March 7, 2014
This brief newsletter is to extend greetings from the Board and the staff at the ANA and to say that all is thriving here, even as we approach the Ides of March.
This has been a milestone quarter for publications of the ANA. As you have probably already noted, the Annals of Neurology is now out under the leadership of Clif Saper, whose team in Boston is now functioning with a full head of steam. I encourage everyone to read Clif’s initial editorial “Passages 2014” which provides an excellent roadmap for Annals under his stewardship. Particularly engaging are new sections devoted to clinical neurology (Neurology Grand Rounds) and career development (NeuroGenesis).
Also out now is the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, our open-access journal (which we affectionately call ACTN). Getting access to ACTN is as easy as a quick Google entry, which opens the portal to full content, without usernames or password – a real plus. As Jack Kessler says in his inaugural editorial, this is a super vehicle to provide rapid publication of peer-reviewed, quality content in a fully-open setting. In a sense, this is a powerful statement that the ANA is indeed opening its doors more widely, encouraging engagement with the broadest possible community of neurologists.
In addition to these forward-looking activities, we are trying to be more effective in looking backward. Specifically, we are making a major effort to organize our extensive ANA archives, hoping to enhance accessibility and utility of this resource. These archives contain materials going back essentially to the founding of the ANA in 1875 and thus are an invaluable record of academic neurology and neurobiology. We are undertaking three efforts in this regard. First, we are considering how best to locate the archives, hopefully in a user friendly setting in which the material can be optimally organized and accessible. Second, we are beginning the process of digitizing key elements of the library, with the goal of getting them onto the web. And third, we are looking for one or more colleagues who are interested in helping us write a history of the ANA, building on this collection. (You may recall that in 2001 Dr. Rowland prepared a wonderful history of the NINDS at its 50th anniversary – a superb model for any such retrospective.) Please let us know if you are interested in this endeavor.
Robert H. Brown, Jr., D.Phil., M.D.
University of Massachusetts
President, American Neurological Association
Earlier President's Letters
As I have mentioned, one of my goals as President of the ANA is to expand our international reach enough to help strengthen neurologic research around the world.
For that reason I am pleased to announce the establishment of the ANA’s International Outreach Committee, which met for the first time on November 18. The goal of the committee is to define a potential role for the ANA in international neurological issues that are aligned with our role as academic clinicians and clinician scientists. We have been encouraged in this effort by colleagues from both within the ANA and abroad.
Initial members of the committee are Joseph Berger, University of Kentucky; Ildefonso Rodriguez-Leyva, Universitad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi (Mexico); Shri Mishra, University of Southern California; Farrah Mateen, Harvard University; and myself.
In the coming months, our committee hopes to identify countries where neurology could most greatly benefit from a relationship with the ANA, and to determine the best methods for establishing those relationships. We have already established preliminary relationships with neurologists in Mexico, India and Turkey. This initiative has the potential for tremendous rewards over years. Please stay tuned for further details as they become available, and feel free to share your ideas with me or anyone else on the committee.
Robert H. Brown, Jr., D.Phil., M.D.
University of Massachusetts
Please accept my profound thanks for all the well wishes I’ve received as we embark on the next chapter of ANA history. I just returned from Mexico, where I spent time with members of the Mexican Academy of Neurology. That trip comes on the heels of a brief but very productive visit to Indore, India, where I spoke at the Indian Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting.
Such international outreach will be a major focus of my time as ANA President. I believe it is supremely important that we continue the progress made by my predecessors, Bob Macdonald and Eva Feldman, in making the ANA a vehicle for advancing the causes of neurology and neuroscience. That means sustaining the wonderful momentum begun in 2012 with the establishment of new membership rules, which accounted for more than 300 new members this year alone.
I want to expand the ANA’s reach even further. We’ve already reached out to the Association of British Neurologists and the Societe Francaise de Neurologie, and those interactions forged important bonds for our organization. My goal is to expand those collaborations even further, and that’s exactly why I’ve been to India and Mexico in my first month as ANA President. Expect to hear more in the months ahead about our work with the Indian Academy of Neurology, the Mexican Academy of Neurology and hopefully other organizations that can help us advance the discovery of new treatments for neurologic disorders.
ANA focus: Outreach, Discovery
In addition to sustaining the wonderful momentum that brought the ANA more than 300 new members this year, I hope to focus our organization on the following:
• Continued robust career development programs.
• Making the ANA the premier vehicle for communications about exciting new discoveries in neuroscience.
• Letting the community at large know how the ANA gives neurologists and neuroscientists better tools with which to make important discoveries.
• Doing everything we can to enhance discovery and development of neurotherapeutics.
Understanding how we can interact with neurologists around the world to further the cause of treating and curing neurological disorders.
Annals white paper issue online
If you haven't already, I urge you to read the September issue of the ANA journal, Annals of Neurology, which consists of a series of white papers defining the state of our field. These provide multiple important reviews of therapeutic prospects for several major neurological disorders and include a fascinating entry on neuro-rehabilitation that highlights neuroprosthetics as the near-future of meaningful care for a broad number of disorders that cause significant disability.
Read the Annals white paper issue here
Welcome new ANA leaders
I would also like to welcome several new members of the ANA leadership team:
• President-elect Stan Prusiner, MD, University of California, San Francisco
• Secretary Jack Parent, MD, University of Michigan
• Councilor Argye Hillis, MD, MA, Johns Hopkins University
• Councilor Peter Goadsby, MB, BS, University of California, San Francisco
• Councilor Jonathan Mink, MD, PhD, University of Rochester
SPAC adds five new faces
The Scientific Program Advisory Committee, which determines the scientific portion of the ANA Annual Meeting, has added five new members to serve through 2016. SPAC will be chaired by Sam Pleasure of UCSF:
- Henry Paulson, University of Michigan
- Charlotte Sumner, Johns Hopkins University
- Laura Ranum, University of Florida
- Merit Cudkowicz, Massachusetts General Hospital
- Bill Seeley, University of California, San Francisco
- And special thanks to those rotating off SPAC for an outstanding job, including Frances Jensen (Penn), Joel Perlmutter (Washington U.), Jack Parent (Michigan), John Greenamyre (Pittsburgh), James Meschia (Mayo Florida) and Chair Bill Mobley (UCSD).