2014 AANS Annual Report - page 6

The 82nd AANS Annual Scientific Meeting
From April 5-9, 2014, San Francisco was home to 3,300 medical attendees as they gathered in the city’s
Moscone Convention Center for the 2014 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting. The theme of this year’s
meeting, “Expanding Neurosurgery,” permeated the entire event — including the guest lecturers’ and
featured speakers’ talks, scientific presentations and programming, practical clinics, breakfast seminars,
3D sessions and exhibits. Overall, the 2014 program emphasized the importance of innovation not only in
the neurosurgical field, but throughout the entire health-care industry, as well as in society.
Couldwell Focuses on Future Growth of Neurosurgery
The 2013-2014 AANS President William T. Couldwell, MD, FAANS, focused on the future growth of the
neurosurgical field and the importance of developing new technology during his presidential address
on Sunday, April 6. Noting the recent slow growth of neurosurgery as a subspecialty, Couldwell stressed
the importance of expanding the field, displaying data from a five-year trend chart, and illustrating how
neurosurgical residency positions have risen less than seven percent from 2009-2013. In comparison,
neurology rose 19 percent during the same time period. “What is clear from an analysis of market demand,
which remains robust, is that we can definitely employ more neurosurgeons,” Couldwell stated, citing an
increased demand for neurosurgical services, despite both physician and specialist shortages.
“The current reconfiguration of residency
training offers us a great opportunity,”
added Couldwell. “The Next Accreditation
System is a new paradigm in residency
training.” This system will enable well-
functioning training programs to innovate,
he explained, allowing for sub-specialty
exposure without increasing the length of
training — a significant factor in allowing
neurosurgery to evolve. He also stressed
the importance of tapping into new and/or
upcoming markets, such as neurocritical
care. With thriving neurocritical care
programs, and 81 positions offered in last year’s residency matching program, “This career path offers a
significant opportunity for our residents,” Couldwell revealed.
Continuing with the importance of embracing innovative technology, Couldwell discussed the advent of
Google’s driverless car technology, and how it has the potential to negatively impact the professional driving
industries, such as trucking and taxis. In 2012, the Google team announced it had driven more than
300,000 miles accident-free by using a range-finder mounted on top of the car that generates a detailed
3D map of its environment. As of December 2013, four U.S. states had passed laws permitting the use of
autonomous vehicles, further threatening the future of professional driving careers.
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