy of xenon-CT for cerebral blood flow monitoring in subarachnoid hemorrhage and trauma; evaluation of a noninvasive near-infrared spectroscopy device for detection of intracerebral hematomas; evaluation of brain oxygen tension monitoring in subarachnoid hemorrhage; and more.


Edward C. Benzel, MD, FAANS | Charles Tator Lecture

Edward C. Benzel, MD, FAANS, is an internationally recognized thought leader in spine surgery and biomechanics. Dr. Benzel co-founded the World Spinal Society (later to become the World Spinal Column Society) and was its first chairman. He organizes and actively participates in multiple international education venues, and is the Editor-in-Chief of World Neurosurgery. He has authored 10 and edited 27 textbooks. In addition, he has authored well more than 400 book chapters and 300 peer reviewed publications.

While Dr. Benzel holds multiple patents and has participated in many medical advances, he is best known as an educator. He started and directed the Neurosurgery Residency Training Program and the Spine Fellowship Program at the University of New Mexico, and has been instrumental in the development and success of these programs at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Benzel recently stepped down as Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Cleveland Clinic, and was bestowed the title of Emeritus Chairman of Neurosurgery.


Wednesday, May 2

Gary Green, MD | Theodore Kurze Lecture

Gary Green, MD, is board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Sports Medicine and is a fellow in the American College of Physicians and American College of Sports Medicine. He is currently a Clinical professor in the UCLA School of Medicine in the Division of Sports Medicine. He has been a team physician for intercollegiate athletics since 1986 and currently serves as a team physician for Pepperdine University. Dr. Green served as a member of the NCAA’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport and chaired the NCAA Committee on Drug Testing and Drug Education for 5 years. He is on review boards for USADA for adverse analytical findings, as well as therapeutic use exemptions. He is actively investigating the area of athletes and drug abuse. He currently serves as medical director, research director and acts as consultant on anabolic steroids for Major League Baseball. He also maintains a clinical practice at the Pacific Palisades Medical Group


Merwyn Bagan, MD, MPH, FAANS(L) | Richard C. Schneider Lecture – First Panelist

Merwyn Bagan, MD, MPH, FAANS(L), is current board member and past-chairman of the Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery (FEINS). He served as president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) 1992-93. After retiring from active practice, Dr. Bagan obtained a MPH degree, concentrating in International Health. In 1995, he was invited to initiate the neurosurgical training of two general surgeons and establish a neurosurgical unit at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Among his many awards, the AANS honored Dr. Bagan with the 2000 Humanitarian Award in honor of his accomplishments and outstanding service to the development of neurosurgery and care of needy patients in Nepal.


Michael M. Haglund, MD, PhD, FAANS | Richard C. Schneider Lecture – Second Panelist

Michael M. Haglund MD, PhD, FAANS, holds the endowed chair as the Distinguished Duke Surgery Professor of Neurosurgery and Professor of Neurobiology, Global Health, and Orthopedic Surgery at Duke University. Dr. Haglund’s academic interests focus on global health and the cortical organization of language and mapping eloquent cortical regions during awake brain surgery for intractable epilepsy. His clinical practice also specializes in the treatment of cervical spine disease and he has performed over 5,000 cervical spine procedures.

He has published over 100 peer reviewed publications, 21 book chapters and edited the volume in Neurosurgery Clinics on Functional Imaging. During the last two years his global neurosurgery group has published over 50 manuscripts. Dr. Haglund has received numerous awards for his teaching and humanitarian work


L. Dade Lunsford, MD, FAANS | Van Wagenen Lecture

L. Dade Lunsford, MD, FAANS, is the Lars Leksell Professor as well as distinguished professor at the department of neurological surgery of the University of Pittsburgh. He is also director of the Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) where he specializes in stereotactic surgery, radiosurgery and minimally invasive surgery.

Dr. Lunsford currently chairs the UPMC Health System Technology and Innovative Practice committee and co-chairs the UPMC Brain Mapping (MEG) Center. In 2016, he received the AANS Cushing Award for Technical Excellence and Innovation in Neurosurgery. He is the author or co-author of over 640 peer reviewed articles and 285 book chapters as well as the editor or co-editor of 13 books.


David G. Kline, MD, FAANS(L) | Sir Victory Horsley Lecture

Dr. Kline is retired emeritus chair and Boyd professor of neurosurgery at Louisiana State University School of Medicine. He was recruited in 1967 to help begin a training program in neurosurgery there. He is the founding chairman of their neurosurgery department and he also remained the only chairman for the next 35 years, until he stepped down from the position in 2006. His research and clinical interests focus on nerve injuries, especially the neurophysiology of regeneration and peripheral nerve tumors.

Dr. Kline has held several positions with organizations, including secretary and president of the New Orleans Neurologic Society, and is the recipient of such awards as the 2006 AANS Cushing Medal, the 2008 CNS Founders Laurel award and the 2017 Neurological Society of Americas (NSA) gold medal. He is the author of 375 articles and chapters, two books and several monographs. He is presently serving on the editorial boards of a number of journals.


Kenneth A. Follett, MD, PhD, FAANS | John Loeser Lecture

Kenneth A. Follett, MD, PhD, FAANS, is professor and chief of the division of neurosurgery, chair of neurosurgery and program director for the neurological surgery residency training program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Dr. Follett has clinical and research interests in pain management and functional/stereotactic neurosurgery. He is past chair of the AANS/CNS Section on Pain and has held leadership positions in national pain organizations, including the American Academy of Pain Medicine (past president) and the American Board of Pain Medicine (past president). He also served as a workgroup facilitator at the American Medical Association (AMA) Pain Summit, participated in the development of the AMA pain management monographs and was a member of the 2011 Institute of Medicine Committee on Advancing Pain Research, Education and Care that led to the development of the National Pain Strategy.