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  • CNS Foundation: Mission and Purpose

    Elad I. Levy

    As individual members of the neurosurgical community, the positive impact we have on those entrusted to our care is incalculable. But as a collective, is there more we can do to augment our service to the global community of neurosurgeons and patients? With the growth of information exchange and globalization of care, we have the capabilities to significantly improve neurosurgical access in underserved regions. We can amplify our efforts by unifying through philanthropy, which by definition is the “love of humanity.” Such joint philanthropy would propel the objective of the CNS Foundation, namely to reduce the barriers to exceptional education and care.

    CNS Foundation’s core mission is to create a strong, positive impact in the field of neurosurgery worldwide. The three pillars of the Foundation are the dissemination of scientific evidence through the publication of guidelines, clinical scientist career development, and international philanthropy. Resources for advanced research are increasingly competitive. The Clinical Scientist Career Development Initiative is paramount for the CNS Foundation, as this funding source contributes to establishing young clinicians in their research career in medicine. Donations to the Clinical Scientist Career Development Initiative help to fund CNS’ most prestigious award, the NINDS/CNSF Getch K12 Scholar Award, providing unparalleled support for a young neurosurgeon-scientist starting their clinical research for two years at their home institution. The CNS Foundation and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) have collaborated to fund two awards for early-career neurosurgeon-scientists.

    Surgery in general and neurosurgery specifically, have been severely underfunded as a global health initiative, resulting in a paucity of quality neurosurgical care in many regions around the globe. With fewer than 34,000 neurosurgeons to serve 103 countries, this translates to less than two neurosurgeons for every 100,000 people worldwide. The International Philanthropy Initiative commenced with the goal of information exchange in order to promote cross-pollination of education, information, and technology for neurosurgeons worldwide. Contributions will help provide neurosurgeons with deeply rewarding opportunities for observation and mentorship at American academic centers of excellence.

    CNS Guidelines, a critical initiative of the CNS Foundation, was developed to support dissemination, development, and review of neurosurgical guidelines, and provides younger neurosurgeons with unique alternatives through guideline development projects. The best example of innovative approaches to information dissemination is the development of the CNS Guidelines App in 2017, with support from the Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care. This app consolidates the information from a variety of different protocols, providing current information for clinical practice on mobile platforms. The CNS Foundation’s CNS Guidelines Initiative continues to fund development of new recommendations as a critical resource in our rapidly evolving health care environment. We applaud the Spine Section’s funding of a three-year project to develop a comprehensive set of clinical practice guidelines on the topic of Perioperative Spine Surgery. This visionary project will help the CNS develop clinical practice guidelines on the topics of preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative spine to support the work of all neurosurgeons.

    Support for the CNS Foundation is sincerely appreciated, with individual contributions rising more than 20% in 2017, resulting in a net asset growth of 50% for the year. In excess of 660 donors ( have generously supported the efforts of CNS Foundation, and we hope you are inspired to join our team at the Foundation through volunteerism or contributions. We would also like to thank Medtronic, Microvention, Penumbra, and Minnetronix Neuro for their generous donations, as these industry partners have continually supported our efforts to improve neurosurgical care across the globe. The CNS Executive Committee must be acknowledged for their tremendous support to galvanize a new stage in CNS community philanthropy with a $1 million gift to match all 2019 gifts from individual neurosurgeons and sections.

    Finally, I am very pleased to announce the newest members of our CNS Foundation board:

    • David Crawford
    • Ganesh Rao, MD
    • Ricardo Komotar, MD, FACS
    • Clemens Schirmer, MD, PhD
    • Brian Nahe, MD, MSc
    • Martina Stippler, MD

    Please help me thank them for their volunteer service in leading the CNS Foundation into a new era of dynamic philanthropy to improve worldwide health.

    I deeply appreciate your past support to build the CNS Foundation’s current success. I ask you to continue supporting the CNS Foundation to elevate its future. Learn more about the CNS Foundation, volunteer, or to contribute to our mission.

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