Continued Growth and New Beginnings
Ali Rezai, MD
Dear NANS members:
It is my great pleasure and honor to serve as the seventh president of NANS. I am privileged to follow in the footsteps of Immediate Past President Robert Foreman, PhD. Dr. Foreman is a true leader, scientist, teacher, and friend, and under his leadership the society has experienced remarkable growth. NANS is a strong, dynamic, and rapidly growing organization, and I look forward to working with you over the next 2 years to take NANS to new heights.
With a growing and multifaceted scope, neuromodulation is among the most active and innovative medical specialties. Neuromodulation therapies are increasingly being used to help patients with chronic pain; spasticity; Parkinson’s disease; tremors; epilepsy; psychiatric disorders; traumatic brain injury; stroke; and gastrointestinal, urinary, cardiac, pulmonary, and other conditions. Emerging uses of neuromodulation continue to appear on the horizon as research and refinements on existing techniques improve their safety profile, efficacy, and durability.
Over the past 2 years, NANS membership experienced dramatic growth from 600 to more than 900 members. Members have traditionally been pain management physicians and neurosurgeons. However, over the past few years we have witnessed a steady growth in membership from other disciplines such as neurology, urology, gastroenterology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, biomedical engineering, and the biotech and medical device industry. This is especially exciting for our society because interfacing, learning, and collaborating with other specialties is such a vital component of the growth and progress of both the specialty and society.
Education is also fundamentally important for our society, and upholding the highest standards for teaching, training, and dialogue is crucial for the growth and advancement of neuromodulation. NANS is sponsoring and offering an increasing number of educational programs; in addition, our annual meetings have grown exponentially in attendee registration and sophistication. The more than 1,000 attendees and 30 exhibitors who participated in the NANS 15th Annual Meeting this past December made it the largest neuromodulation conference held worldwide. Our scientific program committee strives to consistently provide cutting-edge topics of interest, as well as practical educational programs. We are also expanding pre-meeting workshops and will be providing innovative educational programs for you in the near future.
Websites are a universal central medium for search and knowledge acquisition. The Website Committee is working hard to make the NANS website, neuromodulation.org, the go-to page for your neuromodulation news. In addition, the NANS Newsletter, edited by Chima Oluigbo, MD, will now be provided three times a year for our readership. It is also a pleasure to share that our journal, Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, has recently been indexed in MEDLINE by the National Library of Medicine. Neuromodulation’s Editor-in- Chief, Robert M. Levy, MD, has done an outstanding job in guiding this journal to its position as the premier worldwide journal for neuromodulation.
Healthcare reform is multifaceted and of increasing significance as societies and the government attempt to maximize healthcare resources despite increased regulation and scrutiny. The healthcare landscape has changed significantly over the past 20 years, and more changes will be forthcoming with healthcare reform legislation that will impact neuromodulation specialists in the United States. To that end, NANS has increased its level of involvement with various healthcare policy and advocacy-related issues over the past several years. The NANS Board of Directors now includes physicians with significant expertise in coding, reimbursement, and healthcare policy. The efforts of David Kloth, MD; Joshua Prager, MD; and Todd Sitzman, MD, are much appreciated.
In the past 2 years, NANS jointly sponsored legislative sessions and Capitol Hill visits with the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP). These sessions promote awareness of neuromodulation therapies and the opportunity to advocate for continued patient access to them. I encourage NANS members to join our leaders and ASIPP in this year’s effort in Washington, DC, June 11–12, 2012, when NANS will join ASIPP in meeting with our legislative representatives.
In 2011, NANS also joined with other medical societies (American Academy of Pain Medicine, American Society of Anesthesiologists, ASIPP, International Spine Intervention Society, and American Society of Regional Anesthesia) to form the Council of Pain Physician Societies (CPPS). The council offers a regular opportunity for the related societies to discuss important issues facing pain management today. This group collaborates to promote better patient access to care, develop treatment guidelines, and advocate for public policy and certification.
The council is also committed to working on best practice and training guidelines for practitioners. More information about CPPS is available in the Fall 2011 NANS Newsletter, available on NANS’s website, www.neuromodulation.org.
It is an exciting time for NANS and neuromodulation. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the president of our society, and I am delighted to work with a dedicated and enthusiastic Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Executive Director, and other committee members who work hard for our society and specialty. Together, we will strive to enhance our society’s impact and fulfill our mission of being the premier society dedicated solely to the field of neuromodulation. I encourage you to become more involved with our various committees and initiatives. Please feel free to contact me or any of the other board members. We would be delighted to hear from you.
Ali Rezai, MD