Origins of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery

In 1971, Jacques Rougerie held a small meeting in Paris just prior to the second meeting of the European Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (ESPN) that was attended by officers of the ESPN and other interested parties including Anthony Raimondi. Several North American neurosurgeons had submitted papers to be read and had applied for membership. A debate ensued on whether or not to convert the ESPN to an international society. It was decided to maintain the ESPN but to also explore creating an international society.


The energy for the notion of an international society stemmed from a shared belief that there was much to be learned about the craft of caring for children with neurosurgical illnesses and that by meeting to share gained knowledge a more rapid evolution of our specialty would occur.

In 1972, Anthony Raimondi hosted a reunion in Chicago attended by eleven neurosurgeons.  They became the founding members of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (ISPN):

  • Raul Carrea (Argentina)
  • Maurice Choux (France)
  • Steen Flood (Norway)
  • Bruce Hendrick (Canada)
  • Wolfgang Koos (Austria)
  • Satoshi Matsumoto (Japan)
  • Jean Pecker (France)
  • Anthony J. Raimondi (United States)
  • Jacques Rougerie (France)
  • John Shaw (United Kingdom)
  • Kenneth Till (United Kingdom)

Jacques Rougerie was appointed President Pro Tem, Anthony J Raimondi Secretary pro Tem and Joseph Ransohoff Treasurer Pro Tem. Raul Carrea was appointed By-Laws Chair, Maurice Choux Membership Chair, Anthony J Raimondi Education and Publication Chair, Raul Carrea liaison to the World Federation of Neurological Surgeons and Satoshi Matsumoto as the Program Chair.

It was decided that the Society’s first meeting would be held the following year in Tokyo, Japan with Satoshi Matsumoto as its host.

Finally, it was agreed that the name of the society should be the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery.

ISPN Annual Meeting

At the meeting in Tokyo in 1973, Jacques Rougerie was elected President of the Society.

This meeting established the tradition of holding the meeting at interesting venues throughout the world. It was also an unstated guideline that the meeting not be held in the same location twice. Over the ensuing years the meetings were loyally attended by members from the world’s five continents. There were stimulating debates over papers delivered by members and guests on the latest topics of interest to pediatric neurosurgeons. Each meeting was highlighted by a gala dinner where the office of the presidency is passed onto the president-elect.

The second meeting of the Society was held in London, United Kingdom. It was at that meeting that the Society’s secretary and Chairman of the Education and Publication Committee, Anthony Raimondi, announced the creation of Child’s Brain, the official journal for the ISPN. In 1985 the Society chose the name Child’s Nervous System as its new official journal after irreconcilable differences arose between the ISPN and the publisher of Child’s Brain. The ISPN has proudly maintained editorial control over its journals and has utilized them to advance the specialty of pediatric neurosurgery for over three decades.

  ISPN Annual Meeting venues  

The ISPN Poncho

In 1979 Anthony Raimondi added the tradition of passing the Poncho, to the incoming President. The ISPN Poncho has remained as the symbol of the presidency of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (ISPN).

In 1973, at a neuroradiology symposium held in Chicago, Drs. Carrea and Raimondi debated the merits of Dr Raimondi’s Columbian poncho versus the Argentinean poncho of Dr Carrea’s home country. Dr Carrea presented a poncho to Dr Raimondi at their next meeting a year later to underscore his side of the debate. Several years later the camaraderie between Drs Raimondi and Carrea deepened when President Raimondi was unable to attend the 1978 meeting in Jerusalem because of a family tragedy. Dr Carrea, then President-Elect filled in for Dr Raimondi. Dr Raimondi returned the favor the following year, 1979, at the ISPN’s meeting in Chicago, standing in as president because of Dr Carrea’s untimely death. At that meeting Dr Raimondi presented the poncho to the society in remembrance of Dr Carrea, asking that it become the symbol of the Society’s Presidency in honor of Dr Carrea. Dr Raimondi had the names of those who had served as president of the Society embroidered on the poncho and subsequently requested “the poncho thereafter be passed from one president to the next, annually, to impart solemnity and add depth to the office”.

Every president since has received the poncho from the retiring president at a gala dinner to celebrate the passing of the office. The retiring president’s duty has been to embroider the name of the incoming president on the poncho. As the years have gone by the poncho has filled with names. In 2002 then President Shizou Oi presented the Society with a second poncho so that the tradition could continue.

What happened to the old poncho?