President's Address

Dear Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery Community,

It is a privilege to address you as your new president and my distinct honor to take the reins from our friend, colleague and pastpresident Emad Eskandar, MD, FAANS, in leading this robust and vibrant Society for the next two years. Dr. Eskandar’s leadership and that of the previous Board of Directors and Executive Council, including our most recent past-president and biennial meeting chairperson, Aviva Abosch, MD, PhD, FAANS, is responsible for handing the new leadership a Society in outstanding shape. We are able and ready to continue our mission and leading role in advocating for the issues pertinent to the surgeons, affiliated physicians, scientists and, most importantly, the patients that we treat with stereotactic and/or functional neurosurgical procedures. We assume leadership with a deep sense of the responsibility we carry in our roles and will work hard to fulfill it over the next several years.

I would like to extend a word of thanks to our departing EC and Board members. Dr. Abosch leaves the leadership having fulfilled her roles as past-president and meeting chairperson, and what a spectacular meeting she put together. It was unanimously regarded as the most successful meeting to date, with both the highest attendance ever – 597 people, including 363 medical registrants (surgeons, neurologists, psychiatrists, scientists, engineers and others) and 234 exhibitors, from 18 countries. The meeting was also thought to have the most exciting and relevant scientific program yet (thanks to Nader Pouratian, MD, PhD, FAANS, chair of the Scientific Program Committee, and members Sameer Sheth, MD, PhD, FAANS; Jennifer Sweet, MD, FAANS; Clement Hamani, MD; Mark Richardson, MD, PhD, FAANS; and Christin Welle, PhD). Ron Alterman, MD, decided to leave the leadership after doing a great job as secretary/treasurer for the last two years. Dr. Hamani and Pete Konrad, MD, PhD, FAANS, leave the Board of Directors after tirelessly serving for the last eight years in various leading roles, such as on the Guidelines and Washington Committees, respectively. Finally, both Andre Machado, MD, PhD, and Joe Neimat, MD, MSc, FAANS, leave the Board as they have been elected to leadership positions, as secretary/treasurer and vice-president, respectively.

Via our first electronic election (spearheaded by Dr. Hamani), the new Executive Council was elected, as was the new Board. Alon Mogilner, MD, PhD, FAANS, and Jorge Gonzalez-Martinez, MD, PhD, FAANS, were elected to second terms (four years). Drs. Sweet and Richardson as well as Ellen Air, MD, PhD, FAANS, were elected to new terms on the Board. Finally, with a change in the Society bylaws just ratified, the Board decided to increase the number of board members by two. Including the need to replace Dr. Neimat’s board position as he assumed the vice-presidency, the Board appointed Jason Schwalb, MD, FAANS; Jim McInerney, MD, FAANS; and Guy McKhann, MD, FAANS, to two-year terms on the Board; these positions will be filled by election at the next biennial meeting. We welcome all our new and returning faces, all chosen because of their dedication to our Society and its mission. Each member is the leader or co-leader of one of our standing or ad-hoc committees.

We all begin our terms with great enthusiasm and excitement! That combined with the remarkable talent and passion of each member of the leadership will lead to a very productive two years, and new initiatives are already underway to do what we do even better. For example, our Society is in the best financial shape ever, due in large part to our recent successful meetings. We take the stewardship of these resources very seriously in the service of our mission. Towards that end, we will be developing a strategy for supporting research and training of our Society members, including residents and fellows. We have begun to work more closely with the NREF in this effort. I encourage our members to support these efforts by contributing to the Roy Bakay Honor Your Mentor Fund, established in honor of the late and beloved pioneer in functional neurosurgery. We need to get that fund to $50,000 in order to use it, or we have to roll it over to another fund. It would be a shame if we lost this opportunity to memorialize Roy’s memory in something that he was so passionate about – research in functional neurosurgery. Each and every one of our EC and Board members have themselves contributed to the fund, demonstrating their commitment to it and their leadership in this area. Another initiative in this vein is a new Mentoring Program for junior faculty starting out in functional neurosurgery, initiated and spearheaded by Dr. Machado and Julie Pilitsis, MD, PhD, FAANS. You will be hearing about our progress in these and other areas throughout the next few years.

In closing, I wish to convey my thanks again to our recent leaders, who have fulfilled their roles in exemplary fashion over many years, our new leaders just beginning what will be years of dedicated service and our vibrant and passionate membership that has given us the mantle to serve on their behalf. I encourage each and every one of you to become even more involved in our Society and remind you that you don’t need to be elected to serve. Reach out to any of us with your desire and your ideas, and we will find a way to engage you in service to our membership. I look forward to helping to direct this Society for the next two years and I, along with the other leaders, hope to fulfill the trust given to us.

Robert E. Gross, MD, PhD, FAANS

President, ASSFN