Author: Steven Kalkanis
Since its founding in 1951, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons has been dedicated to cultivating a community of neurosurgeons for the purpose of advancing our specialty. Indeed, our CNS crest features the words eruditio, observantia and societas, or the pursuit of scholarly knowledge, with a respect and service above all for our patients, in the forming of a community of learners and guardians of our profession. Our founders were intentional about creating opportunities for members to develop genuine and meaningful professional relationships, and through 68 Annual Meetings, we have worked to bring together neurosurgeons and neurosurgical team members across geographic boundaries, practice settings and career stages to create networks for education and career advancement. This community of neurosurgeons has made the CNS what it is today, through collaborative learning and scientific exchange. As President, it is my duty and privilege to uphold these ideals and continue to help propel our organization, and our profession, into the future.
Much has changed in our specialty over the years, as scientific and technological advances have paved the way for greater degrees of subspecialization. At the same time, regulatory and socioeconomic factors have driven complex changes to practice settings and career trajectories. All these factors result in ever-increasing heterogeneity in neurosurgery, requiring the CNS to be deliberate in understanding and addressing the needs of our diverse specialty.
Further, as Martina Stippler points out in her article on page 22, we have begun to see a shift, albeit gradual, in gender and ethnic diversity within neurosurgery as well. While this shift may be slow, we hope and believe it will continue in the years ahead, bringing even more new perspectives and experiences to our membership. As we tackle new frontiers in neuroscience, a more diverse profession will allow us to see old problems through new eyes, and collaborate on more effective and innovative solutions for our patients.
The member profiles highlighted in this issue celebrate the diversity of our specialty and aim to spark conversations about our unique perspectives. By understanding how our colleagues in other regions, practice settings and career phases experience and address their unique challenges, we hope to start a dialog about the broader issues facing our specialty and lean on our collective wisdom to develop unique solutions.
As President, I am committed to ensuring that the leadership of the CNS, and of organized neurosurgery more broadly, reflect the diversity of our membership. As Dr. Stippler points out, this is not the time to sit back and enjoy the progress that has been made, but rather to dig in and work to ensure that all CNS members have the tools and support they need to be successful in their practice and to prepare and empower the next generation of surgeons for the same success. To that end, I have been intentional about broad inclusion with diverse perspectives and backgrounds within the CNS Executive Committee and our standing committees in 2020. I am excited to be at the table with this talented group of young leaders and I am confident they will contribute transformational milestones this year on behalf of our members.